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What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?

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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by kzt   » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:57 pm

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A freighter has a crew of much less then 60, but we'll go with 60. So if each of 1000 SL worlds decided it needs to build 500 freighters that requires that a planet with an average population of 2 billion find 30,000 crew over a few years while they build the freighters. At the end of this process you have 700,000 SL freighters and Manticore can try to eat their wormhole, since part of this would be a prohibition against SL planets shipping with or servicing manticore shipping.
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by Relax   » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:32 pm

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If the number of merchant hulls in Honorverse is around 100,000+++, then where are they all built?

According to ART they are not built in the League.

According to WoH, they aren't built in Manticore either. Little thing called a war. A few were built in Grayson space.

CoS has a VERY decrepit 100 year old vessel that should have been scrapped.

MMM went from #4 to Way beyond #1 in a matter of 10 years and yet they never built more than a handful of merchant hulls themselves.

Leaves us with 1000 vessels a year being built... :?: :?: :?: Somewhere in handwavium land. Damn, its nice to be the author in chief!

PS. Still waiting for the invention of an electrical cord in an upcoming book for pods on light unnits. Why next we will have Manticore instituting the invention of raising and lowering of flags to improve data throughput and get rid of those super expensive, super massive error prone computers.
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:58 pm

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Relax wrote:If the number of merchant hulls in Honorverse is around 100,000+++, then where are they all built?

According to ART they are not built in the League.

According to WoH, they aren't built in Manticore either. Little thing called a war. A few were built in Grayson space.

CoS has a VERY decrepit 100 year old vessel that should have been scrapped.

MMM went from #4 to Way beyond #1 in a matter of 10 years and yet they never built more than a handful of merchant hulls themselves.
I do wonder if that CoS example was mostly poor maintenance. I don't know that the average 100 year old merchantman is that decrepit. On the other hand presuming multi-century freighter average lifespans actually makes the question of how the balance shifted more acute.

If there's a low turnover rate then how was there that big a swing from SL hulls to MMM hulls? (Were Manticoran shipping lines buying up existing hulls from SL lines?)
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by Brigade XO   » Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:38 pm

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The freighter in CoG and others we have seen belonged to Beowulf Biological Survey having been acquired in various missions or purchased for their use.

Manticore was building much more than warships prior to the opening of the war with Haven and we presume the various yards shifted back to some commercial production between the war periods.
Then there is Honor purchasing the Paul Tankersley durring the war. That would indicate that there was some non-military building going on. There is also the ships being built for Torch- ok, their frigates, but they are EXPORT versions of warships SEM is not building for itself.

I recall from various Pearls that there "planned obsolescence" isn't something that is the norm in the Honorverse. With Starships, they are built to last and, other than damage from outside sources, they going to give perhaps 100 years of service. You need both regular manitenance and reasonable care in operations (don't push them to the max and overload them all the time) but they are generally practical and serviceable ships.

Even with the wars going on, the commercial ships still needed and received maintenace. A lot of that would be available at facilities near the Wormhole Junction or just regular Termini. For the lesser used Wormholes, the repair and civilian yard facilities would most likely be located in the system which owns the wormhole termini. That would also be a likely port of call/shipping drop point for merchants using the wormhole.

The military specific tech may be changeing fast but the commercial stuff doesn't need to meet the same pace. I suspect that a lot of the merchant power plants and things like enviornmental systems are relativly long lived and, while needing regular replenisment of supplies and certain parts, those pieces can be found from manufactures or aftermarket supply manufactures. Just like cars and trucks except with really long usefull lifespans. Improvements would normally be both incrimental and as relatively minor upgrades to existing equipment.

I can see an area such as Silesia having a few yards that can build "stock" transports, ususally under license from the original design/manufacturers.
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by kzt   » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:01 pm

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Brigade XO wrote:I can see an area such as Silesia having a few yards that can build "stock" transports, ususally under license from the original design/manufacturers.

IIRC, it had at least 6 military shipyards. No stated number of civilian shipyards.
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by Relax   » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:30 pm

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Hulls will wear out due to fatigue. Yes, even in the Honorverse. Those Impeller nodes still push said hull. Yes, other parts may wear out sooner, we have canon they do, but in general, one designs all parts to fail at about the same time in commercial designs. For instance civilian airliners have a design life of about "2 turbines". This is a significant step as a gas turbine today is good for upwards of 5000 hours depending on how it is used. Here I am actually dating myself as I do not have the newest numbers from GE and P&E and I have since quit the Lazy B commercial division. I believe the 787 has an astonishing 20,000 hour service life and in 10 years will be evaluated to a possible 35,000 hour total extension! Aluminum/steel/magnesium/all metal, could never even dream to achieve this amazing feat at the same tonnage.

Lets assume that the Honorverse has better materials? They do, it is canon. These materials will still have a fatigue life determined by the stresses present. The hull WILL have a finite lifespan.

Why commercial freighters today are designed for the engine, main bearing, and hull to fail due to wear and fatigue at the same time. It is cost prohibitive to build a merchant hull like a BB. Said BB hulls, even from WWI, are still more than adequate from a fatigue standpoint but are worn out due to their engines/boilers/turbines being dead and their overall structure near impossible to rehabilitate cheap enough to justify the expense.
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by kzt   » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:39 pm

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Relax wrote:Hulls will wear out due to fatigue. Yes, even in the Honorverse. Those Impeller nodes still push said hull. Yes, other parts may wear out sooner, we have canon they do, but in general, one designs all parts to fail at about the same time in commercial designs. For instance civilian airliners have a design life of about "2 turbines".


Aluminum has no fatigue limit, which causes the aircraft hull to eventually fail just from the pressure cycles or vibration. D check interval on a composite 787 is 24,000 cycles/12 years vs 12,000 cycles/6 years for the mostly aluminum 767, and I understand this may be extended depending on what is found when they do them.

In theory other materials like steel that are just lightly stressed can last forever. In fact they won't since you eventually get corrosion or surface damage, but they will last far, far longer than aluminum.

Why commercial freighters today are designed for the engine, main bearing, and hull to fail due to wear and fatigue at the same time. It is cost prohibitive to build a merchant hull like a BB. Said BB hulls, even from WWI, are still more than adequate from a fatigue standpoint but are worn out due to their engines/boilers/turbines being dead and their overall structure near impossible to rehabilitate cheap enough to justify the expense.

Well, without sea water the corrosion issue is a lot less. Plus Honorverse ships don't have to float, so you can use significantly oversized structural members. In addition it's been stated that material costs are very low due to asteroid mining producing the elements used in structural elements for civilian ships almost as a by-product.

The textev that honorverse ships are over-designed such that they can operate normally while running at 450 g acceleration without a compensator suggests that their fatigue life is completely absurd. If you stress your engineering decks and beams to support 4.5 million tons when the actual load is 10,000 tons I don't think you are likely to see failures with the compensator running.

BTW, the the idea that the ships are stressed to do this is completely absurd, it's like designing a 787 to handle flying through high-rise buildings or an oil tanker to support being picked up and carried by the deck rail by Superman. But it's what the books say. :roll:
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by Relax   » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:29 am

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No airplane structural members even comes close to reaching the middle, let alone the bottom of the fatigue life curve of Aluminum.

I am not personally, hands in the works, on merchant ships, but I would be shocked if their steel hulls are either. They are only lasting about 20 years or so. I do know they use specially heat treated 100,000psi steels for their top structural member and then encase them in cheap steel. This tells me that while corrosion on the hull plating(CHEEEEEEP steel) happens, it does big time in salt environment, it is not the defining reason for retirement of the ship in question as the main structural members defining its fatigue life are not in continuous contact with salt water creating a much smaller corrosion safety factor.

Merchant ships today have roughly +75% of their costs tied directly to fuel. Includes maintenance and hull purchase etc. In the Honorverse, how much of lifetime cost basis are tied up by fuel costs? We know it is "cheeeeep". What percentage of costs over the lifetime are fuel costs? If it is close to today, then the hull mass, will be important in regards to said fuel costs. Grav waves with free power are nice, but are not exactly dime a dozen.

PS. Basing anything in the Honorverse on the short story "the one stone", IE G loading on a merchant hull, I would not consider canon in the slightest. 2000g :?: Really :!:
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by kzt   » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:43 am

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It was actually "What Price Dreams" that I was citing.

I was thinking of Aloha flight 243, which had a very bad flight one day in 1988.
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by Relax   » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:49 am

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kzt wrote:It was actually "What Price Dreams" that I was citing.

I was thinking of Aloha flight 243, which had a very bad flight one day in 1988.


Yes, free sky diving lessons. =)
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