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Why use directed energy weapons

greaves

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Report this Apr. 06 2008, 12:22 am

I have been wondering about the use of directed energy weapons and what the advantage was. I know that they have more uses then simple gas powered ones but when starfleet is doing a strike team like against the borg them seem more likley to fail. Any thoughts...........

GrandLunar2007

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Report this Apr. 07 2008, 8:34 am

Let's take this into a real-life senerio.

If we're using EM based energy (like a laser), then one main advantage is that your beam travels at light speed. The enemy cannot dodge it (despite what's seen in sci-fi films).
Even if you're seperated by the Earth-moon distance, your beam still has only 1.3 seconds to travel.

Of course, you have to account for the inverse square law. Depending on how tight your beam it, by the time it reaches the target, it can lose effectiveness.

AquamonkeyEG

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Report this Apr. 08 2008, 8:11 am

Quote (GrandLunar2007 @ April 07 2008, 5:34 am)
Let's take this into a real-life senerio.

If we're using EM based energy (like a laser), then one main advantage is that your beam travels at light speed. The enemy cannot dodge it (despite what's seen in sci-fi films).
Even if you're seperated by the Earth-moon distance, your beam still has only 1.3 seconds to travel.

Of course, you have to account for the inverse square law. Depending on how tight your beam it, by the time it reaches the target, it can lose effectiveness.

Energy weapons in ST emit a beam of particles that go less than light speed.

You wouldn't get recoil or knock the target back either. Well... you might knock the target back, but it would have to heat the air at the target's surface so fast as to create a small explosion (there's been research into using this as a form of propulsion). Or even in space if the beam has enough energy to explosively vaporize the target's surface.

If you are using EM based energy as a weapon, it can always be reflected. You just need a surface with a granularity smaller than the wavelength of the beam.

GrandLunar2007

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Report this Apr. 08 2008, 7:40 pm

There is one form of EM that simple reflection might not work on; gamma rays.

From reading "The Computers of Star Trek", a quick way to really beat your enemy would be to infect the enemy's computer system.

The Bynar's take over of the Enterprise-D is a good example.

AquamonkeyEG

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Report this Apr. 08 2008, 7:51 pm

Quote (GrandLunar2007 @ April 08 2008, 4:40 pm)
There is one form of EM that simple reflection might not work on; gamma rays.

From reading "The Computers of Star Trek", a quick way to really beat your enemy would be to infect the enemy's computer system.

The Bynar's take over of the Enterprise-D is a good example.

Gamma rays can be reflected you just need a surface with granularity smaller than 10 picometers, which is 1/6 the diameter of a helium atom. Theoretically possible, but not practically.

GrandLunar2007

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Report this Apr. 08 2008, 8:08 pm

Interesting, I did not know this.

Of course, if properly built, a ship meant for interstellar travel ought to already have shielding against gamma radiation.

lanceromega

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Report this Apr. 09 2008, 4:17 pm

Quote (GrandLunar2007 @ April 07 2008, 9:08 pm)
Interesting, I did not know this.

Of course, if properly built, a ship meant for interstellar travel ought to already have shielding against gamma radiation.

not really.. Generally unless you are planning to pilot a craft close to a gamma ray source such as a blackhole, shielding for gamma rays is not necessary and is actually wasteful.

space travel is trade off of weight vs power, radiation shielding is one of biggest weight factor to take into account. Generally the largest source of radiation is cosmic rays or solar winds, either can be block with powerful magnetic fields or by special perpare plastic anti radiation material design to block particle radiation such as hydrogenated polyethylene composite.

The only other source of Gamma radiation would be from the power plant(  especially if you are using antimatter) , in this case a heavy metal such as lead would be used, but only in the area needed to block that radiation from the rest of the ship. Commonly radiation shadows where the shield is design to provide the most protection for the least area of shield is used.


see the follow diagram :

http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/shadowshield.jpg

AquamonkeyEG

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Report this Apr. 09 2008, 5:05 pm

I heard that if you are bombarded with gamma radiation you get superhuman strength.

blankenship

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Report this Apr. 09 2008, 6:32 pm

Line of sight and speed, which leads to ease of tracking the target.

GrandLunar2007

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Report this Apr. 09 2008, 7:58 pm

What I had in mind Lanceromega was what I heard from a ship design mentioned by a Dr. Mauldin.
His idea was a generation ship. Because of it's long flight into space over many years, it would need protection from all sorts of radiation, including gamma. Supernova and gamma ray bursts would have to be delt with.

lanceromega

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Report this Apr. 21 2008, 3:50 pm

Quote (GrandLunar2007 @ April 08 2008, 8:58 pm)
What I had in mind Lanceromega was what I heard from a ship design mentioned by a Dr. Mauldin.
His idea was a generation ship. Because of it's long flight into space over many years, it would need protection from all sorts of radiation, including gamma. Supernova and gamma ray bursts would have to be delt with.

well in that case, simple hollow out an iron asteroid and send it one directon, it will take centuries to get where it going, but then  you trading mass for speed, and it take forever to get anywhere.

Real starships / spaceship would have alot less shielding and may have special shield compartment called storm cellars to hide in when high radiation level are detected.

GrandLunar2007

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Report this Apr. 22 2008, 7:52 am

That's pretty much what the ISS astronauts do; take cover in a shielded section.

Of course, by the time we get moving with starships, we might have "radiation shields" or something.

I figure that a good hull material for shielding would be DU; depleted uranium. Dense, yet it doesn't take a lot to form a good barrier. And other material can protect against it's radiation.

lanceromega

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Report this Apr. 22 2008, 10:27 am

Quote (GrandLunar2007 @ April 21 2008, 8:52 am)
That's pretty much what the ISS astronauts do; take cover in a shielded section.

Of course, by the time we get moving with starships, we might have "radiation shields" or something.

I figure that a good hull material for shielding would be DU; depleted uranium. Dense, yet it doesn't take a lot to form a good barrier. And other material can protect against it's radiation.

mostly you would need shielding from cosmic rays or solar flares which are charge particles and can be block via magnetic or electrical fields.

Intense Gamma sources are rare, unless you are going to be orbiting pulsars, so standard starship would not be neavily shielded.

As i stated before such shielding is massive (DUR is a good choice and would add alot of mass to any ship)

It may be possible in the future to create a gamma ray mirror using electron gas, such scheme has been suggested as a way to reflect gamma ray in photon drive space craft but no one has not been to create such a gas of pure electrons..

Startrekage21

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Report this Apr. 24 2008, 8:23 am

what I dont understand is why against the borg they dont just use things like swords and daggers. For example in first contact when Lieutenant Worf use the dagger against those borg it seemed pretty easy.

GrandLunar2007

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Report this Apr. 25 2008, 7:57 am

Perhaps because not every crew member has the strength, speed, or skill of a highly trained Klingon.

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