Fuel, Reactors, and wrecks

General discussion about the space role-playing game Transcendence.

Fuel, Reactors, and wrecks

fossaman
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fossaman
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Oct 10 2005, 09:32 PM #1

I have a couple of questions/topics for discussion here, thanks to some things brought up in the 'Scuttling Wrecks' thread in the suggestions forum.

First of all, fuel.

The fuel in the game seems to be helium3 rods. Is it a gas, liquid, or solid? According to Wikipedia, it's an isotope of helium with two protons but only one neutron, sought after for use in fusion.

So, that would make the reactors in transcendence fusion reactors, right?

I'm assuming that pteracnium is another element that is useful for fusion, since one can use pteracnium fuel rods: But what is it exactly? Is it helium3 compacted into a solid form in some sort of substrate, or is it some other sort of fusion material?

When a reactor blows up, is it a catastrophic loss of containment of the reaction, allowing it to vaporize the ship before it dies?

Would dead reactors pose any threat at all? Is the fuel itself dangerous?

Would it be possible to make a dead reactor on a wreck blow up, destroying the wreck?

What do you think?
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gannon
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Oct 10 2005, 09:56 PM #2

if it is fusion then a dead reactor is very safe. You can even have a leak in the helium3 rods (how did you do that :P) it is just helium so would not be a threat.
As for pteracnium I think he made that up. It can't be a element for fusion because all the lighter elements are named and the heaver ones are unsutible for fusion (you get less out than you put in)
Detroying a live reactor my blow it up (bepends on how built) but a dead one (assuming you can't just start it up which in the case of fusion is very hard) will do nothing major if damaged.
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fossaman
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Oct 10 2005, 11:22 PM #3

Hey...maybe that's why running entirely out of fuel kills you. You don't have the equipment to restart your reactor.

Pteracnium doesn't have to be an element, it could be a molecule that is conducive to fusion instead.
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gannon
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Oct 11 2005, 12:21 AM #4

hmm don't really see how a molecule could help fusion. At fusion temp no molecule can survive. Thats why is it so hard to contain and maintain a fusion reaction you need to contain the fuel with gravitational (such as stars) or magnetic force (such as a magnetic bottle). If the fuel falls below a certain heat and density it stops the reaction (thats why dead reactors are mostly harmless)

just to let you know I don't mind the pteracnium it is a game and having a better fuel is fun.
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fossaman
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Oct 11 2005, 01:05 AM #5

You don't understand what I mean, here:

What if pteracnium is a molecule that breaks down into fusionable material, such as helium3? Would this be possible?

If it's missing a neutron, would it be able to bond to other atoms?

Oh, and to get the 3, you use a [*sup][/*sup] tag (without asterisks.). Stands for superscript. If you want the text to be below the line, like this, then you use the [*sub][/*sub] tag, for subscript.
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gannon
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Oct 11 2005, 02:17 AM #6

if it can break down to helium3 then it contains helium3 because helium3 is an element. It is a noble gas so no it wouldn't be. (they don't do molecules)
Anyway even if it could there would still be a problem of other elements lowering the fuel density because a molecule is made up of many atoms so unless they are all the same element (those are already named) it would lower the fuel density and lower effecenty (by the none fuel atoms getting in the way by absorbing some of the energy)
Neutrons do not effect what kinds of chemical reactions an atom has (well it has a small effect on speed).
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Narok
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Oct 11 2005, 04:37 AM #7

helium3 is tritium if I'm not mistaken. It's available all over the universe. It's carried naturally by solar winds and deposited on asteroids and bodies without atmospheres or high gravity, similar to deuterium. The idea that it costs anything in outer space is kind of silly, though it has to be created on Earth because it can't exist in and of itself, so it does cost something.

Scientists continue to discover new elements with weird properties. Maybe Pteracium is an element that moves through time or maybe it is matter so dense that it bends space. :)
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gannon
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Oct 11 2005, 05:33 AM #8

thats handwaving and you know it (not really a fan of that kind of sci fi) :lol:
but as I said before I don't mind things for game purposes
also descovering new elements is very rare because we have all the stable elements known and you have to make the new elements (so you can't have lots and wouldn't work as a fuel)
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fossaman
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Oct 11 2005, 07:30 PM #9

Pteracnium could be an isotope of some sort, I suppose.

Maybe it fisses before it fuses. That would provide extra power to the reactor. Isn't that sort of how H-bombs work?

Narok, it's possible much of the accesible He3 has already been extracted by the time transcendence takes place.
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OddBob
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Oct 12 2005, 02:02 AM #10

From ingame stuff and XML:


"Pteracnium is one of the only transuranic elements that is stable under normal conditions. When bombarded with high-energy particles, pteracnium releases a cascade of anti-protons that can sustain a starship engine."

"Pteracnium is a stable transuranic compound of immense energy density. Refined and packaged as fuel rods this compound is ideal for gigawatt-class reactors."

You're assuming that all three drives are fusion drives. The 1GW is apparently an antimatter drive. A really cool one, since the pteracnium itself isn't actually antimatter, and thus not insanely dangerous to carry around.
--
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fossaman
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Oct 12 2005, 02:10 AM #11

So, how is it that you can use standard He3 fuel rods and reactor assemblies in the gigawatt reactor? That doesn't make sense. Somebody call the factoid police! :P
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Guest
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Oct 12 2005, 08:48 PM #12

Just as a note, deuterium and tritium are hydrogen2 and hydrogen3, not helium isotopes. However, heavy water (water in which one or both of the hydrogen atoms is deuterium or tritium) has been proposed as a potential fuel for fusion reactors, the main drawback being that while deuterium and tritium do occur naturally, they do so in extremely small quantities.
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fossaman
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Oct 12 2005, 09:06 PM #13

Thanks for the clarification.

So, should we be able to use heavy water as reactor fuel, then? Or is the system stuck to rods and assemblies?
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Sero
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Oct 12 2005, 09:07 PM #14

Fossaman, it depends on how the engine works, and that's likely to involve a lot of handwavium. (Note, I said engine, not reactor, so I'm not saying we don't know how a fusion reactor works, lol)

Referring to Pternacium and H3 in the same reactor.
Begin with a function of arbitrary complexity. Feed it values,
"sense data". Then, take your result, square it, and feed it back
into your original function, adding a new set of sense data.
Continue to feed your results back into the original function ad
infinitum. What do you have? The fundamental principle of human
consciousness.
^
^ -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
^ "The Feedback Principle"
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fossaman
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Oct 12 2005, 09:11 PM #15

Oh, you mean what the output method is?

That's a good question. If we look at the propulsion upgrades, they all seem to be things that add to the fusion reaction.

So, there are probably two or three options...

1: An exhaust system that provides the thrust.

2: Ion thrusters (maybe? I'm not sure how these work, exactly)

3: Something we haven't discovered yet?

Does thrusting take additional fuel? I've tried to notice, but I've never been able to tell, precisely. And, I'm too lazy to dig it up in the XML or TDB.
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gannon
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Oct 12 2005, 09:17 PM #16

thrust in the game is a known game thing because real thrust would be far too slow for game purposes.
Ion thrusters work on effecetcy of fuel to get a huge top speed. There acceleration is very slow. real ion engine
As you can see this one will take 20 months to get to 10,000 mph.
If you're wondering why no one else thought to do this
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Sero
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Oct 12 2005, 09:24 PM #17

Well, you see, the problem is that virtually all engines require large ammounts of reaction mass. Pretty much the only kinds that don't (aside from ones with a fixed course, which are really more powered orbit than anything else) are essentially solar sails, which have very low thrust.
Begin with a function of arbitrary complexity. Feed it values,
"sense data". Then, take your result, square it, and feed it back
into your original function, adding a new set of sense data.
Continue to feed your results back into the original function ad
infinitum. What do you have? The fundamental principle of human
consciousness.
^
^ -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
^ "The Feedback Principle"
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CRCGamer
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Oct 12 2005, 09:25 PM #18

Haha... if you want fast in RL you want what I THINK is called an Orion... Nuclear Pulse engines. Set a nuke off at your tail-pipe and ride the shockwave. Fast, if dirty. And quite doable by today's standards. Just that there is protest against using it.

Hate to think what something like this would look like in game.
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gannon
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Oct 12 2005, 09:29 PM #19

well the trust in transendence would in real life kill you and most likely destroy the ship.
Ion drives don't need large amounts of fuel (they do need some) but they don't acellerate very fast (or barly at all)
If you're wondering why no one else thought to do this
already, just remember that not everyone around here is as brilliant as you.
You at least are likely to have a kindergarten education.
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gannon
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Oct 12 2005, 09:32 PM #20

as for nuclear pulse engines I don't see that as a good way of doing large amounts space travel due to high matainance
If you're wondering why no one else thought to do this
already, just remember that not everyone around here is as brilliant as you.
You at least are likely to have a kindergarten education.
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