|Don Davis and Duncan-Enzmann|
The Athodyde has an extraordinarily positive effect on mass ratio. It not only gains fuel from the environment, but burns it much more effectively than any proposed engine at speeds of over 90% 99%, and 99.9% of that of light, and higher. This is why:
At these velocities time dilates (slows down) on a starship. (Read To The Stars for a novel based on this equation) The thermonuclear fission/fusion piles slow and the main drives slow down. To an extent this may be overcome by Engine Ganging. It is imaginable using two, four, eight, sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four, and perhaps even more doublings of energy generation and lance engines; however power plant/engine ganging reaches a limit.
The Athodyde eliminates the need to gang power plants, and to gang engines. The Athodyde’s volume in which hydrogen, deuterium, and other elements are fused is not in the same inertial frame in time at speed of about 99% and above. The volume in which the material gathered by the Athodyde undergoes thermonuclear fusion is in normal space. Energy is produced in normal inertial space and then transformed into momentum in relativistic space.
The Athodyde is operated with the photon scoop such that the scooped fuel is formed into streams. These may be directed against each other in the manner of clashing particle beams – a method of inducing thermonuclear fusion discovered by Rutherford and his colleagues late in the nineteenth century.
Shielding the passengers on a starship from the hard gamma flux and neutrons generated by fusion events in the Athodyde should not be a significant problem. The Athodyde would be used before (in front of) the ship – in effect, towing it. It would therefore shelter the ship from interstellar gases and particles by shunting them into its combustion and/or thrust augmentation (afterburning) chambers. In addition at these speeds gamma rays, neutrons, and almost all other particles would be beamed forward of the ship because of beam topple. Beam topple, or head-lighting, operates upon the coulomb electrostatic field, photon propagation, magnetic fields, and the nuclear field. I adumbrate that it must also operate upon the color forces.
Forcing plasma into the Athodyde’s fusion chamber is beautifully solved by scooping. The particles moving inward would be kinetically heated such that they would reach critical frequencies at which both they and associated thermalized photons would be rammed downward into the combustion chamber as the path of least resistance.
At relativistic speeds, self-pinch acts formidably to constrain plasmas. In a funnel, self-pinch effect may be resonated such that the funnel will feed itself with a self-generated peristaltic traveling wave. Such waves may be generated in plasma vorticies to force fuel down into the reaction volumes to undergo fusion, generating a pulse which operates to gorge the fusion chamber until it generates another pulse.
At relativistic speeds the gamma rays generated by the fusion pulses could be manipulated to further augment scooping and also feeding of fuel into the reaction chamber.
Athodyde reaction chambers might be operated as pulsed fusion devices, traveling waves of plasma undergoing fusion, and/or a chamber in which thermonuclear fusion is continuous in one location.
In an Athodyde it would be simple to rotate beams at relativistic speeds. This would cause charge separation and generate an electrostatic Coulomb gradient. A moving charge generates a magnetic field, and at relativistic speeds, magnetic fields undergo self-pinch. In the funnel of an Athodyde the velocity and self-pinch would induce fusion.
At certain thresholds an Athodyde could cross thresholds which would result in genesis of:
White dwarf plasmas
Meson and baryon plasmas
And very probably quark plasmas
On emerging from the stern port of the Athodyde vortex such plasmas could expand successively, they would press against the magnetic fields of the Athodyde and drive the ship forward.