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Macross technology: it's a matter of weight...


Professor Dire
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I noticed that most of the "Overtechnology" based vehicles are surprisingly lightweight for the volume they occupy.  For example the VF-1 series weigh 18 tons fueled, and loaded.  The Spartan weighs in at 30 tons.  For the size of these machines they should probably weigh in at double or more.  A real world example is the venerable F-14 which weighs 20 tons.  The F-14 doesn't transform or have thermonuclear engines.  Even if the VF-1 was literally an F-14 with arms,  said arms would weigh 2-3 tons each.

Macross is by no means a sole offender.  Dougram, and Gundam often have rediculously light mecha for their size, Gundam's many variant timelines especially.

Edited by Professor Dire
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The crash of the ASS-1 didn't just leap electronics and fusion powerplants and rocket engines forward. There are also overtechnology MATERIALS, like hypercarbon(which is not carbon).

By all appearances, these overmaterials are both stronger and lighter than anything we have, driving the weight of everything down while at the same time making it all far tougher.

 

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That makes sense.  Just think how much the MAC-II would weigh using modern materials.  With overtechnology alloys, it has a mass of 187 tons(m).

I always wondered back in the 80's and 90's if the inertia driver tech was used in human technology for the big kids like the MAC, but the source materials say otherwise.  It is likely being used some in the transforming battleships found in the later series like 7, F, etc.

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3 hours ago, Professor Dire said:

That makes sense.  Just think how much the MAC-II would weigh using modern materials.  With overtechnology alloys, it has a mass of 187 tons(m).

I always wondered back in the 80's and 90's if the inertia driver tech was used in human technology for the big kids like the MAC, but the source materials say otherwise.  It is likely being used some in the transforming battleships found in the later series like 7, F, etc.

Aside from using overtechnology materials, the Macross-type ships have a gravity control system so that they can stay upright in Attack Mode without falling apart.

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According to one of my friends (who is in reality a physicist, chemist, and Nuclear Engineer), the mecha we see in macross are at the limits of what modern materials could build with any regard to durability. This is in accordance with the square cube law.

Now if you use lightweight (read: high strength, low density, [a misnomer since weight is a function of mass and gravity]) materials which allow larger and larger structures to be built while keeping the volumetric and surface area ratios closer longer, then the whole universe makes a bit more sense.

I'm neither a physicist, nor an engineer, so forgive me if this was cumbersome or made no sense.

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Makes sense to me. Simple version: 

The square-cube law is math(geometry, specifically). If you have an object and scale it up, the interior volume of that object increases much faster than the exterior "skin"(specifically, the skin increases with the square of the size, while the insides increase with the cube of the size, hence the law's name). Thus, you can't just make a small thing bigger without changing it, because it gets heavier faster than it gets bigger. With the same materials and techniques, the supporting skeleton takes up an increasing proportion of your space as the object gets bigger.

Thus, there are limits to how big you can get with a given set of materials and skills.

Super-simple version: Bigger things weigh more, and they get heavy faster than they get big.

 

 

 

Bonus tangent: The square-cube law is ALSO why the zentradi are super-unrealistic. They are just too big to be humanoid. Their heart would be unable to move blood to their head, and their legs would collapse under the weight of their bodies. Elephants and giraffes have a lot of specialized anatomy to make their hugeness work. But if a zentradi's biology was different enough from a human's to allow them to survive at that size, it would ALSO be too different to allow them to interbreed with humans.

Note that Klan provides a partial excuse to this issue, as she demonstrates clearly that zentradi biology IS quite different when micloned than when full-size. But it is difficult to imagine organic structures that could sustain a thirty-foot humanoid, much less ones that would also be genetically compatible with humans. Biology doesn't readily benefit from overtechnology in the same way that mechanical engineering does. You can't just make a creature grow bones out of hypercarbon and call it a day.

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On ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2016 at 4:50 PM, Professor Dire said:

I noticed that most of the "Overtechnology" based vehicles are surprisingly lightweight for the volume they occupy.  For example the VF-1 series weigh 18 tons fueled, and loaded.  The Spartan weighs in at 30 tons.  For the size of these machines they should probably weigh in at double or more.  A real world example is the venerable F-14 which weighs 20 tons.  The F-14 doesn't transform or have thermonuclear engines.  Even if the VF-1 was literally an F-14 with arms,  said arms would weigh 2-3 tons each.

Macross is by no means a sole offender.  Dougram, and Gundam often have rediculously light mecha for their size, Gundam's many variant timelines especially.

Your observation is absolutely true, because Producer Kawamori designed the original VF-1 to be 25% smaller than it should be. And likely the mass reduced in proportion. Designer Tenjin mentioned this was a major difficulty in making the 1/1 scale VF-1 cockpit, as it was originally designed someone like Roy Fokker could not physically fit inside. The VF-0 was designed to be actually the size and mass that would be realistically possible, and there is a noticeable difference compared to the VF-1.

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On 12/27/2016 at 2:50 AM, Professor Dire said:

I noticed that most of the "Overtechnology" based vehicles are surprisingly lightweight for the volume they occupy.  For example the VF-1 series weigh 18 tons fueled, and loaded.  The Spartan weighs in at 30 tons.  For the size of these machines they should probably weigh in at double or more.  A real world example is the venerable F-14 which weighs 20 tons.  The F-14 doesn't transform or have thermonuclear engines.  Even if the VF-1 was literally an F-14 with arms,  said arms would weigh 2-3 tons each.

Macross is by no means a sole offender.  Dougram, and Gundam often have rediculously light mecha for their size, Gundam's many variant timelines especially.

Yeah, that's super-alloys for ya... Macross is no different from Gundam or most other mecha shows in that the ships and mecha are made from advanced composite materials and alloys that significantly exceed the performance of modern materials.  If they were made out of modern materials, they'd be much heavier.  

Some other forms of overtechnology, like thermonuclear reaction engines, are key players in helping to keep the operating mass of a mecha down.  The Grumman F-14D carried 7,350kg of jet fuel in its 9,100L-capacity internal tanks, and that was enough to give it a combat radius of about 925km from its home carrier or base.  Because it's using hydrogen slush as fuel for two gravitationally-moderated fold reactors, the VF-1's more modest 1,410L fuel capacity weighed only 119.9kg and the high-efficiency reactor makes that fuel last much MUCH longer.

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Also when you consider that Hydrogen is most volatile (you can't fuse liquid hydrogen, as of our understanding of physics ATM, nor can you burn it) in it's gaseous state, you have to allow the hydrogen to heat and expand before you can react it. This means that a variable fighter carries it's fuel in a very efficient manner, and effectively carries far more fuel than conventional fighters do. 

Thermonuclear Reaction Turbine Engines (Which I will abbreviate as TRTE, for ease), from my understanding are very similar in layout to a conventional jet engine. The difference is how the fuel is reacted in the chamber. In a TRTE, instead of fuel being burned, it is squeezed through manipulation of gravity until the Hydrogen atoms fuse and release energy. Essentially you create a miniature star in the burner can. 

We know that stars generate incredible amounts of energy, and that Hydrogen is a very efficient fuel for TN reactions. This will mean that given 6-8 of these tiny stars in the reaction chambers of the engine, will generate much more power than a conventional jet engine. This also means that equivalent amounts of fuel have much different power potentials. 

Which will contribute to higher engine output and thus higher performance. Coupled with lighter weight materials results in the figures we see associated with macross publications.

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6 hours ago, Valkyrie Driver said:

Thermonuclear Reaction Turbine Engines (Which I will abbreviate as TRTE, for ease), from my understanding are very similar in layout to a conventional jet engine. The difference is how the fuel is reacted in the chamber. In a TRTE, instead of fuel being burned, it is squeezed through manipulation of gravity until the Hydrogen atoms fuse and release energy. Essentially you create a miniature star in the burner can.

Very close, but with one small correction... the reactor is inside the part of the engine analogous to the burner can in a conventional jet turbine, but the reaction itself is isolated from engine airflow.  Plasma from the reaction chamber can be introduced into the airflow downstream of the reactor to further heat the air flowing through the engine and produce more thrust though.

There is, however, some (possibly accidental) truth-in-television in the way the energy of the reaction is harnessed.  The reactor produces electrical power in two ways: with an OTM-based thermoelectric generator and a magnetohydrodynamic generator.  Special carbon allotropes like graphene have been confirmed to have exceptionally high Seebeck coefficients, more than thirty times better than Selenium and are also extremely strong, making them ideal for a high-stress application like a thermoelectric generator inside of a jet turbine.

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On 12/30/2016 at 11:23 PM, Seto Kaiba said:

Some other forms of overtechnology, like thermonuclear reaction engines, are key players in helping to keep the operating mass of a mecha down.  The Grumman F-14D carried 7,350kg of jet fuel in its 9,100L-capacity internal tanks, and that was enough to give it a combat radius of about 925km from its home carrier or base.  Because it's using hydrogen slush as fuel for two gravitationally-moderated fold reactors, the VF-1's more modest 1,410L fuel capacity weighed only 119.9kg and the high-efficiency reactor makes that fuel last much MUCH longer.

 

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On 12/31/2016 at 2:28 PM, Valkyrie Driver said:

Also when you consider that Hydrogen is most volatile (you can't fuse liquid hydrogen, as of our understanding of physics ATM, nor can you burn it) in it's gaseous state, you have to allow the hydrogen to heat and expand before you can react it. This means that a variable fighter carries it's fuel in a very efficient manner, and effectively carries far more fuel than conventional fighters do. 

Thermonuclear Reaction Turbine Engines (Which I will abbreviate as TRTE, for ease), from my understanding are very similar in layout to a conventional jet engine. The difference is how the fuel is reacted in the chamber. In a TRTE, instead of fuel being burned, it is squeezed through manipulation of gravity until the Hydrogen atoms fuse and release energy. Essentially you create a miniature star in the burner can. 

We know that stars generate incredible amounts of energy, and that Hydrogen is a very efficient fuel for TN reactions. This will mean that given 6-8 of these tiny stars in the reaction chambers of the engine, will generate much more power than a conventional jet engine. This also means that equivalent amounts of fuel have much different power potentials. 

Which will contribute to higher engine output and thus higher performance. Coupled with lighter weight materials results in the figures we see associated with macross publications.

anp-ic-2.jpg

Before ICBMs were practical, the U.S. and Soviets experimented with nuclear powered aircraft.  As fission designs, they were a lot more bulky compared to what hydrogen fusion would be.

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1 hour ago, Devil 505 said:

Before ICBMs were practical, the U.S. and Soviets experimented with nuclear powered aircraft.  As fission designs, they were a lot more bulky compared to what hydrogen fusion would be.

Those interested in reading about more modern, fusion-based real world theoretical studies in fusion-based turbine engines may find NASA/CR-2005-213749 "Advanced Energetics for Aeronautical Applications: Volume II" an interesting read.  The document is public and can be obtained through NASA's STI Program Office website (http://www.sti.nasa.gov)

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16 hours ago, Seto Kaiba said:

Those interested in reading about more modern, fusion-based real world theoretical studies in fusion-based turbine engines may find NASA/CR-2005-213749 "Advanced Energetics for Aeronautical Applications: Volume II" an interesting read.  The document is public and can be obtained through NASA's STI Program Office website (http://www.sti.nasa.gov)

I always wondered why we never saw refueling tankers (except for Macross Zero since they were still conventional turbofans) until I read the part about a fusion powered aircraft having the range of about 2.8 times the circumference of the Earth per pound of fuel.

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4 hours ago, Devil 505 said:

I always wondered why we never saw refueling tankers (except for Macross Zero since they were still conventional turbofans) until I read the part about a fusion powered aircraft having the range of about 2.8 times the circumference of the Earth per pound of fuel.

If you look closely, some appeared in background scenes in SDFM - specifically on the Zentraadi side.  The one in the following link (with low grade screen caps) is described in Macross Perfect Memory as an 'Automatic Resupply Craft' (自動補給機):  http://ptn.home.xs4all.nl/AircraftAux/zen_Tanker.html

Why would they need such a vehicle?  Refuel the Rigaado (Regult) Battle Pods when they're flying in space (the aforementioned range of 2.8 times the circumference of the Earth per pound of fuel is for flight within an atmosphere, using air to create thrust, right?  What do they use as the mass thrown out the rear of the engine in outer space to provide thrust?)

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7 hours ago, Devil 505 said:

I always wondered why we never saw refueling tankers (except for Macross Zero since they were still conventional turbofans) until I read the part about a fusion powered aircraft having the range of about 2.8 times the circumference of the Earth per pound of fuel.

Yeah, the VF-1 Valkyrie's pretty small for a VF and its onboard fuel supply is supposedly good for approximately 700 hours of continuous flight operations (meaning the burn rate is around 0.28ml/s per engine).

It's another matter in space, where the plasma from the reaction replaces air as a propellant and thus the engine consumes that same amount of fuel in about six and a half minutes at sustained maximum thrust.

 

 

2 hours ago, sketchley said:

Why would they need such a vehicle?  Refuel the Rigaado (Regult) Battle Pods when they're flying in space (the aforementioned range of 2.8 times the circumference of the Earth per pound of fuel is for flight within an atmosphere, using air to create thrust, right?  What do they use as the mass thrown out the rear of the engine in outer space to provide thrust?)

Hm... I didn't know that there was an identified tanker craft.  The only mention of tankers that I was aware of, besides the usage of Lockheed's S-3 Viking with the buddy pod system in Macross Zero was a mistranslation in the English dub of Macross II: Lovers Again's first episode, that had the Mardook equivalent of the Quiltra Queleual-class LST referred to as a "tanker" in passing.

I can't imagine the Regult carries more than a few hundred liters of fuel, so a tanker would definitely be necessary for extended operations in space... since they're bleeding plasma off the reactor to use as propellant.

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