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PSA: Nuclear engine overheating


THX1138
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Yeah, that looks very cool already. :) Bigger wing sections seem better at heat radiation. If this thing overheats, you could use something bigger, and keep the part count same as before. I think it will do well , though, like I mentioned earlier large fuel tanks are good at absorbing a lot of heat( bad at radiating). Let us know how it performs in vacuum, I really should start some tests outside of the atmosphere.

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Would look even better if the wing parts would start to glow :) though I'm not sure it'll push them that high.
Totally agree. :)
Like the guy on page 2 also said, sry typing on mobile, NTR systems dissipated heat via fuel flow when running under thrust and for startup/cooldown.

Bimodal system indeed needed radiators due to no fuel flow.

So I find it rather duff we need to use radiators for normal operation. Which is totally compared to how, from my knowledge, most NTRs functioned.

tbh, I'm happy to gloss over that considering this is actually interesting engineering. Spacecraft in vacuum need heat radiators anyway but KSP doesn't model heat from sources like simply making sure your astronauts are comfy.
Yeah, that looks very cool already. :) Bigger wing sections seem better at heat radiation. If this thing overheats, you could use something bigger, and keep the part count same as before. I think it will do well , though, like I mentioned earlier large fuel tanks are good at absorbing a lot of heat( bad at radiating). Let us know how it performs in vacuum, I really should start some tests outside of the atmosphere.
I'll let you know in about 10~12 hours, I gots ta get paid. :P Edited by regex
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Every single one of my capital ships is broken due to the overheating. :'( I could add 30 fins to each engine which would up to part count by 240 - 360.

Even without the overheating their acceleration and dV has been lowered massively by the higher weight.

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Every single one of my capital ships is broken due to the overheating. :'( I could add 30 fins to each engine which would up to part count by 240 - 360.

Even without the overheating their acceleration and dV has been lowered massively by the higher weight.

I ... hate to say this ... who am I kidding, I don't, this update owns ... but 1.0 may require you to rebuild your craft. ;)
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I ... hate to say this ... who am I kidding, I don't, this update owns ... but 1.0 may require you to rebuild your craft. ;)

I don't mind rebuilding things (I actually enjoy it), but now I can't use LV-Ns full stop. I am getting much higher dV and thrust from just using chemical engines though so that could work.

The part intensive heat sinks aren't an option. Where in 0.90 I could run 500 parts, now my PC is barely running 250 so I'm having to lower part counts to run it.

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I wonder if the whole heat-generating thing wasn't simply too much.

It introduces an unnecessary level of complication that adds little to the game. I mean, its not like anyone that I'm aware of asked for a random mechanism that stopped stuff working and messed up engines.

I'd be happier if the default was that it was off or tuned low and have the ability to turn it up to the current level as a hardcore option.

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I wonder if the whole heat-generating thing wasn't simply too much.

It introduces an unnecessary level of complication that adds little to the game. I mean, its not like anyone that I'm aware of asked for a random mechanism that stopped stuff working and messed up engines.

I'd be happier if the default was that it was off or tuned low and have the ability to turn it up to the current level as a hardcore option.

I like heat generation. Its a major aspect of spaceflight so deserves to be included. However is heat is being added we need a solution for it (aka radiators)

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I wonder if the whole heat-generating thing wasn't simply too much.

It introduces an unnecessary level of complication that adds little to the game. I mean, its not like anyone that I'm aware of asked for a random mechanism that stopped stuff working and messed up engines.

I'd be happier if the default was that it was off or tuned low and have the ability to turn it up to the current level as a hardcore option.

Wow, just ... I really love the heat mechanic. It adds a whole new layer of interesting game design. Its something new and untested, and it it flawlessly compliments the reentry heat.Heat management is a real problem for spacecraft.

Suddenly the cards have been shuffled again. Old designs have problems, and we have to figure things anew. I saw too many forums posts to the tune of "bored now, done everything, what now". Well, we have just been handed a whole new area to play with! I really tip my hat to the Squad that they have managed to hammer the whole heat system in just one update.

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Wow, just ... I really love the heat mechanic. It adds a whole new layer of interesting game design. Its something new and untested, and it it flawlessly compliments the reentry heat.Heat management is a real problem for spacecraft.

Suddenly the cards have been shuffled again. Old designs have problems, and we have to figure things anew. I saw too many forums posts to the tune of "bored now, done everything, what now". Well, we have just been handed a whole new area to play with! I really tip my hat to the Squad that they have managed to hammer the whole heat system in just one update.

Couldn't have said it better. This is a seriously fresh update that needed to happen. I haven't been so giddy about stock since I started playing the game.
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I like heat generation. Its a major aspect of spaceflight so deserves to be included. However is heat is being added we need a solution for it (aka radiators)

Only the whole thing is, NERVA's never used radiator when the engine was running!

The fuel, liquid H2, was the engines coolant and the reactor ran at a steady GW output, where the fuel initially cools the reactor before it's becoming hot enough to become the propellant.

So a higher GW reactor needed a greater fuel flow.

Needing radiators in order to run a NERVA, like we now presumably need to, is rather ridiculous. In my opinion.

But if we are going to talk about Bimodal systems, where the reactor runs in power generation mode (10% of GW outpout), then I'm good with needing radiators. As a Brayton* generator can not convert all heat to ec anyway.

Edited by Gkirmathal
typos and incompleteness
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That sounds rather interesting. Make the Nervas radiators themselves, but only when on. This could also cause a massive failure if suddenly turned off (no longer venting heat)?

They actually radiate alot of the heat by themselves. Just not enough.

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I don't believe community that actively researched Kraken Drive will be unable to figure out how to run LV-N's without causing the meltdown :) I'm sure there is optimal combination of skilled engineers, improvised heatsinks and radiators to let us utilise those engines to their full potential. And if not, SQUAD will add proper radiator parts in nearsest update - they are not mean after all :)

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I'm sure there is optimal combination of skilled engineers, improvised heatsinks and radiators to let us utilise those engines to their full potential. And if not, SQUAD will add proper radiator parts in nearsest update - they are not mean after all :)

And that should not be needed, as the liquid fuel should be the heat conductor/coolant while the engine is running full throttle, not a 'radiator'.

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TBH I echo the poster that said that LV-N should cool down when providing thrust, since that most ( not all, though ) RL nuke engines proposals would use the propellant as the reactor cooler...

That said, in general we should have radiator parts, period. It does not make sense to have heat mechanics for space ships without taking in account that, for all proposes , ships are thermally insulated while in space besides radiation exchanges, and thus , they cool down very slowly...

Edited by r_rolo1
My engrish is particularly bad today :P
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Having to add 24 additional parts to every nuclear engine just so it can operate as intended is goofy. I use nuclear tugs to move around complex payloads, and the part counts already make things so laggy that it's no fun.

THIS!!!

Nuke engines are meant for long burns. Having to throttle down increasing the burn time, is crazy! They are slow as it is. And as said above, adding many extra parts to get them to work is also crazy.

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Havent managed to play due to work. But I find it odd it needs radiators when under thrust.... :S

Like the guy on page 2 also said, sry typing on mobile, NTR systems dissipated heat via fuel flow when running under thrust and for startup/cooldown.

Bimodal system indeed needed radiators due to no fuel flow.

So I find it rather duff we need to use radiators for normal operation. Which is opposite to how, from my knowledge, most NTRs functioned.

Yes. Nuclear engines actually run at temperatures LOWER than chemical engines. The only reason they can get great Isp when operating at these low temperatures is because hydrogen (the propellant NERVA was designed to use) has such a low molecular weight.

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I wonder if the whole heat-generating thing wasn't simply too much.

It introduces an unnecessary level of complication that adds little to the game. I mean, its not like anyone that I'm aware of asked for a random mechanism that stopped stuff working and messed up engines.

I'd be happier if the default was that it was off or tuned low and have the ability to turn it up to the current level as a hardcore option.

I agree. i'm gonna play at 50% reentry heat (dunno if that reduces vessel heat too, but s'worth a try). I was never really crazy about heat (reentry or otherwise) anyways. Also, rl nukes had some kind of internal insulation system that didn't require 1000 wings.

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Yes. Nuclear engines actually run at temperatures LOWER than chemical engines. The only reason they can get great Isp when operating at these low temperatures is because hydrogen (the propellant NERVA was designed to use) has such a low molecular weight.
Incorrect. NTRs run very hot, much hotter than conventional chemical engines. Here's a convenient source I found which is generally trustworthy.
The simplest of nuclear thermal rockets, solid core reactors are limited by the melting point of the materials used in the reactor cores. The solid core design needs to be constructed of materials that remain strong at as high a temperature as possible. Nuclear reactions can create much higher temperatures than the temperatures the materials can withstand, meaning that much of the potential of the reactor for very high temperatures is sacrificed. Even more limiting is the cracking of fuel coatings due to the large temperature ranges (from 22 K up to 3000 K over the length of a 1.3 m fuel rod), and the necessity of matching coefficients of expansion in all the components.
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Incorrect. NTRs run very hot, much hotter than conventional chemical engines.

Your source says the fuel rods in the NTR may get as hot as 3000 Kelvin. The Space Shuttle Main Engine combustion chamber can get as hot as 3588 Kelvin.

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