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Tyralak

Brian's take on Isotons.

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In his latest video, Brian gives a very reasonable theory on just how much explosive power is in an "Isoton". Its not as high as many on the Trek side would prefer, but its supported by canon evidence. Its also not as low as the Wars side claims with their 64 megaton figure. It runs about 8 minutes.

 

 

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That's a fairly good analysis, it uses canon examples (ignoring the yields derived from the tech manuals), and is fairly solid. Of course it isn't actually one of the higher level examples as described in the video when put next to things like DS9: "The Die is Cast" or other similar events. But neither is it one of the lower ones.

 

That being said, he did make one mistake. 

 

He said that 30 Gt gave total destruction out to 800 km according to the calculator. However, that's the thermal 3rd degree burn radius (a couple hundred °C for a short time) and wouldn't be expected to do anything substantial to something like the Jem'hadar ship they were flying or anything else existing in space for that matter.

 

To get the destruction radius, using the calculator, out to 800 km would require something more around either 1,567.5 Gt or 29,680 Gt depending on if O'Brian was being literal in that everything will be destroyed. And even that last one will be a little low, as a starship is many times tougher than a modern building. An issue with this is the calculation is based on the existence of an atmosphere to transfer a shockwave. Of course they are in space so there is no atmosphere present, so the effects are more likely to be thermal in nature.

 

So to apply a kilojoule per m^2 (our sun does this to the Earth approximately every second) the yield would have to be 8.0425*10^15 J or 1.9222 Mt. Ignoring shields for a moment and using just the hull, which we know to be composed of tritanium and being able to withstand temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius. Vaporizing a 1 m^2 section of iron which is 1 cm thick would require 5.9842*10^8 J. Which would require a yield of 4.8128*10^21 J or 1,150.2813 Gt. Now tritanium is many many times more difficult to vaporize or melt than iron, for starters ships can withstand many thousands of °C without issue. Furthermore type-II phasers, which can literally vaporize metal (as per Data in TNG: "The Vengeance Factor"), can do nothing to even melt tritanium. So we could expect the yield to be many times greater than even that.

 

Iron:

7.6 MJ/kg to vaporize

7.874 g/cm^3

 

Even with that fairly substantial mistake, I think the analysis was otherwise very well done.

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359, Brian wanted me to pass on a response, since he's staying away from forums for a while due to other obligations.

 

"He points out himself there is no atmosphere to transfer a shockwave, but still uses that figure. The damage radius in space, as he says himself, is the thermal effects radius, but then he ignores that and still uses the blast radius. There would be no blast in space.

Also, tritanium is not harder to melt than iron. It does have a high melting point. But it also has an equally LOW heat capacity, as noted in Descent.

As they approached the star, the hull reached a temperature higher than coronal gasses. This is impressive temperature, but as they were still outside the corona, it means the heat capacity is lower than the corona gasses. Less energy, higher temperature. It is not harder to melt than iron.

Also note the ship was just outside the shield barrier when the bomb exploded, not 900km away. The ship, which had been crashed previously, survived.

And if the thermal effects radius is not the relevant figure, in space, which one is??? (ie, what color is it?)"

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Actually, hand phasers, which can vaporize iron, can't melt tritanium.  Although, by "harder to melt", he probably meant "harder to heat up to its melting point.", since tritanium remains solid at temperatures at which all real-life materials would be gasses.

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He points out himself there is no atmosphere to transfer a shockwave, but still uses that figure. The damage radius in space, as he says himself, is the thermal effects radius, but then he ignores that and still uses the blast radius.

In fact that is not true. I clearly recognize this and that is why I said:

 

 

Of course they are in space so there is no atmosphere present, so the effects are more likely to be thermal in nature.

And then I follow up with an analysis of thermal effects. True it came out as a similar number, but in no way do I "use the blast radius", in fact I do not really "use" anything. I just point out an issue with the video's calculations from two approaches.

 

 

1)Incorrect use of the nuclear effects calculator.

 

2)Providing a low-ball value for thermal effects.

 

I in no way project anything beyond those simple facts. Realistically I agree with the conclusions within your video, photon torpedoes ranging from around 10 to 70 Gt. All I did was point out that you used a flawed analysis of the event by using an energy which wouldn't disturb aluminum foil at the stated 800 km hazard range.

 

 

Also, tritanium is not harder to melt than iron. It does have a high melting point. But it also has an equally LOW heat capacity, as noted in Descent.

As they approached the star, the hull reached a temperature higher than coronal gasses. This is impressive temperature, but as they were still outside the corona, it means the heat capacity is lower than the corona gasses. Less energy, higher temperature. It is not harder to melt than iron.

That is hardly quantifiable as we do not know their exact distance from the star. And I will point back to the example I provided. In TNG: "The Vengeance Factor", phasers are used to vaporize metal (at less than half their maximum setting) by raising it to several thousand degrees Celsius. And statistically speaking it is unlikely that the metal would have an inordinately low specific heat, by probability it should be assumed to be average. 

 

 

And then in TNG: "Arsenal of Freedom" phasers are stated to be completely unable to even melt tritanium. 

 

 

Also note the ship was just outside the shield barrier when the bomb exploded, not 900km away. The ship, which had been crashed previously, survived.

After the crash the ship had probably been repaired during the several years it spent in space dock, and then in preparation for the mission. Plus it was heavily damaged in the blast afterwards, which they wanted to avoid by being over 800 km away.

 

 

 

And if the thermal effects radius is not the relevant figure, in space, which one is??? (ie, what color is it?)"

The thermal effect radius reads as follows: "Thermal radiation radius (3rd degree burns)" No structural metal is going to be in any way phased by the tiny level of heat needed to cause third degree burns. In short the closest section on the calculator is either of the "Air blast radius" boxes, but those assume an atmosphere, so there is nothing in the calculator good for this type of event. Hence the need to actually do some calculations to estimate the energy of the blast; but wait, that is exactly what I did.

 

 

 

 

So in summery:

1)You accused me of dishonesty by going with the atmosphere based calculations, which I had already stated were in error due to the lack of atmosphere at the end of the second paragraph. Which I then followed with thermal based calculations.

 

2)You use a vague example to try and claim tritanium (or more relevantly starship hulls), that ridiculously tough-in-every-situation-we-have-seen material, is easier to vaporize than iron. (Oh yeah, and I only used 1 cm of iron, while hulls are at least several decimeters thick.) Which I had already addressed through direct comparison to another metal using hand phasers as an intermediary (TNG: "The Vengeance Factor").

 

3)You try to claim the ship is already damaged and was much closer than the stated distance. And that is why we see the ship have significant further damage as seen here. They could not make it out of the blast zone in time, even with their shields offering further protection than the hull.

 

4)You question what else in the calculator would be used, to which I respond: nothing. The calculator just doesn't have the options to cover this type of event.

 

So by all measures my value for thermal effects is a low estimate, I used iron and assumed no shields. Both of which lower the total energy. Now do I think this is what a photon torpedo should be (2,555 Gt using 200 isotons)? No, I generally go with the range you conclude in your video. And I really do think you did a good job, I just wanted to point out that using the 3rd degree burn radius is not a valid comparison. And I offered up another solution.

 

In the end, after this response, if you still disagree with my assessment of the event, fine. We can agree to disagree.

 

And I apologize if this response sounds a tad hostile, but you did just attack my character with the whole atmosphere/ignoring/thermal thing.

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359, I don't think he meant to attack your character. This was a copy and paste of a text message conversation we were having. Sometimes those things don't come across so well.

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I understand, and I'm sorry but it did come across that way.

 

 

 

Three phasers set to level seven in TNG: "The Vengeance Factor" were able to (almost) instantly thermally vaporize something called "noranium" it wasn't Iron specifically, but iron is not all that hard to vaporize compared to other metals. 

 

And because phasers can not even begin to melt tritanium on any setting with all their stored energy, this establishes tritanium has significantly greater thermal properties than any metal we know of.

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Also, didn't Valeris use a hand phaser to vaporize a metal pot in Star Trek VI?

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She shot, and did unto, a metal pot with a phaser, yes. But some would argue that is not true vaporization.

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She shot, and did unto, a metal pot with a phaser, yes. But some would argue that is not true vaporization.

 

No, it didn't look like vaporization. Since it was strictly limited to the pot and not the contents, it would be using the disintegration properties of a Phaser. If it were vaporization, the thermal energy would have destroyed the contents as well.

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That inverse square law calc seems kinda consistent with the "400 GW" particle weapons being a threat, as well as the coronas. But at the same time a proximity blast from a multi-gigaton yield photon torpedo isoton extrapolation would be far higher energy density than that. 

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That inverse square law calc seems kinda consistent with the "400 GW" particle weapons being a threat, as well as the coronas. But at the same time a proximity blast from a multi-gigaton yield photon torpedo isoton extrapolation would be far higher energy density than that. 

 

I'm highly skeptical of the GW range Phaser theory. Some of the research I've gathered (which I will post as soon as I have finished collecting it) points to shipboard Phasers with a much, much higher power output.

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I'll look forward to seeing it. The GW theory certainly don't jive with the ships power output.

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Exactly, Vince. In fact, four of the pieces of information I have right now are: Galaxy class ship at impulse, under normal operation, is generating and obviously consuming (because they don't overheat) 12.75 Exawatt/sec. Not using shields or weapons systems.

In Voyager, we have a 1 TW thoron rifle.

Also in Voyager, we find out that a Borg exoskeleton can handle at least 5 million Gigawatts.

In DS9, a Breen CRM-114 was guaranteed to blast through force fields up to 4.6 gigajoules. Again, a handheld weapon.

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A consistent inconsistency rampant in ST. They can't even get their power levels consistent.

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Most of the time, they are consistent. You just have to take in the entire picture, rather than taking quotes out of context. There are a few instances that can't be rationalized, but most can.

If you want an amazing lack of consistency, the SW EU is the place to go. I've never seen a more schizophrenic collection of glorified fan fiction in my life. Which is why George Lucas doesn't accept it as "his" universe, and why Brian (and myself for that matter) doesn't use it as evidence either. The best thing to use is the films, TCW and a handful of technical manuals.

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Films, TCW, The Force Unleashed, and technical manuals.  And the upcoming "Rebels" cartoon.  That's what's canon.  And for the first three, that includes their adaptations.

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I'm highly skeptical of the GW range Phaser theory. Some of the research I've gathered (which I will post as soon as I have finished collecting it) points to shipboard Phasers with a much, much higher power output.

 

I am, too. 

 

The two published Tech Manuals' figures can be dismissed out-of-hand thanks to "A Matter of Time." 

 

I can quote the transcript if necessary, but I imagine everyone is already familiar with it.  Either Geordi or Data said a mere "point zero six terawatt variance" in their phaser beam could spell the difference between success and disaster; i.e., an "exothermal inversion" of the planet's atmosphere.

 

We know that even during the TOS days that phasers, still apparently a semi-new tech then, could be dialed down to 1% ("The Ultimate Computer"). 

 

I think it is only logical that a GCS could vary its phaser beam by 1/100th power; moreover, since the experts were actually worried about that variance, I would tend to conclude that the E-D's phaser output is at least 100x that, or 6 terawatts.

 

Fair as that is, I still have a hard time believing a nearly 5 million metric ton ship which can generate and, more importantly *use* far into the mid or high petawatt range has energy weapons limited to .001% of said value. 

 

I'm going out on a limb and going to say that, even without NDF effects, a GCS's main phaser array is good for several hundred TW.  Evidence lead me to that conclusion, mind you; but compiling that evidence, explaining it and taking it from there ... oy :)  I can only ask for patience on that count.  I have a ridiculous amount of stuff on my plate I have to address first.

 

-Sean

 

P.S. -- FWIW, I tend to rate TNG-era photorps in the low megaton range, perhaps reaching as high as 10-12 MT apiece (?). 

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Hi guys,

 

Just followed the link on in, as I'm making site updates. This includes renaming the Misc section "Premise," making it the first page after the "Welcome" one, and separating the links to their own page. And, of course, I'm working on the Federation vs Empire section, in case no one was aware.

 

Speaking of updates, the new layout here looks nice.

 

Anyway, just to chime in on this issue, my take is that the wildly varying examples are why these debates have never been settled. That, IMO, is a major reason to limit myself to canon-only sources. But even in canon, and especially in Star Trek, the canon examples vary too widely to generate logical arguments as it stands.

For instance, Geordi said the warp core "usually kicks plasma in the terawatt range." He also said 4.2 gigawatts was enough to power a "small phaser bank." Conversely, Data said the ship was generating "12.75 billion gigawatts per..." and Torres said they needed to add another 5 terawatts to the sensor array. These examples go on and on. I blame the fact that Star Trek is such a cash cow that multiple writers worked on it, with little collaboration. That is really what lead to the publication of the TM, to provide some continuity.

Trek supporters support the highest numbers, anti-Trek debaters support the lowest numbers; neither surprisingly.

But how do we decide? The highest numbers? The lowest numbers? Arbitrary decision?

After I'm done with the current section, Federation vs Empire, and a few more case studies itching to get out, I intend to compile these examples and determine if a pattern can be noted, leading us to the conclusion of what range is the most consistent. The most consistent thing, as I've said from the beginning of this project, wins.

I'm not doing it now, because the Federation vs Empire section needs to be done before my son is born in January, being such a massive project. And looking at the Judgement Criteria, I don't think it has a significant effect on the outcome anyway, as it mostly pertains to the ship vs ship combat section, one of the least important areas. And of course, I'll allude to the varying ranges in that section.

 

On the other hand, this might be a perfect project for the combined forces here at ASVS. It would have to involve supporters of both the high and low figures, plus someone to compile them in a spreadsheet, producing bar graphs and pie charts; someone who is good with such things, and impartial.

Each example would stand alone, not "if we use the 12.75 billion gigawatts, along with THIS example of .9% used for..." That is a double dip. The .9% is just as dependent on the low figures as it is the high.

It would generate traffic, and after all, it will be a lot for me to do alone. And heck, the results could be published in the Geek's Basement for all to see, whether favoring Star Trek or pulling it down.

The point is to get it right, not to BE right.

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Scaling TDiC crust scale disintegration does potentially yield some very high end results, easily surpassing the statements regarding power output by orders of magnitude.According to the estimates here, the Earths crust may weigh around 1.9e22 kilograms, so if you say 1 MJ is needed to disintegrate 80 kilograms of man (I'm pretty certain crust is denser than human and would be harder to disintegrate, but assuming their equal), you'd need 2.5e20MJ in total.

Over an hour thats sixty nine trillion gigawatts! ~17 teratons a second, hundreds of gigatons per ship. 

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II'm going out on a limb and going to say that, even without NDF effects, a GCS's main phaser array is good for several hundred TW.  Evidence lead me to that conclusion, mind you; but compiling that evidence, explaining it and taking it from there ... oy :)  I can only ask for patience on that count.  I have a ridiculous amount of stuff on my plate I have to address first.

 

-Sean

 

P.S. -- FWIW, I tend to rate TNG-era photorps in the low megaton range, perhaps reaching as high as 10-12 MT apiece (?). 

Thats quite a big difference between phasers and photons though? 

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