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Thread: Gravity Guns and Solid Slugs.. Will it work?

  1. #1
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    Question Gravity Guns and Solid Slugs.. Will it work?

    I am curious as to whether or not an idea sounds feasible to you guys. I have an idea about creating gun that propels a solid slug down a tube by sling shotting it off of a series of micro gravity generators of slowly increasing intensity. In our current space program it used all the time to propel an object to incredibly high speeds without wasting fuel but I wondered if a similar effect if heavily modified with 24th century technology wmight make an object capable of impulse mimicking speeds within a minimal distance (say, 16-18 feet).

    I think personally that it has a lot of potential. Unlike a rail gun, a gravity based weapon isn't dependant on an object's magnetic properties. Another bonus is that with gravity the more an object weighs the faster an further it will go.. But still I'm curious.

    My other question is one of efffectiveness. Even if it is possible to do this would the fact it is not an energy weapon allow it to peirce shields like they were non-existant? Would modern hulls laugh at the damage the slug would do even if it did hit? I wonder about this so any input would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    I'd think that the power to result ratio would make it undesirable. Still...neat idea.

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    It could almost be the side effect of a singularity powered ship.

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    Correct me if I'm mistaken but I think the Battletech Gauss rifle uses similar technology to propel a slug. Maybe some tech writeups from that game would help you make a sidearm for trek?

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    Thanks guys for the input thus far. The power issue has been a concern of mine as well and I have no clue as to how much it might use. I wouldn't think however that it would be more than say 2-3,500 Terrawatts given that the effect is localized to a slug and that as the slug travels only the generators being used to push the projectile would be powered, but again I'm not sure and could be way off.

    I dunno, I was thinking maybe 20-35 power? The real key is the damage though and if it would ignore shields or not. Any ideas?

  6. #6
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    Also, I thought maybe a little more detail should be in order just to set things straight and give you guys a clearer picture about the game I'm in and what my question relates to.

    See, I'm playing a Federation science officer with a penchant for Anomalized Physics turned Maquis sympathizer in a game where we are currently about 3-5 months from the start of the Dominion Wars. We know it is going to get really nasty but we have no idea as to just how nasty things will be and we are hastily trying to "beef up" our vessel which is a Radier class ship Beta type (I wanted to do a Peregrine class but it was too cramped for 5 players plus NPC's).

    One of the earliest ideas was to obtain a stronger power supply and add either more or stronger weapons to the ship. Another idea we had was to try to build a working slug cannon because we believe it could pass right through the shields and give an enemy crew a nasty surprise (say, 5-10 points of direct damage!). Because I'm the Science officer on board it's my job to figure out if it's feasible.

    I have been brainstorming on this for about two weeks now and I have come up with what was in my first post as the theory for it. Seeing as I have no idea as to whether or not it's been tried before and given that my knowledge of Star Trek is basically what I have seen on TV for the last 6 years I have no clue as to whether or not it can work.. However, if my character (who again is supposed to be a minor physics genius) submits this as an idea and it isn't feasible at all our crew could die as a result so I'm trying to find that out now with some help from you guys.

  7. #7

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    You have shields verses energy weapons and Torpedos as energy/projectile weapons.

    and then you have the deflectors that stop micrometeorites (and larger) from destroying the ship when travelling at warp and impulse speeds... So coverage of anything from maneuvering thrusters through to warp 9. whatever.

    In short, I doubt your slug would have much effect against a starship. Sorry.

    ------------------
    DanG.

    "Hi, I'm Commander Troy McClure, you might remember me from other academy training holo-simulations as, Abandon Ship, the quickest way out, and I sense danger, 101 things you dont need a Betazoid to know..."

    http://www.theventure.freeserve.co.uk

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    Essentialy what your creating is a Rail Gun.

    Instead of using gravity generators the gun uses electro-magnets and a ferrous Slug

    Karg

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    All these worlds are yours, except Europa, which is a wholy owned subsidary of weownthattoo, Inc. (TM)

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    I thought about trying magnetics like the Rail Gun/Gauss Cannon but I have discovered that magnetics is a lost cause. Gravity is superior to Magnetics in almost every conceivable way and I named a few in my first post but I can name some more.

    For one, even with super magnetics the known limits of a magnetically charged object is somewhere around Mach 5 theoretically. Now don't get me wrong, that's fast as crap when it comes to Mech combat or hitting a person or vehicle but not for a ship travelling at 40-95% the speed of light at impulse. Heck, you would hit yourself with your own slug if you were just crawling along at a quarter impulse with that gun!

    Gravity is different. The more you generate the faster an object can travel and at speeds well past Mach. To give an example, the Viking Space Probe that recently left our Solar System was sling shotted off of a quarter of the Earth possible Mass and attained a speed of 70,000 miles an hour upon it's exit! Now imagine using greater gravity at greater closeness and you get an idea of the weapon's potential.

    The other problem is that while any object or organisim is inheritly magnetic, the less magnetically attractive it is the more and more power it takes to move it. I know gravity wells use power too but you can shoot anything with mass through a gravity gun from a french poodle to a hunk of monotanium and if it weighs the same it will travel the same distance at the same speed.

    There are other benefits but they are easier to show than to explain in writing. Oh well, it's an idea, and yes Diamond it's very possible to out-design Starfleet in the waepons department. They tend to be more tree-huggers than warriors when it comes to just about anything but that's what makes them special.

    Also this is for Dan. I know what you mean about the Navigational shielding but at least on Voyager it was proven that solid Matter delivered through a Particle Beam would go straight through the shields so it may be possible to use my idea in conjunction with that and just annhilate a ship before they have a chance to adapt, enery drain be darned!

  10. #10
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    The biggest problem I see with trying to develop a gravity-based weapon is the obvious one: How do you generate the gravity well necessary to utilise such a weapon? In order to be effective, the gravity well is going to need to be large and strong. Planet-size will not be enough (by your example the Viking probe, using a planet to gain speed, only achieved about 0.0001 c - fast, sure, but not really enough to bother a standard starship's deflectors), and you certainly can't carry a planet on board a starship. Therefore, the object generating the gravity needs to be about 2 or 3 solar masses, and rather small - or your average neutron star. Sorry, but no ship - or orbiting facility, or even planet - can cope with that sort of mass in the area, never mind on board.

    The other problem such a weapon would have is targeting. In order to be useful, and effective, the projectile needs to make use of the curvature of space-time created by the gravity well - the "sling-shot" effect. This then requires a large amount of space, as the projectile would be starting its journey at a completely different angle to the one its target is at. Also, the speed of the slug when leaving the weapon will determine its start point - a genlt shot only requires a slight curve, while a full-powered shot would require a hair-pin turn around the gravity well. So, you'll need a very large area in order to allow for that variation in firing angle.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm interested in the idea - I'm just trying to point out that there are various Laws of Physics that you will need to overcome before the weapon can be implemented effectively.

    ------------------
    "...and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters Where God went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes, and Who is this God Person Anyway?"
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    [This message has been edited by Paul (edited 08-23-2001).]

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up

    Another idea I had would be to focus the gravity generated into a tighter "beam" and have it "swish" across the slug as it travels past it like a wiper blade. The idea I have now is to place 4 generators each arranged a across from each other in a cross shape and of equal intensity doing this effect simultaneoulsy as the slug gets to it. After the "push" is completed the generators then deactivate and the shell then passes to the next series of 4 generators which are generating roughly twice the gravity of the previous ones and the process repeats itself over and over again until the shell exits the barrel.

    I too wanted to arrange the the path of travel as a curve shape, or slope. I figured this could be done using a photon torpedo shaft and a Jeffery's tube and arranging it like so:
    __________
    Cannon /__________ <- Photon
    | // Torpedo
    v // <-J. Tube Tube
    __________//
    __________/

    It's pretty crude I know (prolly won't show up right either) but I wanted to give the projectile it should show the sloping shape of travel I'm talking about.. Until of course the slug reached the cannon. All along the way it it would hit series after series of generators and it would get propelled faster and faster. By my best entirely crude and mathematically incompetent reckoning, I may acheive a speed of .18-.21c for a 30-40lb slug and a possible .30-.333421c at 50lbs.. The gains would get even greater based on weight that I know, but given my lack of knowledge of physics I have no idea what may be possible.

    Like I said this thing is much easier to verbally describe than talk about but them's the breaks.

  12. #12
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    Talking

    I figured that diagram wouldn't show up right and I was right. Oh well.

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    <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by dimeboy99:
    Correct me if I'm mistaken but I think the Battletech Gauss rifle uses similar technology to propel a slug. Maybe some tech writeups from that game would help you make a sidearm for trek?</font>
    A guass is a measure of MAGNETIC force. That means the battletech stuff should be magnetically accelerated (i.e. a railgun).

  14. #14
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    Dan is right. We KNOW the shields work on material objects like micrometioroids.

    I like the fact that your characters are using their science and technical skills. You want to encourage that. BUT, a few crewmen won't throw together a better weapon than those produced by all the years of development and thousands of engineers at Starfleet R+D as well as associated civilian technical institutions.

    What you can do is this: let the players modify things not so that they are all around better but rather more appropriate for the current situation they find themselves in. Every change gives them an advantage and a slightly larger disadvantage. For example, if they were up against an enemy with a very high resistance rating, such that their phasers could barely penetrate it, I might allow them to use system engineering (weapons) skill to increase the damage of the phasers... but reducing the phaser's RANGE to enormousely less, pluss less efficient power usage. Thus they can build the tool to save the day in their current adventure, but no one in their right mind would leave the change in place. They didn't out-design Starfleet R+D, they created the right tool for the right job.

  15. #15

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    Here I go, again, the man in the middle of two sides. First, Gauss technology is very predominant is starship weapons, the torpedo launcher used by the Federation IS just that, a gauss cannon. Second, you don't need a large mass to propel something with gravity in Star Trek, Federation tractor beams use gravatron particles to manipulate objects. Now I'm not certain if gravatron particles are the same thing as mass attraction, but they seem to do the same thing.

    Said my peace, and I am now doning body armor...

    Phoenix...

    ------------------
    "Of all the shadows cast in this world, it is my own that I fear the most"
    -Phoenix Merrick 2001

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