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Old 06-12-2009, 07:07 PM
TGElder TGElder is offline
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Post Shields

There have been several questions about shields and their functions. So I thought I would try to explain them so everyone could understand.

The first type of shielding is passive shields:

Deflector screens are engineered to surround the ship with a repulsor field that repels solid matter. The forward deflector dish emits a beam of this energy forward of the ship while it is in flight to "plow the road" ahead of the starship. In keeping with the functions of these types of shields, the Enterprise should not have been impacted by the debris when it entered the debris field at Vulcan. The debris should have been pushed aside by the deflectors. The only possible explanation is that the debris had enough mass and velocity to overcome the shields. This is why torpedoes and missiles can strike the ship even when the shields are raised. A missile or torpedo has sufficient mass and velocity to overwhelm these deflector screens. They are slowed somewhat but it is indiscernable in the overall impact.

The second type of shielding is an active shield which is designed to absorb and diminish the effect of energy weapons. These shields use a technology similar to that which we use in noise cancelling headphones and soundproof rooms. The shields are tuned to the harmonics of the incoming energy and cancel it out. This takes sufficient amounts of energy that when repeated hits are taken they lower the percentage of available shielding to absorb or deflect. Thus shields can be at 23%, because they have expended enough energy, or have burnt out shield arrays.

The third type of shielding is hull plating. The exterior of the ships hull is continously scanned by the sensor grid and all impacts not deflected are repaired by the ship which beams new material into the sight of the impact. This works well to minimize damage from debris impact that might cause a hull rupture.
Polarized hull plating implies the idea that energy like light has a specific reflective angle. Light produces a glare at an angle of 58 degrees. Energizing the hull plating acts like polarized lenses and reflects the incoming energy at the optimun angle to deflect the majority of the impact.

Most of this information was written in Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise. The rest I have extrapolated from viewings of the various episodes and movies, as well as the writings of countless writer's who have written the plethora of Star Trek novels that are now in print.

I'd appreciate any other ideas or thoughts. Perhaps the future writer's might like to (quoting Kirk)"Learn how things work on a starship" before they undertake to write another movie or episode.
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Old 06-13-2009, 03:19 AM
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That active and passive shielding stuff never made it out "Mr. Scott's Guide..." so I never really accepted those ideas. Or at best, they were things that were only in play during the late 23rd-Century.

But there are indeed navigational deflectors that push small objects out of the flight path of a starship, and deflector shields that protect a ship from directed or natural electromagnetic forces.

Polarized hull plating is basically using energy to make the hull of a starship stronger.

Alblative armor is replaceable hull plating designed to crumble away when hit and take the force from an impact away with it.
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:38 AM
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While I understand that shield functions were never clearly explained in any of the movies or episodes. (The writer's relied upon our unreasoning acceptance of shields, and expected that we'd not question how or why they operate). It only stands to reason that there has to be a difference between deflectors and shields. Deflectors should be operational at all times otherwise you risk damage from colliding into objects, or from objects colliding into you.
The question then is "How does a ship with full shields take a direct hit from a photon torpedo and that torpedo blast through the primary hull, like General Chang's strike on the Excelsior in the Undiscovered Country?"
The only reasonable answer is that there has to be different kinds of shields. Those that are designed to stop energy weapons and those that deal with physical impacts.

If the navigational deflector is working on Enterprise, why doe the debris strike the portside nacelle when they enter the debris field at Vulcan?
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TGElder View Post
While I understand that shield functions were never clearly explained in any of the movies or episodes. (The writer's relied upon our unreasoning acceptance of shields, and expected that we'd not question how or why they operate). It only stands to reason that there has to be a difference between deflectors and shields. Deflectors should be operational at all times otherwise you risk damage from colliding into objects, or from objects colliding into you.
Originally, in the second TOS pilot episode, the deflectors originally meant "navigational deflectors" and nothing else. It wasn't until not too long afterward that the term "deflector shield" came into play as being a different type of deflector system (the long-range antenna at the front of the TOS Enterprise's secondary hull became the navigational deflector at that point).

The navigational deflector basically generates a forward forcefield that pushes fairly small objects (like micrometeorites and other space debris) out of the flightpath of a starship. It's implied (though not actually stated) that the navigational deflector is online all time.

Deflector shields--also known simply as shields, or screens, or even defense field--are generally only used whenever the ship is in combat or has encountered an environmental hazard like excess harmful radiation. These are not online all the time because Trek tends to make a show of the captain giving the order to turn them on when the ship is in danger: "Shields up," or "Raise/Energize shields".

Quote:
The question then is "How does a ship with full shields take a direct hit from a photon torpedo and that torpedo blast through the primary hull, like General Chang's strike on the Excelsior in the Undiscovered Country?"
The only reasonable answer is that there has to be different kinds of shields. Those that are designed to stop energy weapons and those that deal with physical impacts.
Not necessarily.

Shields are not 100% failsafe. Indeed, they have been known to fail quite quickly in sections if they are overwhelmed or hit hard enough. In the case of TUC, it was the Enterprise-A that got a torpedo through its saucer section, and it can be argued that its shields were no match for a new model of Klingon photon torpedoes (which would probably be a good reason to retire the Constitution-class if that was the case). Another possibility is that the Enterprise-A's systems were already compromised during the battle with Chang and that the torpedo overwhelmed its overtaxed shields.

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If the navigational deflector is working on Enterprise, why doe the debris strike the portside nacelle when they enter the debris field at Vulcan?
There was a whole thread almost devoted to this in the main movie forum, and quite a few theories have been bandied about ranging from a consequence of blindly dropping out of warp in the middle of a debris field to there being a limit to how much mass the shields can actually deflect at once.
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Old 06-13-2009, 06:37 PM
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I'm sure deflectors would need to have a reasonable limit. But I also don't think that writers and visual effects people use enough known physics in their depiction of the use of shields/deflectors, or even the actual way a ship moves in space.
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TGElder View Post
I'm sure deflectors would need to have a reasonable limit. But I also don't think that writers and visual effects people use enough known physics in their depiction of the use of shields/deflectors, or even the actual way a ship moves in space.
Well once people decided there is sound in space physics is out the window.
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:12 PM
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I liked the silent scenes in the movie. Those space shots were cool. Lucas convinced people that freighters, and star fighters sounded like P51's in space and we've been plagued ever since.:P
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