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 Post subject: Re: Particle Beams?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:13 am 
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Ethan McKinney wrote:
There are a bunch of things going on in this thread and I'm not even sure what you're question(s) really is (are) at this point.

As far as I could tell, you ruled out charged particle beams early on, so I'm not sure why you're bringing up proton beams here. Almost all of the citations below are for ions, where are seriously different beast (no electronic stoppage being a big one). Now, we know that proton beams "stop" fairly predictably, which is what makes them useful for cancer treatment: they can pass through tissue with little effect and the "burst" in the tumor volume (shades of meson guns...).


Ok To clarify this a bit.
1. I ruled out CHRAGED beams due to beam spread issue problems not damage mechanisms
2. I ruled NEUTRON beams since there is no really good way of making a colimated neutron beam (that I know of)
3. NEUTRAL beams such as hydrogen go through a Charged (accelaration), NEUTRAL (not neutron) flight and finally they become charged once they hit a target and behave like a charged beam.

I have seen a few people conflate NEUTRAL with NEUTRON and I think this is where some of the problems are coming from. You can have NEUTRAL beam without it being a NEUTRON beam.

Ethan McKinney wrote:
http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/program/npb.htm
Unlike the various proton examples, this talks about neutrons and specifies penetrations in meters. Given the rest of the text, it's not clear what type of target they're talking about here. And it certainly indicates "deep." If you're hitting a nuke, yeah, you're going to produce an amazing amount of heat, just because the material is so dense and it's stopping the neutrons so effectively.


Nowhere in that entire article does the word "neutron" appear, nor the word meter, so I'm really curious how you came to this conclusion? The also never define what the word "deep" means. In the context of a nuclear warhead I would assume it would bypass the warhead casing and hit inside, which would be on the order of cm.

They do use the world neutral, and define that as an uncharged hydrogen or deuterium atom.

Ethan McKinney wrote:
A closing comment:

Charged particle beams don't look like very good weapons in AV:T, compared to lasers. They spread too much, so they waste a lot of their penetration ability. They could scrub away layers of armor or damage sensors, but they don't cover a wide enough area for that! Overall, they don't seem to stack up against the lasers.

Neutron beams look as though they have just the problems that Ken described, in terms of game breaking. Relatively low-powered NPBs can have impressive penetration. At the power levels that AV:T weapons use, the "leakage" to tens of meters of depth would be great enough to blow electronics and kill crew (or at least make them the walking dead). Sure, the stuff in front of that might slag, but if you're melting weapons the size of multiple tractor-trailers along with ship structure, the 5%, or even 1%, that slip through are going to be fatal.



Fundamentally the reason a NEUTRAL(not NEUTRON) beam might work is because it doesn't spread as much as a charged beam. In fact, at a handwavy level it should propagate the similar to a "Neuron" beam. And its penetration depth IMO should be on the order of tens of centimeters. Though there are lots of ways to shield against charged particles so it really depends on its travel path through a martial and its initial energy and what nuclei you are using.

Now the below point is not a proposal to change anything (since I'm not too clear on weapon damage still after reading the example) but merely a though experiment as to what it might look like:
So in the game context what I think it might look like: long(er) range compared to lasers, and it would interact with AVT armor in a different way compared to lasers which are a pure surface effect. You could also "hobble" them so they are not game breaking in a variety of ways, energy/heat recharge times, aiming problems etc etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Particle Beams?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:24 pm 
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To get a beam of atoms, you have to accelerate them.

The easy way to accelerate them is to charge them.

Getting the charge OFF of them results in dispersion rate that ranges from about as much as a charged particle beam does. Lasers don't have this problem.

To make something that has a reasonable range, you need to reduce that rate of dispersion by about four orders of magnitude.

To make something that has a range competitive with a laser in AV:T terms, you'll need to probably do about five orders of magnitude.

Fundamentally, the reasons why lasers win out is because photons are very easy to generate, focus, aim, make coherent and otherwise behave in useful ways.

FWIW, you can probably consider the SRLSs a reasonable in-game proxy for a neutral atom beam with magic tech anti-dispersion properties.

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 Post subject: Re: Particle Beams?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:11 am 
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Ken Burnside wrote:
To get a beam of atoms, you have to accelerate them.

The easy way to accelerate them is to charge them.

Getting the charge OFF of them results in dispersion rate that ranges from about as much as a charged particle beam does. Lasers don't have this problem.

Agreed.

And if you hand-wave some technobabble way of accelerating neutral particle beams, the same technobabble mechanism can be used as a defense to ward off such particle beams.

"Muh-hahaha! My gravity-wave accelerator can spray deadly beams of uncharged neutrons at your ship! Your pathetic electrostatic shields are worthless against uncharged neutrons! Prepare to die!"

"True, but my gravity-wave shields can deflect your neutron beams just fine, thank you very much."

"CURSES! Foiled again!"


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 Post subject: Re: Particle Beams?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:33 am 
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Roman Brunecky wrote:
Ethan McKinney wrote:
http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/program/npb.htm
Unlike the various proton examples, this talks about neutrons and specifies penetrations in meters. Given the rest of the text, it's not clear what type of target they're talking about here. And it certainly indicates "deep." If you're hitting a nuke, yeah, you're going to produce an amazing amount of heat, just because the material is so dense and it's stopping the neutrons so effectively.


Nowhere in that entire article does the word "neutron" appear, nor the word meter, so I'm really curious how you came to this conclusion? The also never define what the word "deep" means. In the context of a nuclear warhead I would assume it would bypass the warhead casing and hit inside, which would be on the order of cm.


Your assumption on "deep" seems like a big assumption to me, depending on the target. Proton have shallow penetration because they have charge, so they interact with the electron shells of target material strongly.

I have no basis, but you may be right to suspect that hydrogen penetration would be even worse, given that the nucleus could interact with electron shells and the electrons could interact with the target's electron shells.

Is pulsing needed for a neutral beam to be effective, so that plasma doesn't just stop it short of the target after the initial moment of the hit?

Roman Brunecky wrote:
They do use the world neutral, and define that as an uncharged hydrogen or deuterium atom.


I think that you're right on this.

In any case, it seems to me that there have been adequate answers to the original question on why they don't appear in the game: the dispersion problem is serious, even with neutral particles; the aiming problem is serious; and the penetration, by your argument, is so inferior to AV:T lasers that there is no advantage. By the way, I don't understand why the Air Force 2025 study finds them at all interesting or a useful alternative to lasers. The classified sections might dismiss them completely. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Particle Beams?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:39 pm 
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Ethan McKinney wrote:
Roman Brunecky wrote:
Ethan McKinney wrote:
http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/program/npb.htm
Unlike the various proton examples, this talks about neutrons and specifies penetrations in meters. Given the rest of the text, it's not clear what type of target they're talking about here. And it certainly indicates "deep." If you're hitting a nuke, yeah, you're going to produce an amazing amount of heat, just because the material is so dense and it's stopping the neutrons so effectively.


Nowhere in that entire article does the word "neutron" appear, nor the word meter, so I'm really curious how you came to this conclusion? The also never define what the word "deep" means. In the context of a nuclear warhead I would assume it would bypass the warhead casing and hit inside, which would be on the order of cm.


Your assumption on "deep" seems like a big assumption to me, depending on the target. Proton have shallow penetration because they have charge, so they interact with the electron shells of target material strongly.

I have no basis, but you may be right to suspect that hydrogen penetration would be even worse, given that the nucleus could interact with electron shells and the electrons could interact with the target's electron shells.

Is pulsing needed for a neutral beam to be effective, so that plasma doesn't just stop it short of the target after the initial moment of the hit?


Actually an uncharged hydrogen should penetrate mostly like a charged proton, it will hit something in the outer layers shedding its electron, and then basically should behave like a highly energetic proton. I.e. penetrate to some cm level depth hit its bragg limit and energetically "stop".

As for pulsing, I'm really not sure, I think with the energies involved you could basically get a fairly small "slug" (order micromoles) of particles to do an absurd amount of damage (megajoules).

Ethan McKinney wrote:
In any case, it seems to me that there have been adequate answers to the original question on why they don't appear in the game: the dispersion problem is serious, even with neutral particles; the aiming problem is serious; and the penetration, by your argument, is so inferior to AV:T lasers that there is no advantage. By the way, I don't understand why the Air Force 2025 study finds them at all interesting or a useful alternative to lasers. The classified sections might dismiss them completely. :)

[/quote]

I'm not sure I've said the penetration is inferior to lasers anywhere. The damage mechanism would be different though (i.e. ignore the first few layers of armor and then dump most of its energy behind them). As for the dispersion, I was under the impression the airforce was mainly interested in the neutral beams because of their good dispersion characteristics (this may be relative though). Also if you look at that link I posted as an alternative way to neutralize charged beams this actually looks quite promising in the context of limiting dispersion.

By my limited calculations NPBs should be able to deliver comparable ranges compared to AVT lasers (on the order of 25 AVT hexes). OF course that depends on the focal array size of the AVT lasers (1m? 2m?). And the beam temperature (I'm assuming 1000k). If you get a cooler beam you get less dispersion.

Anyhow.


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