Topic: Hand phaser energy output  (Read 9061 times)

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Offline knightstorm

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Hand phaser energy output
« on: April 18, 2015, 11:21:53 pm »
Can someone give an estimate of how much energy is required to vaporize a human body?  A 29th century hand phaser was capable of vaporizing an SUV, how much energy is required for that?

Offline Corbomite

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2015, 07:38:57 am »
I don't know the answer (and I'm not sure anyone does), but I suppose you could estimate it by researching how much energy a crematorium's oven puts out over the required time to destroy a body to ashes and small hard bits and up it to the point of (nearly) complete annihilation of the molecules. Put that energy into a compact burst and you would have quite a weapon. I suppose atomic bomb test data might also hold a clue, although I'm not sure they were measuring that particular statistic in the tests.

Offline TAnimaL

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2015, 12:22:36 pm »
I remember reading someplace (maybe it'll come back to me) that phasers don't actuall "vaporize" or "convert matter to energy" but disrupt matter; otherwise the energy involved would be huge, burn things around the target (something we never saw happen), etc. It's  a little handwavium technobabble, sure, but it makes a little bit of sense. Otherwise, wouldn't it be "E=MC˛"?

For giggles, here's the appropos pages from the TNG Tech Manual.

Offline Corbomite

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2015, 01:19:45 pm »
Vaporizing something doesn't involve the conversion of matter to energy, only the conversion of molecular bonds to energy, which would require/produce a great deal of heat if you were to break every single bond in a complex structure, but no atomic blast.

Offline TAnimaL

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2015, 01:22:45 pm »
Not much different in terms of info, but here are the relevant pages from the DS9 Tech Manual

Offline TAnimaL

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2015, 01:25:26 pm »
which would require/produce a great deal of heat if you were to break every single bond in a complex structure, but no atomic blast.

I wasn't implying an atomic explosion, but, again, since we didn't see anything but the target vaporize, there must not have been that much heat. For example, Chekov didn't combust or suffer burns when Terrel vaporized himself with a phaser a meter away.

Offline Corbomite

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2015, 03:08:33 pm »
Perhaps the target is enveloped in a magnetic field thereby containing the entire reaction. Lower settings of the weapon imply it somehow disrupts the nervous system.

Offline Tulwar

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2015, 05:30:04 pm »
I remember some physisist saying that it would take so much energy that aphaser would have to have tremedous recoil.  Remember, when a man is struck with a 155mm explosive shell, a foot or ring finger is usually thrown clear.  Phasers leave only scorch marks, unless, of course, the script requires something messier.
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Offline manitoba1073

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2015, 05:56:39 pm »
the simple answer is 2 AAA taped positive ends together.    :laugh: :laugh:



Offline Nemesis

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2015, 07:20:09 pm »
The instantaneous vapourizing of a human body would result in a major steam explosion.  Water converted to steam increases 1600 times in volume.  Not to mention all the other materials such as the calcium in bones. 

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Offline Sirgod

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2015, 11:23:50 pm »
I can answer this, with a hell of a lot of energy. Prob. more than what we have. Reminds me of this http://what-if.xkcd.com/130/

The man is using melting of snow, but it applies here also.

Melting a gram of snow takes about 335 joules of energy. To put that another way, a 60-watt lightbulb is capable of melting about a pound of snow an hour. 

A foot of snow contains roughly the same amount of water as an inch of rain, give or take. Let's assume you've had a decent snowstorm of about a foot[5]—meaning an inch worth of water—and that you want to melt a 9-foot-wide swath while driving along at 55 mph.

Luckily, this happens to be one of those happy physics situations where we can just multiply together every number we're looking at, and the answer turns out to be the measurement we want:

55 mph×1 inch×9 feet×water density×335Jgram=574 megawatts

Unfortunately, it's not the answer we'd like. The nuclear reactor on an aircraft carrier, for example, produces less than 200 megawatts. To melt snow in front of your car, you'd need three of those.

------

That is just for the water in our bodies. So yeah, 3 nuclear powered Aircraft carriers to melt snow at 55 mph.

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Offline TAnimaL

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2015, 01:24:54 pm »
Hmm, last time I checked (today), NASA currently has 12 probes at or on the way to at least 6 solar system objects plus the nearest star, a rover on Mars, a whole bunch of space telescopes, 2 astronauts in orbit and is actively testing heavy-launch systems and a crewed vehicle for LEO and beyond missions, all with a budget that has continued a (slight) decline as a percentage of the federal budget since 1992, and is less than a tenth of the budget it had when man walked on the moon.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, there's no shuttle, but they didn't mothball it, they retired a system that had reached the end of it's lifespan. We went through this in the 70s between Apollo/Saturn and the Shuttle and back then we couldn't even get astronauts off planet (kids today is spoiled...). Would it have been better to have the next manned vehicle ready before retiring the old one? Sure, but just revisit that budget issue I mentioned.

To put it another way, forget the Vulcans, have you written your Congressman/Senator lately about boosting NASA's budget?

Offline FPF-Tobin Dax

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2015, 02:38:31 pm »
Contacting your local politician?  ::) Hopefully you are a large corporation with the money to lobby him or her. ;)
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Offline Sirgod

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2015, 04:18:45 pm »
Stephen,  ;) that was awesome 8)

I think we need to contact the Vulcans for help, especially since we mothballed NASA  :-\



Thanks man, I always try and read that comic at least once a month, and had ran across that article also. Good stuff in there what if section.

Stephen
"You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth - and the amusing thing about it is that they are."- Father Kevin Keaney, Chaplain, Korean War

Offline knightstorm

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2015, 07:05:52 pm »
The problem with space exploration is the political realities of the US.  Whenever a new president comes into office, he scraps whatever projects his predecessor had running in order to save money.  Then after a few years, he starts new ones so that he can have a legacy.  Then his successor comes in and scraps them before they can come into fruition.

Offline FPF-Tobin Dax

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2015, 12:53:40 pm »
So true. And Greed and Politics prevails again. Oh replicator please come already so we can move on to more important things with our lives.  ::)

3-d printer seems like a step in that direction.
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Offline TAnimaL

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2015, 01:28:03 pm »
Calling yourself a "cynic" and sitting around griping and whining certainly doesn't get the job done, and saying "why bother" is an insult to all the hard-working men and women making sure we still have a space program.

Gee, I thought one characteristic of Star Trek fans was optimism...

Offline FPF-Tobin Dax

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2015, 08:24:22 pm »
Calling yourself a "cynic" and sitting around griping and whining certainly doesn't get the job done, and saying "why bother" is an insult to all the hard-working men and women making sure we still have a space program.

Gee, I thought one characteristic of Star Trek fans was optimism...

Necessity is the mother of invention

I'm optimistic we will continue to pollute and rape this world until it necessitates our departure from it, then we'll search out another poor planet to concur and pillage.
 ;)
Optimism!! ;D

Sounds like the plot of Interstellar?
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Offline Tulwar

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2015, 10:03:44 pm »

Unfortunately, it's not the answer we'd like. The nuclear reactor on an aircraft carrier, for example, produces less than 200 megawatts. To melt snow in front of your car, you'd need three of those.


Each Nimitz Class boat has 2 powerplants.  Now, the Big-E had 4.  That means, it could have melted your snow, and have a powerplant left over to power the screws to keep up with you.  The oil-fired carriers could do over 45 Knots, and the Enterprise was the longest naval vessel ever built, so it had to have been even faster than the carriers still in service.  60 MPH is hardly our of the question.

I'd like to thank TanimaL for posting the pages of tech manual.

Sarium-krellide....  A lot of folks were forced to memorize all the symbols of all the elements on the periodic table in high school.  I can't remember Sarium or anthing like Krell.  For once, I can't blame Hollywood for this crap.

Finding a power source for a space gun ain't that hard.  First you can go by process of elemination of powersources we know of in the ST universe: chemical, nuclear, and matter/anti-matter.

Chemical:  Nitrocellulose based chemicals are about as powerful as you can get, so your space-gun is only going to be marginally superior to an M1911a1.  Scratch.

Matter/anti-matter:  What happens if you're weapon gets hit?  Mushroom cloud, you're whole company is vaporized.  Too dangerous.

Nuclear:  Well we have two routes, fission and fusion.  Fission produces too many dangerous and detectable by-products, so it's out.  Fusion....  It's been done before, but has anyone gone into detail?

What can you learn about nuclear fusion in a couple of hours on Wikipedia, or a lifetime of watching PBS?

You force Hydrogen nuclei together with enough energy to overcome their mutual repelling electro-magnetic force, so the nuclei come close enough for the Strong Nuclear Force to take over, they go "Boom," and you have Helium.  Successful experiments have used gigantic lasers to zap little pellets....  Not too promising, but given a few hundred years and nano-technology, this shouldn't be too hard.

The preferred fuel for fusion is Heavy Hydrogen, usually Duterium (2H), then again, scientists are talking about 3He.  This kind of Helium is harder to fuse, but gives a bigger bang.  There's a bigger version of H.  Tritium (3He.)  Given a larger nucleus, yet the same repulsive charge, it should be easier to fuse.

OK, so now we're still dealing with trying to keep a radioactive, lighter than air gas in the magazine of our small arm.  Cumbersome, but not completely unmanagable....  Just how do they do this with all the H-bombs?  Lithium-Deuteride.  Why not "Lithium Triteride?"  Yeah, the folks writing Halo thought the substance would make a better bomb, too.

On the down-side, Tritium has a half-life of only a little over 12 years, so it might be a little hot to handle, but about the right life-span for a weapon that you don't want to fall in the wrong hands.  You see, your fuel-cell could fail after reaching a concentration below 95 or 75%, depending on what your story-world fines ideal.  If it works until it falls to below 50%, then, the mathematics of the shelf-life are even easy enough for me to do!

The really cool thing is that you can discribe both these materials, and the "Lithium Ion" in the battery of your laptop or cell phone as Lithium Hyderide.  This means you can use your nuclear fuel to hold a considderable eletrical potential, as well.  Considdering scientists are talking about improving LiH battery performance to near instantainous recharge, this fuel sounds good for holding a nuclear and chemical potential simultaneously.

At this point, it all sounds so simple, somebody should have done it already.  Heck, somebody should have descibed it already.  The diagram of an "Atomic LASER Pistol" nearly draws itself.  Why nobody else has come up with this defies me.  I just attacked the problem with logic.

I will note that the tech manuals assign a Tritium power source to the Jem'Hadar weapon, but they didn't think it through.  My sci-fi weapons will have "Lithium-triteride power-cells."  I put the term "Lithium-triteride" into a search engine, thinking somebody had to have come up with it previously.  I was right, but Halo's explanation of the substace is absurd.

BTW, the physicists responcible for our first LiH bomb screwed up, because they didn't take into account that Lithium fissions in the nutron flux of detonation.  They got a much bigger "Boom" than expected.  I thought it took more energy to split smaller atoms than they would return.  Then, I just read that 4He is almost as bad as Fe for being "nuclear ash."

So much for the power of future small arms.
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Offline knightstorm

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2015, 12:09:41 am »


Each Nimitz Class boat has 2 powerplants.  Now, the Big-E had 4.  That means, it could have melted your snow, and have a powerplant left over to power the screws to keep up with you.  The oil-fired carriers could do over 45 Knots, and the Enterprise was the longest naval vessel ever built, so it had to have been even faster than the carriers still in service.  60 MPH is hardly our of the question.



Enterprise had eight reactors.  While it had more reactors than the Nimitz class, they were an older less efficient design so there wasn't a huge advantage in horsepower.  33 knots was the target speed for all conventional American fleet carrier designs, and Enterprise wasn't much faster.  I don't know where you're getting your numbers from.

Offline Tulwar

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2015, 03:36:23 am »
Ships much smaller than aircraft carriers can do 33 knots.  The length of a ship determines how fast it can go without requiring a prohibitive amount of energy, and all these boats are very long.  The Navy will never, ever tell how fast these ships really go, but even the oil-burning Kitty Hawk could leave its escorts in its wake.

As far as the Big-E's powerplants go, I just knew it had more reactors than the newer, and it was the longest warship ever built.  Obviously, that mean it can go faster than anything else afloat, without skipping across the water.
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Offline Corbomite

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2015, 08:37:51 am »
I may be way off base here since it has been decades since I read it, but I thought that phasers were a beam of phased plasma with an electro-magnetic component that not only kept the beam coalesced, but allowed for the stun feature by working in a similar fashion to a taser.

Offline knightstorm

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2015, 11:31:13 am »
Ships much smaller than aircraft carriers can do 33 knots.  The length of a ship determines how fast it can go without requiring a prohibitive amount of energy, and all these boats are very long.  The Navy will never, ever tell how fast these ships really go, but even the oil-burning Kitty Hawk could leave its escorts in its wake.

As far as the Big-E's powerplants go, I just knew it had more reactors than the newer, and it was the longest warship ever built.  Obviously, that mean it can go faster than anything else afloat, without skipping across the water.

Length isn't the only factor in determining a ship's speed.  There's also beam as well as weight.  A heavier ship needs more horsepower to move.  While the navy may conceal the true maximum speed of these ships, its unlikely that they were capable of more than a few knots above their listed speeds.

Offline Tulwar

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2015, 04:41:30 pm »
Any sailor that served on a carrier, while undergoing sea trials, will swear to you that the boat was going over 45Knots.  Then, there are people saying they can do up to 70.  I concede the point.  After reading up, not that much steam actually gets to screws, which really aren't that big, anyway.  What really blows my mind is that, the Nimitz boats aren't as fast as the Kitty-Hawk class!
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Offline knightstorm

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2015, 04:57:35 pm »
Different design priorities.  The Kittyhawks, and the Enterprise were designed for WWII style carrier battles.  The Nimitz class was designed for post war power projection.

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2015, 07:01:29 pm »
Any sailor that served on a carrier, while undergoing sea trials, will swear to you that the boat was going over 45Knots.  Then, there are people saying they can do up to 70.  I concede the point.  After reading up, not that much steam actually gets to screws, which really aren't that big, anyway.  What really blows my mind is that, the Nimitz boats aren't as fast as the Kitty-Hawk class!

 I can tell you how fast the Nimitz goes.

 They however block the speed from showing on all observation tvs at 40knts in the carrier. She will do another 25knts give or take 5 knts.



Offline Tulwar

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2015, 11:40:46 pm »
The thing about carriers today is that they are threatened by Chinese ballistic anti-ship missiles.  This is something new to our planners.  The missile interception systems we currently opperate are hardly capable of defending against this threat.

Hypersonic ABMs are big, expensive, and almost completely ineffective, but we are starting to build anti-missile lasers.  This technology is just in its infancy, but it really is the only effective means to counter a hypersonic weapon.  Current designs use carbon dioxide lasers which produce a beam of red light.  Simply polishing the aluminum skin of the missile is a strong defense.

What needs to be done is not merely increasing the power of our lasers, but getting the wavelength shorter than visible light.  X-ray band lasers are ideal, but generating X-rays of the required power is not easily done.

Just trying to get back on subject....
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Offline Tulwar

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2015, 10:51:48 am »
The really cool thing is that you can discribe both these materials, and the "Lithium Ion" in the battery of your laptop or cell phone as Lithium Hyderide.  This means you can use your nuclear fuel to hold a considderable eletrical potential, as well.  Considdering scientists are talking about improving LiH battery performance to near instantainous recharge, this fuel sounds good for holding a nuclear and chemical potential simultaneously.


This paragraph leaves you wondering where I was going.  I was about to say that the chemical battery component could be made to charge and discharge like a capacitor, and then I considdered the volatility of Lithium Hyderide.  I wouldn't want to have my hand wrapped around it should the thing overcharge the battery.  The weapon would have to take time to sense the capacity of the unit, and send excess energy elsewhere.
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Offline Sirgod

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #28 on: April 24, 2015, 12:54:54 pm »

Unfortunately, it's not the answer we'd like. The nuclear reactor on an aircraft carrier, for example, produces less than 200 megawatts. To melt snow in front of your car, you'd need three of those.


Each Nimitz Class boat has 2 powerplants.  Now, the Big-E had 4.  That means, it could have melted your snow, and have a powerplant left over to power the screws to keep up with you.  The oil-fired carriers could do over 45 Knots, and the Enterprise was the longest naval vessel ever built, so it had to have been even faster than the carriers still in service.  60 MPH is hardly our of the question.

I'd like to thank TanimaL for posting the pages of tech manual.

Sarium-krellide....  A lot of folks were forced to memorize all the symbols of all the elements on the periodic table in high school.  I can't remember Sarium or anthing like Krell.  For once, I can't blame Hollywood for this crap.

Finding a power source for a space gun ain't that hard.  First you can go by process of elemination of powersources we know of in the ST universe: chemical, nuclear, and matter/anti-matter.

Chemical:  Nitrocellulose based chemicals are about as powerful as you can get, so your space-gun is only going to be marginally superior to an M1911a1.  Scratch.

Matter/anti-matter:  What happens if you're weapon gets hit?  Mushroom cloud, you're whole company is vaporized.  Too dangerous.

Nuclear:  Well we have two routes, fission and fusion.  Fission produces too many dangerous and detectable by-products, so it's out.  Fusion....  It's been done before, but has anyone gone into detail?

What can you learn about nuclear fusion in a couple of hours on Wikipedia, or a lifetime of watching PBS?

You force Hydrogen nuclei together with enough energy to overcome their mutual repelling electro-magnetic force, so the nuclei come close enough for the Strong Nuclear Force to take over, they go "Boom," and you have Helium.  Successful experiments have used gigantic lasers to zap little pellets....  Not too promising, but given a few hundred years and nano-technology, this shouldn't be too hard.

The preferred fuel for fusion is Heavy Hydrogen, usually Duterium (2H), then again, scientists are talking about 3He.  This kind of Helium is harder to fuse, but gives a bigger bang.  There's a bigger version of H.  Tritium (3He.)  Given a larger nucleus, yet the same repulsive charge, it should be easier to fuse.

OK, so now we're still dealing with trying to keep a radioactive, lighter than air gas in the magazine of our small arm.  Cumbersome, but not completely unmanagable....  Just how do they do this with all the H-bombs?  Lithium-Deuteride.  Why not "Lithium Triteride?"  Yeah, the folks writing Halo thought the substance would make a better bomb, too.

On the down-side, Tritium has a half-life of only a little over 12 years, so it might be a little hot to handle, but about the right life-span for a weapon that you don't want to fall in the wrong hands.  You see, your fuel-cell could fail after reaching a concentration below 95 or 75%, depending on what your story-world fines ideal.  If it works until it falls to below 50%, then, the mathematics of the shelf-life are even easy enough for me to do!

The really cool thing is that you can discribe both these materials, and the "Lithium Ion" in the battery of your laptop or cell phone as Lithium Hyderide.  This means you can use your nuclear fuel to hold a considderable eletrical potential, as well.  Considdering scientists are talking about improving LiH battery performance to near instantainous recharge, this fuel sounds good for holding a nuclear and chemical potential simultaneously.

At this point, it all sounds so simple, somebody should have done it already.  Heck, somebody should have descibed it already.  The diagram of an "Atomic LASER Pistol" nearly draws itself.  Why nobody else has come up with this defies me.  I just attacked the problem with logic.

I will note that the tech manuals assign a Tritium power source to the Jem'Hadar weapon, but they didn't think it through.  My sci-fi weapons will have "Lithium-triteride power-cells."  I put the term "Lithium-triteride" into a search engine, thinking somebody had to have come up with it previously.  I was right, but Halo's explanation of the substace is absurd.

BTW, the physicists responcible for our first LiH bomb screwed up, because they didn't take into account that Lithium fissions in the nutron flux of detonation.  They got a much bigger "Boom" than expected.  I thought it took more energy to split smaller atoms than they would return.  Then, I just read that 4He is almost as bad as Fe for being "nuclear ash."

So much for the power of future small arms.

Awesome stuff brother. great primer also for those who may have forgot a lot of this. Hehe, did you know my masters from like 25 years ago, was in Physics? So believe me when I say, you hit the nail on the head with this post .
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Offline Tulwar

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #29 on: April 24, 2015, 07:01:43 pm »
Thank you for the kind words Sirgod.

My original idea was for a "nuclear pistol" that fired tiny Irridium bullets, propelled by nanoscopic H-bomd instead of gunpowder.  Using a thermonuclear reaction to generate X-rays for a laser sounds a lot better.  Without having the slightest clue of the energies involved, I guess this type of laser-pistol could be as powerful as GAU-7 30mm rotary cannon, with about as many shots.  The dynamic of the impact would be different, causing more blast than penetration.  Flare shielding on contact lenses, goggles, or other protection would be advised.
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Offline Sirgod

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #30 on: April 24, 2015, 09:10:38 pm »
It's kinda funny you mentioned that. Just last week, me and some friends over on the other site , where brainstorming a two stage bullet, that came to me in a dream.

went on for awhile, until I found that NASA had kind of the same idea I had, but had applied it to a gun instead.

It was basically, Gunpowder hits piston, which compresses hydrogen, which propels projectile at mach 8.


Stephen
"You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth - and the amusing thing about it is that they are."- Father Kevin Keaney, Chaplain, Korean War

Offline Tulwar

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Re: Hand phaser energy output
« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2015, 10:42:58 am »
Mach 8....  An M1911a1 propells a projectil at somewhere under just under Mach 1.  With 8, being a perfect cube, the diameter of a bullet carrying the same energy would be half the size in all dimentions.  That still makes for a .22 cal.  The smaller diameter would do a lot for penetration, at the cost of disturbing less tissue, even if the projectile completely atomized upon impact.  Mind you, the real life .22 Magnum is quite deadly.  For a Star Trek weapon, I'd like to see a difference of energy on an order of magnitude, not multible.

Have you noticed that newscasters keep saying "fold" when they mean "times?"
Cannon (can' nun) n.  An istrument used to rectify national boundries.  Ambrois Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary