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Cooling down the Honorverse

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Cooling down the Honorverse
Post by Dilandu   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:11 pm

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I'd like to talk a bit about the, probably, most important question of space warfare: disposing of a waste heat.

The heat is one of the most problematic topics in sci-fi (especially military sci-fi, or space opera). Every single process onboard the space warship produce heat - unless, of course, you managed to change the laws of thermodynamic... but Gods usually don't need spaceships to battle each other :) The only way you could get rid of heat in tghe vacuum of space - before your ship melt, or your crew be disabled by overheating - is to radiate heat outside. And, since the radiation of heat is not highly efficient process, you need REALLY big radiator surface to get rid of all those nasty gigawatts that your lasers, grasers & sidewalls spend.

Considering the Honorverse, the heat problem is quite important, because Honorverse's ships tended to be almost inconceivable owerpowered. They spend so much energy, that their fusion reactors are, basically, stellar-fusion type devices, that could vaporise the ship instantly if containment would be breached. They operate the propulsion systems, that required enormous ammount of energy (gravity isn't really a cost-efficient force...), and their weaponry & defense systems are even worse. And - because no process could be 100% effective - they surely create AN AWFUL LOT OF HEAT during operations.

So the question is - how they got rid of all those waste heat?

Problem is, that the total surface area of Honorverse ships isn't nearly big enough to simply radiate this heat from the ship's skin. For example, the good old "Fearless" have a total surface area of no more than 51522 square meters. Even assuming that each square meter could radiate 300 kWt of thermal waste heat, the brave little cruiser could not radiate more than 15,4 gWt of heat. And, obviously, this is far from sufficient for the energies that we observe (just to mantain a 500g acceleration of 88000 tons of mass we would need literally exawatt-level).

So, we need REALLY BIG RADIATORS on Honorverse's ships. Problem is, that their sizes and shapes are already established.

But... we have one REALLY BIG part that each Honorverse's ship bound to have. The impeller wedge, which is literally hundreds of kilometers in size. And if we could - somehow - let the impeller to radiate all our hit...

MY IDEA: let's use the impeller wedge as part of REALLY BIG droplet radiator! The liquid droplets have the best surface area to volume ratio; they are perfect way of getiing rid of the heat (just spray the heated liquid overboard, let it cool down and scope the droplets).

Problem is, usually liquid droplet radiators aren't well-suited for high-G maneuvering. Simply speaking - you would lose a lot of droplets with each turn, i.te your radiation system would quickly run dry.

But... in Honorverse we have our magical gravitech! :) We have tractor beams, areas of controlled gravity and other cool stuff. So, we could actually build the droplet radiator, that would work in high-G environment!

So how the Honorverse's ship could cool itself? I imagine, that the spray the liquid - probably liquid alluminium or even copper - from their bow thickening directly into the impeller bands. For any structured objects this would means immediate disintegration, but the droplets would be fine even under tremendous gravity stresses.

The droplets are spreading through the wedge plane - thus turning the whole wedge into one enormous radiator. They are radiating their heat all along - the wedge clearly didn't affect that. The cooled coolant droplets are scooped by sort-of "gravity ramscoop" system on the stern - probably the system of wide-area tractor beams - and recycled through the ship's coolant system. Again.

Now, assuming the previous 300 mWt per square meter, we could have about 1500000 gigawatts of waste heat radiated from the average 100 km * 50 km impeller. This is more like it. :)

P.S. Still have a problem with spider-drive ships... their thermal radiation are, clearly, the problem. Even the average Alliance officer would not be able to overlook something that radiating more heat than average planet... Hm... their propulsion system are able to partially penetrate the Alpha Wall - so, is it possible that they use their gravity "legs" to transfer heat (in some form) into hyperspace to dissipate unnoticed?
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Re: Cooling down the Honorverse
Post by MaxxQ   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:13 pm

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Ummm... it's already been established that the wedge acts as a "sump" for waste heat. Admittedly, there's no specified mechanism for getting the heat to the wedge, but according to David, it gets there. If you look at my ship models, the Rolly Things™ behind the superstructure are what dumps the waste heat into the wedge, but we don't know HOW it does it - at least not yet (we haven't made something up yet).

There are also secondary radiators on the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the ships.

Edit: Cue the "experts" in 4... 3...
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Re: Cooling down the Honorverse
Post by JohnRoth   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:51 pm

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The waste heat problem has been beaten to death a fair number of times. Since the wedge solution only works when the wedge is up, there are a couple of other solutions out there waving their arms.

The big issue isn't getting rid of waste heat - it's getting rid of it in a way that doesn't make a warship a big, hyper-obvious target in the infra-red.

A warship's stealth system rather obviously does something in this regard.

However, the big one is the waste heat scavenging system that popped up with the MAlign's Ghost class ships. I'm putting that one down to quantum weirdness.
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Re: Cooling down the Honorverse
Post by Dilandu   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:08 pm

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JohnRoth wrote:The waste heat problem has been beaten to death a fair number of times. Since the wedge solution only works when the wedge is up, there are a couple of other solutions out there waving their arms.


Well, when the wedge is down, you could still use droplet-type radiator (albeit if you maneuvering at high g, you would quickly lose the droplets).

The difference is only that the droplets aren't limited by the wedge, so you need a bit more sophisticated systems to spray them around & collect them.

The big issue isn't getting rid of waste heat - it's getting rid of it in a way that doesn't make a warship a big, hyper-obvious target in the infra-red.

A warship's stealth system rather obviously does something in this regard


Generally that's why stealth spaceships didn't work...


However, the big one is the waste heat scavenging system that popped up with the MAlign's Ghost class ships. I'm putting that one down to quantum weirdness.


Well, I suggested the simpler solution. Just put the heat behind Alpha's wall. :) The "legs" of spider drive already partially penetrated hyperspace.
------------------------
If power's on your shopping list
Then use the elbow and the fist,
Pummel 'em until they get the gist
Just make an example of
Representative sample of
And most of them will not be missed! (c)
Top
Re: Cooling down the Honorverse
Post by MaxxQ   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:22 pm

MaxxQ
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Dilandu wrote:Well, when the wedge is down, you could still use droplet-type radiator (albeit if you maneuvering at high g, you would quickly lose the droplets).

The difference is only that the droplets aren't limited by the wedge, so you need a bit more sophisticated systems to spray them around & collect them.


If the wedge is down, you won't be maneuvering at high-G. RCS notwithstanding.
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Mk28 Condor pinnace: http://youtu.be/fy8e-3lrKGE
HMS Fearless: http://youtu.be/uEiGEeq8SiI
Mk13 load sequence: http://youtu.be/i99Ufp_wAnQ
Mk16 attack sequence: http://youtu.be/byq68MjOlJU
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Re: Cooling down the Honorverse
Post by The E   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:08 pm

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Any attempt to make real-world physics work in the honorverse is doomed to failure. Just accept that the technology works; It's the old Heisenberg compensator thing again.
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Re: Cooling down the Honorverse
Post by jdtinIA   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:53 pm

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Simple. You take the waste heat and pump it into a sealed tub of water (or similar liquid ). This tub is surrounded by another tub of liquid connected to a turbine. The waste heat boils the liquid into steam which is used to drive the turbine to make electricity. Problem solved.
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Re: Cooling down the Honorverse
Post by phillies   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:39 pm

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The technical name for your invention is, alas, "perpetual motion machine".

The power radiated by a surface goes as the fourth power of the temperature (Stefan-Boltzmann equation) so all you need are magic materials that can be heated really really hot.

The alternative is that all of the power handling processes are quantum mechanical and efficiencies of unity.

jdtinIA wrote:Simple. You take the waste heat and pump it into a sealed tub of water (or similar liquid ). This tub is surrounded by another tub of liquid connected to a turbine. The waste heat boils the liquid into steam which is used to drive the turbine to make electricity. Problem solved.
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Re: Cooling down the Honorverse
Post by ldwechsler   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:15 pm

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The E wrote:Any attempt to make real-world physics work in the honorverse is doomed to failure. Just accept that the technology works; It's the old Heisenberg compensator thing again.



This is the real final answer. We don't know how just about any of the tech works. Who knows maybe the artificial gravity uses heat to power it.

It's fun to speculate but RFC determines scientific laws in this universe.
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Re: Cooling down the Honorverse
Post by jdtinIA   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:19 pm

jdtinIA
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phillies wrote:The technical name for your invention is, alas, "perpetual motion machine".

The power radiated by a surface goes as the fourth power of the temperature (Stefan-Boltzmann equation) so all you need are magic materials that can be heated really really hot.

The alternative is that all of the power handling processes are quantum mechanical and efficiencies of unity.

jdtinIA wrote:Simple. You take the waste heat and pump it into a sealed tub of water (or similar liquid ). This tub is surrounded by another tub of liquid connected to a turbine. The waste heat boils the liquid into steam which is used to drive the turbine to make electricity. Problem solved.



It makes as much sense as Honorverse physics does.
Why worry about it as long as the author keeps things internally consistent?
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