Author Topic: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?  (Read 15821 times)

Offline White Wolf

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1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« on: September 20, 2008, 05:13:48 PM »
FLO and i were having a discussion about this over MSN.

 Personally, i don't see the problem. Federation would allow 3 or 4 nacelled ship for reason that its better chance of getting home. As for the Warp field. I'm sure that Federation Warp field specialists would have worked out the problems of 3 nacelles both in the lab and in the field and made it work. To me,Federation is like any other Gov.  Although looks due probably play some factor in the design of a starship,  The Federation's main concern is what works.
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Offline TNC

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2008, 05:33:45 PM »
Well there is at least one canon three nacelled vessel, the Niagara class.  There are three four nacelled vessels, the Constellation class, the Cheyenne class, and the Prometheus class (although it having four nacelles is a side effect of the multi-vector assault mode).

Perhaps the most reasonable explanation for few four and three nacelled vessels is cost and weight.  Warp coils might be the most expensive part of a starship to produce. So the more coils, the more expensive the ship.  As for weight, warp coils are one of, if not the, heaviest parts of the ship.  Less coils, less weight.

Now you might ask "Well a single nacelled ship would have half as many coils as a dual nacelled ship, so why aren't there more of those?".  That's where redundancy comes it, if you only have one nacelle and it is fraked, then you're screwed.  If you have two nacelles and one is fraked, then you might still be able to limp home at warp three or so.  So to get redundancy while minimizing weight and cost, Starfleet and other alien governments use mostly two nacelled ships.

EDIT: And in a shameless promotion of an old thread I started where I stated some ideas on this: http://www.subspace-comms.net/index.php?topic=1754.0.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2008, 05:37:30 PM by TNC »
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Offline SansSerif

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2008, 04:05:15 PM »
I could certainly be wrong, but I believe you need at least two nacelles to form a warp bubble. Those blue glowing grills need a line of sight to each other in order to do so. ...Or at least, i have read that that was one of Rodenberry's rules for Star Trek ship design. On the occasions where there is a ship with three nacelles, I have seen it chalked up to each nacelle having two sets of coils, so it is really more like six nacelles. That part seems a little dubious, but it is the only way to allow for single nacelle ships.  But come to think of it, are any of the single nacelle ships canon? The closest I can think of is the old Hermes class from the tech manual, which is not strictly canon.

Offline TNC

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2008, 04:41:30 PM »
There is a canon single nacelled vessel, the Freedom class.  There was an episode of Enterprise where one of the NX-01's nacelles was reduced to a glorified firecracker and it was still able to limp about at warp 3.  Suppsoedly Rodenberry came up with his starship rules to discredit most of the ships that were in the tech manual because he had a disagreement with the person who drew those ships.
“Battle is not a simulation. It’s blood and screams and funerals.” – Capt. Georgiou – Star Trek: Discovery – “The Vulcan Hello”

Offline SansSerif

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2008, 11:15:13 PM »
Wow.  I only WISH the Freedom class was non-canon. Ughhh.

Offline shipfisher

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2008, 04:07:28 AM »
Do the Wolf 359 ships (ie. Challenger, Cheyenne, Freedom, Niagara and Springfield) truly rate as canon designs as depicted at EAS? We only see glimpses of the remaining chunks of these in the battle aftermath shown on screen. Not to belittle the outstanding "back-engineered" ships at EAS, but have any appeared in a trek episode intact?

I know the New Orleans class has been depicted in official publications, so it has at least pseudo-canon status, but I don't know about the other five classes.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2008, 04:13:28 AM by shipfisher »

Offline TNC

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2008, 08:01:50 AM »
None of the Wolf 359 ships have appeared intact in any other episodes.  But they still appeared on screen (even if damaged) and as far as I know so long as it's on screen it's canon.

It is possible that the Freedom-class was just some limited production test-bed ship that was pulled out of mothballs to fight the Borg.  I've seen speculation that the Niagara was a test ship that led to the Galaxy-class production.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2008, 08:07:52 AM by TNC »
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Offline Edymnion

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2008, 10:53:07 AM »
There is a canon single nacelled vessel, the Freedom class.  There was an episode of Enterprise where one of the NX-01's nacelles was reduced to a glorified firecracker and it was still able to limp about at warp 3.  Suppsoedly Rodenberry came up with his starship rules to discredit most of the ships that were in the tech manual because he had a disagreement with the person who drew those ships.
Yeah, when we get right down to it, when it came to business, Roddenberry was a real bastard.
You know he wrote lyrics for the TOS theme song just so he could claim to be the co-creator and not have to pay royalties to the guy that wrote the music, right?

I mean, great guy and all that, but when it came to money, the guy would do whatever it took.

Offline SansSerif

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2008, 12:13:39 AM »
Anyone ever read Bill Shatner's Star Trek Movie Memories? It's full of stuff like that. Gene trying to throw people under the bus wherever possible. Frankly, I am not that into TOS, and Nicholas Meyer and Ronald D. Moore and really the guys to thank for the Trek I love.

Offline White Wolf

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Re: 1 vs, 3 nacelles What's the problem?
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2008, 06:35:13 AM »
Back On Topic.   

Personal i don't see any problem with 3 nacelled starship since the federation would have foreseen any problems.
Human Nature. Without a common enemy , men will look for foes in the one place they can guarantee finding one: The Past. -Eoforth, Sigmar's right hand man,

A mind without a purpose will walk in dark places. - Gideon Ravenor, Inquisitor of the Imperium of Mankind.

Offline Data007

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2008, 02:30:36 PM »
Well, that's an odd rationalization. That's like saying that drug companies foresaw all the problems related with an arthritis treatment product, and warned the public appropriately.

Wait a sec...

:P

Seriously though, it may be that there are problems with three nacelle ships that we never hear about. Why? Because in some applications, the utility outweighs the risks and problems. I think the fact that so many starships are even numbered in their nacelles, and that the lion's share of those are two nacelled, says that there is some downside to three nacelles, even if it's just weight, or complexity.
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Offline Bernd

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2008, 03:05:57 PM »
Since we know that warp propulsion is possible with just one nacelle, there is no reason why it shouldn't be done, except that two nacelles provide redundancy and may be better to tune. Rather than the single nacelle, the stupid thing about the Freedom is that the engine is so far off-axis. It's unstable like a Segway of space. And butt-ugly of course.

Offline shipfisher

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2008, 01:43:46 AM »
I think the Freedom class, along with pretty much everything else, takes a back seat in the fugly sweepstakes to the Niagara class, which I can only just barely accept as a test mule for a "let's see what 3 galaxy nacs crammed together goes like" test program. Probably from the same yards that gave us the Medusa class and that "Intrepid hull grafted to connie bits" kitbash infesting the DS9 tech manual.

As long as I'm moaning I'll add that the Freedom class windows look a little off scale when you see that it's larger than the Constitution refit beside it in the Wolf 359 fleet chart.

On a positive note, anything displayed at EAS gets honourary canon status in my book. I like the Cheyenne and Springfield, even with the marker pen nacelles, though I think they're fuzzy enough on screen to allow NX-01 style deflector dishes at the front of the primary hulls (goes for the Challenger too). My personal preference is the version of the Springfield sans the ventral pod but keeping the dorsal one - it seems to overlap less with the New Orleans layout that way to me.

To finish on topic, odd numbers of nacelles must have some utility, if for nothing else than to keep the drive field geometry engineers on their toes. My fave single "nacker" is the Predator over at SFM with that neat little shuttle bay behind the bridge (always thought the Hermes/Saladin needed one). You can see that "Naboo Starfighter" style variable diameter nacelle housing two overlapping sets of coils. I've always thought that you need at least two sets of coils to form an interference pattern that defines the size and shape of the drive field around the ship.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2008, 02:08:22 AM by shipfisher »

Offline prometheuspan

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2008, 05:18:05 PM »
Whats trek and canon has never interested me much compared to how It would be done given a sane extrapolation from known science.

In my opinion thus, I agree with roddenberry. Each warp field of each engine is creating a swirling vortex of magnetic field energy in order to push around gravity and thus space/time.  If you only had one nacelle, you'd end up with much the same problem as a helicopter with no aft propeller. The ship would spin on the axis of the engine, and, at ftl speed.

Then of course it would blow up.

Each engine has to have a counter engine in order to counter the vortex spin. Juggling three engines would seem to be mathematically impossible. Either the vortex spin is one direction or the other for each engine, unless you only use the third engine as a spare or to power phasers and weapons and such.

In theory, in fact, if such a theory is true, the minimum number of engines is actually four, because otherwise the vortex spin is going to push the vessel up or down or sideways relative to the warp field.


Offline Data007

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2008, 09:02:52 AM »
Ok, A, nacelles aren't the powerplant. They are the equivalent of your cars wheels, putting power to movement. B, the field only has to be asymmetric bow-to-stern to be propulsive. Keel up and left right asymmetry aren't required.
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Offline rapierdragon

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2009, 10:54:58 PM »
I would think the basic math would be enough.  Dividing by 3 tends to result in infinitely long decimals.

1 nacelle = 100% of the warp power
2 nacelles = 50% each of the warp power
3 nacelles = 33.3333333333333333.....% (problem!  you got that annoying endless THREE that turns up)
4 nacelles = 25% each
5 nacelles = 20% each

after which you only really see in mutli-ships like Prometheus (3 warp cores, each powering 2 nacelles when seperated into 3 ships... when joined, the two lower warp cores "pool" their power output which is then nicely split 4-ways among the aft nacelles.  The "top-most" of the three ships has its nacelles retracted and they aren't used when its docked.

--- 3 nacelle arguments ---

The split it unevenly way:  I suppose you could argue that 2 nacelles would get 33% and 1 would get 34%, but that lone nacelle would have to OPERATE at 33% cause otherwise the 1% difference would tear the ship apart.  (Remember, 1% might seem like nothing, but 1% of lightspeed is like 30-thousand-km/s difference, which is way more stress than a ship can survive)

The grind-it-down way:  Another (more likely) option would be the take 100% power and subtract 1% right away off for other uses so that you have a nice 99% (so that you get 3 equal 33.0%'s).  The "All Good Things" Enterprise-D most likely used this method.

The give each nacelle its own warp core way:  looks and sounds easy, but then again it would be way too easy for one nacelle to start warping at different rate than the others.  Even if teh three cores pooled their output, splitting that combined output 3-ways would again result in that annoying .333333 decimal repeat.

The alternate-math method:  rather than use a base-ten percentile, use an output-based percentile... like 360 (100% of a circle is 360 degrees).  360/3 = 120 ... the math sounds nice, but while a computer could easily convert back and forth, the average human would start having to sit down and do the math. 

Offline jgallaway81

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2009, 01:07:42 PM »
I might point out that just because the percentage is a never-ending 3, doesn't mean the quantitative value of whats being divided is a decimal point at all.... ex: the warp core produces 360terawatts of plasma, each nacelle (in a 3-nacelle ship) gets 120terawatts... and f one nacelle goes offline, then the remaining two would get 180terawatts.

The trouble with the idea of sing the third nacelle as a "spare" becomes that now the warp field geometry doesn't match the geometry of the ship. the only solution to that would be to more the entire nacelle off the storage pylon and install it on the active drive pylon.

If you want to go with non-canon ideas for the reason for a third nacelle (does nothing to explain the theory behind a single nacelle ship) then consider this.. we know that warp drive produces residue particles in the war coils... I believe it was mentioned occasionally that the drive coils needed a neutron purge. With the third nacelle, you might be able to adjust the frequency of coil firing so that one nacelle operates at a frequency of 66mhz (just using simple numbers to make the point) while teh other two operate at a 33mhz frequency. This would result in an equal work load between one nacelle and the other two, while also decreasing the time in service of the coils, extending their ability to operate a higher warp factors. Since it is commonly theorized that warp 13 was simply short hand for warp 9.9999999967825 (pick your extremely high warp value and insert here) this would work concertedly the three nacelles increasing the efficiency of the warp drive.

Its also possible, though less likely, that the third nacelle wasn't infact a warp drive nacelle, but infact a different FTL drive alltogether, being it a transwarp drive or quantum slipstream, the possibility exists. This theory of course is disputed by the fact that the field grill on the third nacelle glowed blue with the other two nacelles, and if memory serves, also flashed up as the Ent-D went into warp.

Offline Juvat

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2009, 09:12:07 PM »
Another thing to remember is that not all of the power from the warp core goes straight to the nacelles.  It goes other places to power other systems.
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Offline Edymnion

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2009, 09:05:49 AM »
Another thing to remember is that not all of the power from the warp core goes straight to the nacelles.  It goes other places to power other systems.
Not normally.  The ships have several deuterium fusion reactors that provide the day to day energy needs of the rest of the ship.  The only time you ever hear of "diverting warp energy into the shields/deflector/whatever" is in emergency situations where they need to blow the holy hell out of whatever they're directing it into.

Any other time, the warp core powers the engines only, not the other systems.

Offline Shik

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2009, 08:27:28 PM »
Incorrect. The warp core is the primary power generation unit for all ship's systems. That is why there are taps for the electroplasma system that route power all over the vessel.

Offline The Unbound

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2009, 06:08:46 AM »
Well, partilly incorrect, anyway. The warp core provides 'main power', which, presumably powers main systems on a ship, while the fusion reactors provide 'auxilliary power', which presumably powers auxilliary systems. You do, however, hear about auxilliary power being routed somewhere as reinforcement rather more frequently than warp power. At a guess, I'd say
that warp power requires considerably more power than anything else on a ship, so ramping up the warp core is always an option when you need an extra kick from some system or other, but is for some reason considered excessively dangerous in most situations where you might do it, such as combat. Possibly, with that much power, minor fluctuations are enough to blow the ship up.

Anyway, to look at a real world parallel, there is no technical reason why you shouldn't build aircraft with any number of engiens you might like, but when they build ones, at least ones large enough to warrant more than one engine, they tend to go for even numbers. The symmetry makes them easier to figure out, I assume. Of course, there are three-engines aircraft, and lots of single-engined aircraft, so the situation obviously isn't entirely analogous. But even if Federation engineers have figured out the dynamics of odd-nacelled warp fields, there's no reason why they should pick those setups over the more inherently stable even-nacelled setup, if it doesn't grant some concrete benefits.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2009, 06:10:32 AM by The Unbound »
Steady on.

Offline Aemielius

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2010, 11:02:17 PM »
As far as 'Roddenberry rules',  there was really only one, and that was that a starship had to have an even number of nacelles.
While we see some ships with 3 and others with only one, 2 'is considered to be the optimum number'.
This makes sense from a engineering point of view for a few reasons.  (And, yes, I am schooled electronics communications engineer.)

1) Using only 1 nacelle, the coils would take a great deal of abuse.  Particularly at high warp, because of the amount of plasma being pumped into the nacelle.  Multiple nacelles would require a proportionally smaller amount of plasma in each.

2) Even numbers of nacelles can be tuned work together.   A bit of electronics 101...   Warp engine nacelles are not Newtonian engines like Rockets and Impulse engines are, they are more like huge radio antennae.  In electronics we call these,'transducers'.
The frequency and amplitude of these engines distort the space around them so that the ship essentially surfs through space, In using pairs or other even numbers of nacelles the amplitude produced by each nacelle can be reduced(for reason stated above) and with their frequency and phase matched, still produce the required amplitude because any electronic signal that is matched and set in phase with another like will increase the total amplitude.  I have a rough example...      If those 2 wave forms were the out of phase output of a pair of warp nacelles, the power(amplitude) would be just as it is.  If they were tuned and phased(so that it looked like only one wave) the power would double. (The peak of each side of the wave would be 2.00 and -2.00)  Three waves would triple and so on.   Note, that the frequency MUST be the same or this doesn't work.

3) The third and perhaps the trickiest reason has to do with warp field geometry.   Every configuration of ship has its own warp field geometry because the ship's hull is also part of the transducer.   It, in essence, focuses the field, aims it so to speak.   For even numbers of nacelles, you can put the nacelles at just about any point on the ship so long as they are aligned longitudinally and in opposing pairs.  For odd numbers, such as 3 as seen on the future Enterprise D, the nacelles would need to be place at equidistant angles around the hull, not clustered on the dorsal side like we see.
Now I'm sure there is some fancy equations the Trek Engineers could use to compensate for this but I don't think it would be as efficient. nor as powerful.

Hope this helps.
James Aemielius
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Offline gerdesilets

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Re: 1 vs 3 nacelles, What's the problem?
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2016, 08:15:13 AM »
i think that one nacelle is for nearby utility ship, ship that stay in close range of the heart of federation where in case of failure help is near
three nacelles maybe for high density space like nubula zones or where warp fields are unstable like near black holes
or maybe 3 nacelles ship can turn in warp but technologie is still experimental?