Engine design...

Preacher

Swabbie
Banned
Just finished reading some WC novels. Wondering why the capships seem to utilize some type of ion propulsion/nuclear fission engines, whereas the fighters seem to utilize something akin to "jet fuel". As far as one can tell from the games, it would seem that ALL ships use the first type of engine, as no mention is made of "fuel", and besides, wouldn't ya think that 500+ years from now, we'd have gone just a LITTLE bit beyond having to utilize liquid fuel? (even dilithium crystals would be an improvement!).:confused:
 

$tormin

Spaceman
Originally posted by Preacher
(even dilithium crystals would be an improvement!).:confused:

no they wouldn't. would you want a fuel source thats avalibility is proportional to the need for a new adventure? :p
 

akashra

Spaceman
Chances are what engines are used in capships are far too big to put on fighters...
Although the Matter/AntiMatter power plants used on the Dragons you would have thought would be used in all the ships in Prophecy... yet they still have consumable fuel for afterburners :(
 

BikBear

Spaceman
Matter/Antimatter powerplants are still pretty big. making one small enough even for a heavy fighter like the dragon probably makes them really expensive. that's why there were never many dragons.
 

Supdon3

Kal-El
Capships are big enough to be able to store the kind of fuel that thier engines require while fighters are not anywhere near big enough. Fighters then have to use something else. The exceptions are of course the Lance which is way expensive and the Excalibur, which still has a limited fuel supply for its afterburners.
 

akashra

Spaceman
Just thought, the Behemoth would have needed somewhere to store all the fuel (remember the mission where you have to go after the tankers).

Thus, if it had ever made it to operational status, once the shields were fixed, I'm willing to bet the first thing anyone attacking it would have gone for was attempting to drill through to wherever the fuel source was kept - blow it up from the inside out.
 

Ladiesman^

Spaceman
Originally posted by BikBear
Matter/Antimatter powerplants are still pretty big. making one small enough even for a heavy fighter like the dragon probably makes them really expensive. that's why there were never many dragons.

The Landreich had some (Ferrets?) with M/AM drives strapped onto them in Fleet Action.
 

Preacher

Swabbie
Banned
Originally posted by Supdon3
which could have just as easily blown up everytime they powered up the engines

Ummm--Why, Supdon3, is yer rank listed as Kal-El? I realize it's probably some sorta Superman reference, but is that higher than Captain, less than Colonel? Higher than Liuetenant, less than Space Marshal? Higher than Jor-El, less than Lex Luthor?...

(In my best Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor voice):
Aooooouuuuunnngghhhhh?:confused:
 

Napoleon

Spaceman
They all use a form of ion engine. it is just that fighter's scoop fields are not large enough to gather enough fuel to maintain enough power to keep the cycle going for an indefinite period of time. A capital ship uses a Matter/Antimatter powerplant so it would require it's antimatter to be replaced every so often, but since 1 kilo of antimatter reacting with 1 kilo of matter would produce approx. 90,000 megawatts or 90 gigawats of energy (fusion creates about 9 gigawats for 1 kilo of tritium mixed with 1 kilo of dueterium). the antimatter would not need to be replaced often and the scoop fields would only need to bring in a minimal amount to maintian the optimal power level.
 

Skybolt

Spaceman
Then why do we need Boussard intakes and scoop fields?Wouldn,t it be easier to simply store enough matter for reaction?And you wouldn't have to sacrifice speed because you wouldn't produce drag with your intakes and scoop felds.
 

$tormin

Spaceman
without ramscoops it would take a long time to do a 180 and they slow you enough so that the combat is interesting
 

Napoleon

Spaceman
exactly without the scoop field it would take a ship forever to turn, and more importantly engines would have to placed along several different axis. This way it saves room, plus the amount of room that is needed to be used to store fuel can be kept to a minimum.
 

Preacher

Swabbie
Banned
Originally posted by Napoleon
They all use a form of ion engine. it is just that fighter's scoop fields are not large enough to gather enough fuel to maintain enough

Whoa--hold the presses; That reminds me of another question I have regarding the WC novels I've read:
What's the deal with the (couple kinds of) "scoops" that are mentioned in the novels?... From what I could infer from the novels, the one kind of "scoop" sounds suspiciously like the "airbrakes" of a modern fighter jet...except, space doesn't allow for friction (and thus drag) to negatively impact the flight of a space fighter craft. What's up with these things, esp. the 2nd kind?....
 
So whats the science behind the engines ? I kinda get the idea for A/AM and fusion drives, but what the heck is an Ion engine, and how does it produce thrust !? ... Then again, maybe I should jest shut up and fly the damn thing :D
 

Supdon3

Kal-El
When a ship opens its "scoops" it begins collecting hydrogen to fuel its engines, the impact of the hydrogen on the scoops serves to slow the ship down, creating a drag like that of air in an atmosphere.
 

akashra

Spaceman
Preacher, Supdon is 'Kal-El' because once you get to 2000+ posts, you get to pick a rank and avatar :)


Emporor, If you think about it, Ion = charged atom. Hence, anything the engine is working with has an electrical charge... and when you have lots of ions, you get a fair amount of usable power.
Perhaps that makes it easier to understand?
 

Napoleon

Spaceman
OK first off Preacher there is friction in space, because space is not a true vacume as many think there just isn't very much of it. The concept of Scoops, which are bussard collectors, is that they create a field of energy that attracts the free particles in space. this gathers hydrogen to be used as fuel. This also creates a certain amount of friction. By altering the strength of the field in a certain area this will allow the ship to manuver.

Ion engines are a real concept that are being used on a few space probes (at least 1) today and they work like this: there is a grid at the base of the engine that creates a strong electromagnetic field that causes ionized particles (xenon for the engine on Deep Space 1) that are stored aboards the probe to be expelled from the engine with considerable force. the amount of thrust that this creates is minescule with the engine on Deep Space 1. It creates 1/250 of a pound of thrust in comparison to modern jet engines that can create in excess of 10,000 pounds of thrust. Since there is little friction in space that 1/250 of a pound of thrust is capable of accelerating a craft. Since this engine is extremely economical and requires very little fuel and energy it can be continuously in use. over time the craft will gain speed and as such it will accellerate. The engine on Deep Space 1 over the course of a single year acellerated it to a higher speed than traditional engines could. Any atom that can be ionized can be used in an ion engine but the heaviest atom's create more thrust as such are considered better. Xenon is the heaviest of the nobel gases that is non-radioactive and as such is the best to be used with no detrimental side effects (since deep space 1 had top be launched from earth nasa decided not to use a radioactive substance since the rocket launching DS1 could have exploded which would have spread radioactive gases throughout the area).

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