The impulse engine is the main sublight propulsion system in use on Star Fleet vessels. The engine is powered by a deuterium fusion reaction within the engines reactor chamber. These engines can provide power for the ships systems along with propulsion.
During the early design of the Ambassador class it quickly became evident that the standard design that had been in use since the early days of the Federation would not be able to provide the required acceleration for the new class of heavy cruiser. The solution was to include Impulse Driver Coils in the updated engine design allowing for greater thrust by decreasing the apparent mass of the ship.
Liquid deuterium is housed immediate use deuterium tanks constructed of alternating parallel/biased layers of force-matrix cortanium 2378 and stainless steel that were gamma-welded together. The deuterium is pumped into the immediate use tanks from the primary storage tank. Fuel flow between the immediate use tanks, the primary tank, and the impulse reaction chamber by means of the fuel supply lines and the deuterium is moved through the fuel lines by magnetic-peristaltic fuel pumps.
Impulse Reaction Chamber (IRC)
The Liquid deuterium is passed through the fuel conditioner that heats the liquid via induction loops into a gaseous state before passing into the Impulse Reaction Chamber (IRC). IRC is a sphere constructed of eight layers of dispersion-strengthened hafnium excelinide gamma welded together. The center layer of the wall of the IRC is composed of neodymium-iron-boron alloy. When this layer is energized with energy drawn from the EPS system is creates a magnetic field that suspends the deuterium gas in the center of the IRC. This squeezes the gas to near fusion conditions. The third layer is a replicable inner layer of crystalline gulium fluoride with a thickness of 40 cm.
During operation of the IRC, four neodymium-YAG (Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet) Lasers fire in to the suspended and compressed deuterium gas igniting the fusion reaction. The fusion reaction is achieved at 15 keV generating plasma consisting primarily Helium three, trace amounts of tritium along with neutrons and other subatomic particles. Excessive heat is dissipated via dual regenerative liquid nitrogen loops.
The high-energy plasma crated within the IRC is exhausted through a magnetic control valve into the Accelerator/Generator (A/G). The A/G is cylindrical in shape and constructed of an integral single-crystal polyduranium frame and pyrovunide exhaust accelerator. During propulsion operations, the accelerator is active, raising the velocity of the plasma and passing it on to the Driver Coil Assembly. The exhaust accelerator is a single machined cylinder of pyrovunide. The inner surface of the cylinder is shaped into ridges during the machining of the cylinder. When the plasma is introduced into the accelerator the outer surface of the plasma stream interacts with the inner surface of the pyrovunide resulting in the pyrovunide to generate a EM field. The ridges machined into the pyrovunide result in EM field flux that interacts with the plasma stream resulting in increased momentum of the plasma stream.
When operating only to generate energy the A/G is inactive and the plasma is diverted to the EPS taps for distribution though out the EPS system via a single stage magnetohydrodynamic (MHD)field trap. The excess exhaust products vented through the Vectored Exhaust non-propulsively. While operating in the combined mode power part of the plasma exhaust is diverted to the EPS system via the MHD while the reaming plasma is passed into the accelerator prior to entering the Driver Coil Assembly.
Driver Coil Assembly (DCA)
The third stage of the impulse engine is the Driver Coil Assembly or DAC. The DAC is comprised of six split toroids manufactured from verterium Cortenide 934. When the accelerated plasma is driven through the DAC creates a low-level subspace field. This field is not of sufficient strength to drive the ship beyond the light barrier but will have the effect of reducing the apparent mass of the ship. This field also facilitates the slippage of the continuum past the ship. The combination of these two affects allows the impulse engines to propel the ship forward at greater speeds than would be possible without the DAC installed.
Vectored Exhaust Director (VED)
The final stage of the impulse engine is the Vectored Exhaust Director or VED. The VED consists of a series of movable vanes channels constructed of kerigerium and designed to expel the exhaust products in a controlled manner. The VED is capable of Steerable propulsive and non-propulsive modes.
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