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  #21  
Old March 22nd, 2019, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Condottiere View Post
Oil is a finite resource, though we could Jurassic Park a bunch of dinosaurs, kill them, bury them, and wait a hundred million years to maturation.

Then you have a population boom, in economies that will have an explosion in energy requirements, due to aforementioned demographics shift and consumer demand.

Having practically a free and infinite energy pool removes friction and opens up possibilities.
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Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
To my mind if an ancient empire lasted for a few hundred to a thousand years or more it was sustainable, especially when you look at how many were brought down by foreign invasion.

There are alternatives even at our pre-fusion TL7.8 to fossil fuels.
Solar, wind, wave, geothermal, fission, tidal, biofuel.
There is already a thread for the discussion of sustainable civilizations here:

http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Dis...ad.php?t=39883

The problem with biofuels is that you have to grow them, and then process the crop into something usable, all of which takes energy that has to come from somewhere. The just do not magically appear.

The original idea of the thread was to look at what power sources are used in a game, with it partially based on the writings of H. Beam Piper. Piper has a wide range of power sources in his writings with the notable exception of fusion. He goes straight from fission to matter conversion, which is quite a jump. I am not sure how much power you would get from tossing Andray Dunnan's body into a mass-energy converter, but I suspect that it might power at least the capitol of Marduk for a while.
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  #22  
Old March 22nd, 2019, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kilemall View Post
I use the term thermogenics, but ya, it's a gotta have to make it work.


Question there on the radiation front- aren't there forms of fusion that are aneutronic and therefore do not require crazy shielding? I'm assuming personal fusion power such as on robots and civilian vehicles are of this type, not to mention PG/FGMPs.
Do you mean Deuterium & Helium-3 fusion? IIRC that is aneutronic. In addition, there is proton-born fusion which is also aneutronic.
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  #23  
Old March 23rd, 2019, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by kilemall View Post
Question there on the radiation front- aren't there forms of fusion that are aneutronic and therefore do not require crazy shielding? I'm assuming personal fusion power such as on robots and civilian vehicles are of this type, not to mention PG/FGMPs.
Aneutronic fusion still means that much of the energy produced is in the form of gamma rays. You want to be shielded from that. Also, that means the energy is thrown away as waste heat, unless your shielding is a working fluid. But that gets us back to steam powered starships again. Just not cool outside the steampunk genre.
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  #24  
Old March 23rd, 2019, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by timerover51 View Post
I trust that you will enjoy your universe, and SpaceBadger and I and others will enjoy ours. I do recommend that your do not read any H. Beam Piper books, except for maybe the Paratime series, although that does involve parallel universes and travel between them.

I am curious as to how big are the fusion plants in your universe? Power Plant A, good for both Jump and Maneuver Drive, occupies about 2000 cubic feet for the entire plant.
I read a wide variety, and when quaint ideas of magical power boxes come into play it does snap the suspenders of disbelief. If well written then the snapping of suspenders is not fatal to the story. Star Trek, for example, placed the power plants in nacelles positioned far away from the crew and equipment due to radiation and heat. Still no mention of how they get rid of the waste heat, but at least they pay it some mind.

I really can't remember if I've read any Piper. If you think I'm picky about power sources, then consider how picky I might be about time travel or parallel universes as story gimmicks.

Power plant size. I'm not sure that 4 dT would be enough. Yes, big enough for the 250MW reactor core (with a bit of high tech handwavery) and power units that extract energy from charged particles. The best of these are nearly 90% efficient. But, as noted, that 10% (or more) waste energy is unmanageable in an enclosed system expected to run more than a week without thermal relief. Something has to capture and dissipate waste heat, without a "place" to put it.

Then there is the power distribution problem. We move electricity using high voltage lines because it minimizes resistance (heat) loss. Those lines are suspended way overhead because of the strong EM field they produce and the danger of shorting if the lines contact anything. Federation ships in Star Trek use plasma conduits. Not what one would call tame, and then they'd need "generator" devices such as inverse cyclotrons and MHD tunnels on the receiving end to turn the plasma energy into electricity, and then vent the waste gas away. The waste heat from generators would be a major problem again.

When I was 13 I was studying the new F16 fighter. I realized that every system in that aircraft was the size it was because it couldn't be done any other way. A plane stripped down to carry only the pilot and a lightweight energy weapon powered from the engines might be half the dimensions, but that would still be three tons with a 16' wingspan and very limited fuel. I realized that Tony Stark's form-fitted steel armor suit could not propel him at dozens of Gs and hundreds of mph from tiny nozzles in the heels of his boots, even if he could summon energy from nothing in his 4-inch diameter "fusion" power cell.

Nonetheless, I kept reading Iron Man. I kept watching Star Trek, even when I came to understand more about energy levels involved. Ditto for Star Wars. Traveller came out and some things didn't make sense, such as per jump pricing. Nothing in the 3 LBBs quantized the energy levels of power plants, engines, and weapons. I was free to envision the power requirements of jump and of reactionless maneuvering as a tiny fraction of what was later established. Problem handwaved away.

I would be inclined to favor a low power model, and then both power generation and heat dissipation technology becomes more believable.
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  #25  
Old March 30th, 2019, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Straybow View Post
Actually all of this is dependent on cooling tech that we have to handwave. Otherwise gigawatt+ power plants would turn starships into ovens with puddles of molten slag in them. That is, even a 1% thermal waste would give that result (picture each 1% of waste heat as a 50-100kw heater in each dT that isn't cryogenic fuel).
In one of the CT books it mentions 10kg of fuel producing 1G acceleration for 10 minutes. That's 1kg a minute. 1/60th of 1kg each second to produce 9.8m.sec-2 acceleration on... well, it doesn't specify ship size. On a ship weighing 100 real tonnes (as opposed to 100dT), well... given conservation of momentum, and ignoring relativistic stuff, you're looking at exhaust speeds around 20% of light speed. And a power output of... well, terwatts. Hmmm.

So I imagine a sort of core contained fusion reactor producing relatively small amounts of energy, and then an attached open core one (using the closed one as a "spark") with a much higher capacity one venting plasma out the back. For true insanity, we can imagine someone just honking a lever and the thing opens and vents. Basically a nuclear bomb like shaking up a bottle of Coke and opening the end.

Physics is no fun, man.
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Old March 30th, 2019, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by HanleyTucks View Post
In one of the CT books it mentions 10kg of fuel producing 1G acceleration for 10 minutes. That's 1kg a minute. 1/60th of 1kg each second to produce 9.8m.sec-2 acceleration on... well, it doesn't specify ship size. On a ship weighing 100 real tonnes (as opposed to 100dT), well... given conservation of momentum, and ignoring relativistic stuff, you're looking at exhaust speeds around 20% of light speed. And a power output of... well, terwatts. Hmmm.

So I imagine a sort of core contained fusion reactor producing relatively small amounts of energy, and then an attached open core one (using the closed one as a "spark") with a much higher capacity one venting plasma out the back. For true insanity, we can imagine someone just honking a lever and the thing opens and vents. Basically a nuclear bomb like shaking up a bottle of Coke and opening the end.

Physics is no fun, man.
...and then there's the Jump Drive. This conception of maneuver drive may explain why 1st Edition CT didn't have Jump Governors -- how're you going to close that "valve" again once you've opened it, or even just open it part of the way?
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Old March 31st, 2019, 02:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HanleyTucks View Post
In one of the CT books it mentions 10kg of fuel producing 1G acceleration for 10 minutes. That's 1kg a minute. 1/60th of 1kg each second to produce 9.8m.sec-2 acceleration on... well, it doesn't specify ship size. On a ship weighing 100 real tonnes (as opposed to 100dT), well... given conservation of momentum, and ignoring relativistic stuff, you're looking at exhaust speeds around 20% of light speed. And a power output of... well, terwatts. Hmmm.

So I imagine a sort of core contained fusion reactor producing relatively small amounts of energy, and then an attached open core one (using the closed one as a "spark") with a much higher capacity one venting plasma out the back. For true insanity, we can imagine someone just honking a lever and the thing opens and vents. Basically a nuclear bomb like shaking up a bottle of Coke and opening the end.

Physics is no fun, man.
Just dumping the fusion product out through a hole isn't going to work well. It needs a supersonic expansion nozzle to convert the raw thermal energy into directed kinetic energy. An aerospike does the job up to a certain point. An EM field can help some also.


Supersonic expansion is a direct proportion of √area, starting with a choked flow at Mach 1, so that a 1:100 expansion yields a Mach 10 exhaust velocity. That is what most modern bell-shaped rocket nozzles get. Material properties limit the maximum useful size, and diminishing marginal returns set in fairly steeply.
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