Warp Field Grid

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Besides the Bussard Ramscoop the Warp Field Grid is the most notable part of a ships warp nacelle. In most nacelle designs the grid runs along the port and starboard sides of the nacelles in line with the field gap in the Warp Field Coils but this is not true for all know nacelles designs. In ship classes like the NX class the nacelles have no field grid and the Warp Nacelles is open with the field gap and part of the Warp Field Coils exposed to space.

In other designs the field grid is not aligned with the field gap. In the Sovereign Class the grid takes up the dorsal surface of the nacelle while in the Defiant Class the field grid takes up the entirety of the aft cap of the nacelle. These two arrangements do not have any negative effects on warp travel as the hull materials do not pose a barrier to the warp field. In designs like these the grid still operates in its secondary role as a photon release point for the visible light that is a by product of the creation of the warp field. This light is what gives the grid the blue glow.

During the development of the Ambassador Class the first Impulse Engine with driver coils was developed. This led to the improved efficiency of the engines. It was determined that older ships in the fleet would be outfitted with driver coils during their scheduled refit layover. Until then a stop gap measure was developed where the Warp Coils would be permanently energized but not to the point of creating a warp filed strong enough to push the ship to warp one even though this would lead to shorter times between scheduled maintenance for the Warp Coils. Tests with USS Ambassador during its space flight trials proved that the low-level subspace filed generated by the drive coils and the Warp Nacelles acted in tandem reducing the stress on both systems and led to a directive from Earth that all ships should use this method to increase system efficiency while not over stressing either the Warp Coils or the driver coils in the Impulse Engine. Under this operating mode the warp grid would continually glow blue as the low-level subspace filed would permanently surround the ship. This would also allow the RCS Thrusters to operate more efficiently due to the apparent lesser mass of the ship.

The warp field grid is composed of six alternating layers of transparent aluminum borosilicate and Lithium-Copper alloy. An outer layer of polyduranium that provides protection from micro-meteoroid abrasion when the Warp Coils are not energized.