I'm an artist by trade, but I spend a lot of time around people who occasionally sound like they're speaking a whole other language. Totally legit, but at some point, I completely lose track of what they're talking about. I get that; when I start in on something I know a lot about, there's a lot of specific terminology that just doesn't track for someone without the specific knowledge I have.
Now, if you think you can provide enough information that I can sound like I know what I'm talking about where a warp engine is concerned... might be fun to play an engineer. Not all my favorite Trek characters were engineers, but there are a bunch on the list.. ^^;
Ok, lets see if you can understand what I'm trying to say in this portion straight from the handbook.GlossaryAntimatter
A type of matter whose electrical charge properties are the opposite of 'normal' matter. For example, a 'normal' proton has a positive charge, but an antiproton has a negative charge.
Antimatter can be used to interact with, modify, or destroy normal matter. When a particle of antimatter is brought into contact with an equivalent particle of normal matter, both particles are annihilated, and a considerable amount of energy is released. The controlled annihilation of matter and antimatter is used as the power source for the warp drive systems used aboard starships.Deuterium
(or heavy hydrogen) is an isotope of hydrogen which contains one proton and one neutron in its nucleus, and one electron orbiting the nucleus. Naturally-occurring hydrogen consists of less than 1% of this isotope.Dilithium
is a naturally occurring crystalline material used in the warp drive systems of many starships. Dilithium regulated the matter/antimatter reaction in a ship's warp core because of its ability to be rendered porous to light-element antimatter when exposed to high temperatures and pressures. It controls the amount of power generated in the reaction chamber, channeling the energy released by mutual annihilation into a stream of electro-plasma.Electro-Plasma
In high-power mechanics, electro-plasma (also known as warp-plasma or drive plasma) is a super-energized plasma used to transfer energy from a central power source using plasma conduit transfer. In matter/antimatter reactions, dilithium controls the amount of power generated in the reaction chamber, which produces a steady stream of plasma. Electro-plasma is the main power transfer medium.
An EPS (electro-plasma system) feeds from a warp core on a starship, a fusion reactor on an instillation or starbase, or an impulse reactor on a non-warp spacecraft. Besides the large warp plasma conduits (power transfer conduits), there are smaller plasma conduits, with EPS taps that transfer power as electricity to all subsystems connected to the power transfer grid. If a plasma conduit or EPS tap ruptures, the contents could set off a plasma fire.
A fusion reactor
is an energy generation unit that employs deuterium fuel to yield helium plasma, which is typically used to power the impulse drive or is sent through the secondary EPS system to power other systems.
The impulse engines
(also called impulse drive) is a type of propulsion aboard Federation starships that uses conventional Newtonian reaction to generate thrust. Limited to sublight speeds, the impulse drive is essentially an augmented fusion rocket powered by a fusion reactor.
The intermix chamber
is a major component of a starship's warp core. Its functions include the maintenance and regulation of plasma pressure within the core.
is a large outboard structure that houses a warp-drive engine. The interior of the nacelle is dominated by two rows of massive semi-circular warp-field coils that serve to transform the ship's drive plasma stream into the subspace field that makes faster-than-light speeds possible. The warp coils create a subspace displacement field, which "warps" the space around the vessel allowing it to "ride" on a spatial distortion, and travel faster than the speed of light.Power Transfer Conduit
On a Federation starship, a power transfer conduit (abbreviated PTC) is an advanced type of plasma conduit, used for carrying warp plasma from the vessel's warp core to the drive nacelles. The conduits are magnetically shielded against the superheated warp plasma, and are roughly 0.6 to 1 meter in width.
Along with carrying the warp plasma, the power transfer conduits also contain manifold links to the electro-plasma system (EPS), where electronic energy is bled from the warp plasma in the form of microwaves, providing electrical energy for the vessel.Overview
The warp system aboard a starship is nearly universal throughout the starfaring empires of the galaxy, and the system can be summarized as shown above. Deuterium and it's opposite counterpart, anti-deuterium, are fed from storage tanks to the intermix chamber, where they are combined in a controlled reaction using a dilithium crystal to produce electro-plasma. This plasma is then channeled primarily to the warp nacelles but can also be fed to the electro-plasma system (EPS) and distributed to secondary systems.
Deuterium is also used to fuel the onboard fusion reactors, which produce power for the EPS and the impulse drive, which moves the ship when not at warp. During an emergency, in which the matter/antimatter system is offline but has not caused a warp core breach, the fusion reactors can provide electro-plasma to the warp nacelles, though not at the same rate as the matter/antimatter system.