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Old 11-21-2018, 11:39 AM   #21
SteveS
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
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Default Re: waste heat

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
. . .
And that's relevant here because, if you came up with a novel physical phenomenon that allowed heat to disappear without being conducted, convected, or radiated, it could equally well lead to a more generalized conservation law; the process might no more violate the laws of thermodynamics than the emissions of radium violated those laws.
Obviously we need either really enormous radiators, which are about as functional for Traveller as an interstellar setting without faster-than-light travel, or another means of disposing of heat.

But I don't think radiative heat disposal is entirely out of reach as a hand-wave. Yes, a power plant that generates lots of useful energy without radiators that are much cooler than the fusion chamber temperature are impossible by known thermodynamics; you have a choice between huge, low-temperature radiators and lots of useful power or small, really hot radiators but not much useful power.

But with a super-science hand-wave, why not a small, hot radiator for a power plant that still generates plenty of useful power? Or internal systems that use lots of power without generating lots of waste heat? Or a combination, where almost all weapon energy goes out the weapon, but other systems behave more realistically? All violate known thermodynamics, of course.

But reactionless drives violate known conservation of momentum, by definition.

Given that gravitic super-science already violates conservation of momentum, it seems like a reasonable hand-wave to say that gravitics can also violate thermodynamics in a way that works as a compact radiator. Dump the waste heat through the maneuver drives, and you have an excuse for the glowing circles in a lot of science fiction illustrations.
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Old 11-21-2018, 12:03 PM   #22
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: waste heat

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Originally Posted by SteveS View Post
But with a super-science hand-wave, why not a small, hot radiator for a power plant that still generates plenty of useful power?
The efficiency of a power plant is limited by the ratio of temperatures of the heat source and the heat sink. This is not inherently that much of a problem for fusion since it involves temperatures of hundreds of millions of degrees, but if you're using a regular thermal setup you're limited by the range of temperatures your working material can handle, so high temperature radiators involve super scary working fluids.

We can get around this by assuming most energy capture from power plants is done by non-thermal means (this requires neutronless fusion), but there's a separate problem: internal waste heat (other than what's required for power generation). There, if you want a radiator that's hotter than the component you're cooling, you need a heat pump (which requires energy), potentially causing the power consumption of things like energy weapons to balloon.
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Old 11-21-2018, 01:21 PM   #23
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: waste heat

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Tpotentially causing the power consumption of things like energy weapons to balloon.
The problem with energy weapons in GT is that the power cells that feed them directly store only enough energy for 1 shot at a time thus requiring a large power plant to rwcharge them quickly.I think it's 1 shot per minute in GT.

Store enough power for 60 shots but recharge on the basis of a day rather than a minute and your power plant slice devoted to energy weapons shrinks by a factor of 24.
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Old 11-21-2018, 01:31 PM   #24
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default Re: waste heat

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
The problem with energy weapons in GT is that the power cells that feed them directly store only enough energy for 1 shot at a time thus requiring a large power plant to rwcharge them quickly. I think it's 1 shot per minute in GT.

Store enough power for 60 shots but recharge on the basis of a day rather than a minute and your power plant slice devoted to energy weapons shrinks by a factor of 24.
GT was largely attempting to replicate Traveller feel, not build things that actually make sense in GURPS Vehicles.
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Old 11-22-2018, 05:23 PM   #25
Kax
 
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Default Re: waste heat

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GT was largely attempting to replicate Traveller feel, not build things that actually make sense in GURPS Vehicles.

Yeah, one of the first things I built when playing with more starship build modules was a 'Stored Power' chunk that was basically a big-arse battery and associated power control and fire suppression systems.

I had to put limitations on it for weapon use or it allowed even the heaviest non-spinal-mount energy weapon to act as a machine gun for a space round or two. This came across as a bit broken.
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