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NTA Sunheart V Fusion Torch

Created for Alistair Young's Eldraeverse

Nucleodyne Thrust Applications, ICC, first rose to prominence in the early Era of Diamond and Ice, when as a contractor for the Deep Star program, it was responsible for designing and manufacturing the drives which propelled the first eldrae sub-light colony ships to the stars selected to become the Thirteen Colonies.

These initial drives, the first in the Starblaze series, were variations on the then commonly used magnetic confinement fusion drives, making use of the Helium-3/deuterium process long familiar from second-phase fusion reactors. The genius of the NTA engineers was in scaling the process for interstellar travel; first-flight Starblazes were impractically large for most uses, temperamental, terrifyingly radioactive, and possessed of a regrettably short operational lifespan as the difficulty of containing plasma heated to stellar-core temperatures rapidly eroded even the most refractory materials available for the containment coils and blade shields of the magnetic drive nozzles. Despite this, only they successfully permitted the Deep Star ships to make the first ever interstellar transits.

In the modern era, while Nucleodyne Thrust Applications continues to manufacture new variants of the Starblaze-series, such large fusion drives for the remaining subluminal interstellar transit needs, primarily for exploration probes and stargate positioning, the advent of the stargate has concentrated their attention on the requirement for high-power drives for interplanetary operations – the spun-off Sunheart series.

The current Sunheart V drives, the fifth design iteration, make use of two products of the emergent field of ontotechnology operating together to enhance the fusion drive into a true fusion torch, capable of sustained operation to provide multiple gravities of thrust.

The first of these is vector control, which while still limited by the various conservation laws, permits limited manipulation of the gravitational interaction. Its chief role in the Sunheart drives is for containment, creating kinetic barriers which work in combination with the electromagnetics to safely confine and channel the drive plasma.

The second is the use of ontotechnology affecting the weak interaction (via manipulating the electroweak unification) to locally stabilize the muon, permitting the creation of muon metals. Due to the higher mass of the muon vis-à-vis the electron, the atomic orbitals of muon metals are collapsed, rendering them much more tightly bound than conventional “electron metals”, with extremely high densities and a remarkably refractory nature.

In short, the former allows the Sunheart V to successfully contain fusion plasma at the optimal temperature for He3-D fusion of 1.16 x 109 K plasma; and the latter allows a relatively miniaturized gravomagnetic nozzle to survive the process. As shielding, the latter also permits the use of pure orichalcium – the high-temperature superconductor used by much eldrae electrical technology – in the containment coils rather than less efficient but more resilient orichalcium alloys, which in turn permits the magnetic fields to be more tightly controlled and constrained within the immediate nozzle area, to the point at which, with careful design, fusion torch drives can even be successfully clustered, as in the Sunheart V 4x1 configuration used by among others the the Drake-class frigate, seen here.

Winchell Chung’s Atomic Rocket’s site provides the following pages on the basic MCFD (Magnetic Confinement Fusion Drive).
Fusion Reactions  
Magnetic Nozzles


The Core War and Other Stories
The Eldraeverse
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© 2015 - 2022 William-Black
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xenoorb's avatar
Good work. What 3D program do you use? I'd guess light wave, modo, or 3ds max.
William-Black's avatar
This was built entirely in Bryce 7 Pro.
xenoorb's avatar
I would have never guessed. Do you use Bryce for all your other work or other programs? I'm starting out with Blender but I don't too many other pros using it. If I go pro, I'd probably go with Light wave or Modo. Though Rhino seems to get impressive results too.
William-Black's avatar
Yes, everything in my gallery (except where I've used poser figures) was made in Bryce.
kedamono-mizudori's avatar
Aren't they a tad too close together? The heat from just one of those torches should melt the others. Now, if you were to put in a tungsten or pure carbon "shadow" shield between them, that might keep them from destroying each other.
NyrathWiz's avatar
maybe, hard to say.

Presumably each individual engine can handle the thermal flux from the exhaust it produces. The thermal load from the other engines will be slightly reduced by their distance (their exhausts are quite a bit further away) I dunno if the inverse-square law will reduce it to manageable levels, but it might.

Ah, I just noticed the blade shields. The blades are facing the wrong way to shield from the other engines. Still might work.
William-Black's avatar
Ah, I didn't think of adding a second set of outward facing blade shields, initially being concerned with capturing the concept as it is depicted in the standard MCFD. As for the remainder of the thermal management question I think it rests on the ontotechnology involved.
NyrathWiz's avatar
Well, the problem is you'd need a second, third, and fourth set of outward facings blades, one for each of the other engines. And it would be impossible to have the blades surfaces have a grazing impact with all the engine outputs simultaneously. I wouldn't worry about it.
Can't say I thought of that either.

As for the general case, though: my assumption is that the magnetic nozzle and the reactor casing are both primarily muon metal (nicely straddling the handwavium-unobtanium boundary in that once one handwaves the ability to stabilize muons, its properties should, in theory, be quite conventionally calculable). Sadly, I don't have the detailed physics background I'd need to compute out the full hypothetical properties of whichever muonic element/compound/alloy this is (probably some sort of muonic steel, at a guess), but my extremely rough back-enveloping suggests that the refractory properties of such substances should be enough to let many of them remain solid inside a star, pretty much, so...

(Don't ask me how they shape and work the stuff. The answer is very likely to be "with difficulty, and possibly in advance".)
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