Lim Jyue (lim_jyue@pacific.net.sg)
Fri, 10 Nov 2000 02:42:45 +0800


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        This is part II of the same set I did up. For those of you who
enjoyed the first, carry on. I hope you have as much fun as I had thinking
all these up.

        Minovsky Drives
        ===============

        As Minovsky particles are actually particles, they cannot pass
through a physical object, but by incresing the density of Minovsky
particles in the I-field, it is possible to create a supportive shell of
particles able to deflect sufficient air to allow a craft to float without
adding any more weight than is absolutely necessary to run the generator.
This is the basis of a Minovsky craft.

        A clearer explanation will be that the craft, by using a
high-density I-field, was able to displace much more air than it weighs,
thus floating on the air much like the way a conventional naval ship has to
displace more water than its tonnage in order to float. However, this has a
few implications:

        1. The I-field must be really dense -- dense enough even to repel
moving air. Although air is relatively light for any Earth-built vehicles,
displacing such a volume of air should make for some interesting localized
weather.

        2. Using such a dense I-field will probably qualify it as a
defensive I-field barrier, which means an ascending or descending
Minovsky-drive vehicle should be nearly immune to ground fire. Whether this
was shown in any Gundam show is unknown.

        3. The power requirements for such a ship, especially in a OYW era,
is enormous. Yet the White Base could continually power the Minovsky drive
while in Earth's atmosphere. This raises the possibility that the Minovsky
drive could have been adapted to serve as an ad hoc I-field barrier.

        I-field Barriers
        ================

        From Minovsky Drives, we move on to the more infamous I-field (made
infamous by me, at any rate. =).

        The I-field barrier could be seen as an outgrowth of the Minovsky
Drive principle, because they essentially forms an I-field shell around the
craft that is carrying the generator. However, if we absolutely have to rate
the I-field densities between a barrier and a drive, the barrier field
probably has a higher density than a drive field. This density is probably
just a step under the critical density needed for mega-particle generation.

        As mentioned earlier, I-field barriers could deflect mega-particle
weapons, which means that these barriers are truely unique. I once mentioned
the following possibility:

        Given that defensive I-fields have a higher density of Minovsky particles
(which means that the lattice of particles are tighter, and the particles
are physically closer together), this will mean a lot of energy is needed to
compress the field into aforementioned density in order to block
mega-particle weapons.

        Does this mean that with more energy into the I-field, the charged
Minovsky particles in the defensive I-field may fuse into mega-particles,
and change into an offensive weapon?

        Mark Simmons postulated the following:

        I suspect that the ability of the I-field barrier to deflect beam
weapons may, in fact, be due to incoming beam attacks triggering fusion
among the particles that make up the barrier - creating an equal and
opposite blast in the other direction. Never found confirmation of this, though.

        Leslie_R, however, mentioned that deflected beam weapons are not
reflected from a I-field barrier:

        It can't break the barrier because it doesn't work that way.. beam
weapons don't strike the I-field bubble and dissipate their energy into the
field like Beam barriers/shields do, they follow the path of least
resistance and flow around the target protected by the field..

        The beam merely slides around the barrier, which means the above
theory didn't exactly fit the observed effects of a beam shield. Here's an
updated theory:

        When a beam shot hits a dense I-field barrier, the energy imparted by
leading mega-particles compress the leading I-field edge sufficiently such
that the paricles there combined into mega-particles, imparting a motion
vector to the remaining beam. This will shift the beam off target, and the
effect will be repeated as more of the beam comes into contact with the
barrier. The final effect, should the barrier hold, is that the beam is
imparted a sum-total vector that will send the beam deflecting off the
barrier, while the barrier has lost some of its Minovsky particles due to
the mega-particle expulsion.
        
        In effect, this is similar to stabbing a drill bit to a smooth metal
ball. The drill bit will more than likely bounce off the ball, but at the
same time it will gouge a trench out from the ball.

        Hence, anytime a barrier deflects a beam shot, the barrier loses
some Minovsky particles, Since Minovsky particles are short-lived particles
to begin with, this meant the craft carrying the I-field barrier must
continuously maintain the I-field, or risk losing the protection totally.

        How does this translate in practical terms? Well, an I-field barrier
generator needs to generate lots of Minovsky particles in a short time,
which could means two things:

        1. The Minovsky particles are stored in advanced -- via E-cap system
-- and released gradually.
        
        2. The reactor is pumping out Minovsky particles particularly quickly.

        In the Gundam world, it's probably a combination of both. Of
particular interest here is (2). To appreciate this, we first look back at
the generation of the Minovsky particle.

        1 Helium-3 molecule is fused with 1 Hydrogen molecule to produce 1
proton and 1 Helium-4 molecule. The Helium-4 is probably stored and used as
propellant, (meaning the MSes could be carrying more propellant than
otherwise indicated) and the proton is a problem, but not severely.

        The key thing here is that we do not know how many Minovsky
particles are produced per reaction. For simplicity, I will assume that each
reaction will produce 1 Minovsky particle.

        Back to our reactor. In order to pump out charged Minovsky particles
to create the I-field barrier, the reactor must have 2 things: first, more
reactions, second, large amounts of electricity -- which isn't a problem.
However, to have more reactions than a standard MS reactor, the reactor must
be specially built to do that.

        In other words, a dedicated reactor for a I-field barrier is
probably similar to a Minovsky-Ionesco fusion bomb design -- designed to
consume large amounts of fuel quickly and produce large amounts of energy
and Minovsky particles quickly.

        This has some very interesting consequences:

        First, the reactor is hot -- very hot. Coolant problems will be the
main thing restricting the use of I-field barriers.

        Second, the stuff about the power requirements of an I-field barrier
is probably nonsense. The I-field generator reactor is generating lots of
reaction to create Minovsky particles, but at the same time it's also
generating lots of power. I think an I-field equipped craft is more
interested in getting rid of the excess power -- which generate heat -- than
needing it.

        Third, the excess Minovsky particles produced -- those not
immediately needed by the barrier anyway -- could be stored somehow (OYW --
precessor of E-caps, post-OYW -- E-caps), or recycled for use in beam
weapons straight away. Which in turns imply that most I-field barrier
equipped crafts will be armed with beam weaponry, probably of high outputs.

        Also, this means that the barrier equipped craft will be very good
as a EWAC craft, since it's already pumping out so much Minovsky particles.

        Forth, the effectiveness of an I-field barrier not only depends on
how dense the I-field is, but also on how fast the reactor can replenish
lost Minovsky particles.

        In retrospect, the development of I-field barriers by Zeon is
probably the impetus for the development of E-caps, since there is a real
need for storage of Minovsky particles by barriers.

        A good question is this: If I-fields are charged particles and
cannot pass through solid objects, why can projectile weapons and MSes get
within an I-field?

        The answer is really simple: they can't. But they can bash their way
through an I-field. Hence, every time a projectile weapon, MS or unfriendly
asteroid comes flashing through an I-field, the object tears large holes in
the I-field, which the reactors must rapidly repair. This also explains why
the dense I-field barrier doesn't simply penetrate through the I-field
plasma containment barrier of the other MS and disrupt it fatally.

        Now, when we apply this idea to reel-life MAs, we will see a few
things that will correspond to the above ideas. Of particular interest is
the Byg Zam, which, as Leslie_R puts it:

        If beam-weapons are beam weapons then why aren't you convinced that an
I-field defense bubble can absolutely protect against mega-particle weapons
when Douzel Zabi can charge into the teeth of the Federation armada without
even scratching the paint?

        Which raises an interesting question about the Byg Zam. If it could
survive a barrage of capital ship guns, it implies that the I-field barrier
is way stronger than our theory suggests. Mark Simmons did offer a clue to
this problem though:

        In fact, the Byg Zam is supposed to run on _four_ warship reactors - and
that's to generate a field to protect something that's just 60 meters long.
        
        Now, there's a possible answer. The Byg Zam is supposed to have ran
on four warship-class reactors, which, even if they individually don't kick
out sufficient Minovsky particles, their combined output should be more
sufficient to run the I-field barrier. In fact, the Byg Zam is probably
over-equipped for the I-field, meaning that its barrier can be repaired and
reinforced much faster than other I-field barrier. This enables it to run
"into the teeth of the Federation armada without even scratching the paint".

        The puzzling point is the coolant part. The Byg Zam is said to be
able to run its barrier for only 15-20 minutes due to coolant problems. My
explanation for this is that the Byg Zam probably has to redline its
reactors to run the barriers and weapons, and as such needed extra coolant
to cope with the extra heat generated.

-------------
Lim Jyue
ICQ: 24737555

I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.
Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God's business.

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