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[1.12.x] Kerbal Atomics: fancy nuclear engines! (January 22, 2022)


Nertea
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On 11/11/2019 at 1:39 PM, Domspace said:

Hello

First, thanks for this great mod! But i cant activate the Cooling of the Liberator Engine and stock radiators aren't working for this engine.

 

 

Edit: Apparently some engines dont have this feature but are there any values how much cooling i need?

The Near Future system manager doesnt recognize the engine

Tip for using the NFE reactors is to go in and set the power level to 0 in the reactor controls or very low if its a trimodal reactor to let it make power. When you throttle up the engines it will automatically max the power lvl and then drop it back down to what you had set before when you throttle down.

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9 hours ago, Nertea said:

Logs, modlist?

If you don't install the integration patch it doesn't need cooling. But also, don't install the integration patch if you are new to KSP or my reactor paradigm.

I am currently not at my PC so I cant send log or mod list. I installed the mod via Ckan so I don't know if Ckan installs that patch. If this wasn't clear: the engine is starting to heat up and made some SAS wheels explode. I only have the liquid fuel instead of LH2 patch but I don't think that is the issue. 

Edited by Domspace
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2 hours ago, Zacho said:

Tip for using the NFE reactors is to go in and set the power level to 0 in the reactor controls or very low if its a trimodal reactor to let it make power. When you throttle up the engines it will automatically max the power lvl and then drop it back down to what you had set before when you throttle down.

I don't have a nuclear reactor on my ship.

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On 11/13/2019 at 10:03 PM, Domspace said:

I am currently not at my PC so I cant send log or mod list. I installed the mod via Ckan so I don't know if Ckan installs that patch. If this wasn't clear: the engine is starting to heat up and made some SAS wheels explode. I only have the liquid fuel instead of LH2 patch but I don't think that is the issue. 

KSP heat is stupid. You should probably have a few radiators, make sure they're on and properly located in they're stock surface ones.

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Quick question that I tried to research on my own but, I couldn't find a definitive answer on whether kerbal atomics and/or NFE is compatible with MKS. Since MKS uses its own Nuclear Reactors. And do the MKS fuel tanks use the same boil off and electric use as your fuel tanks or is that a compatibility problem?

 

Sorry to worry you with my question I know you are busy keeping up with all of your mods.

 

Thank You

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42 minutes ago, Vortexian2 said:

I couldn't find a definitive answer on whether kerbal atomics and/or NFE is compatible with MKS. Since MKS uses its own Nuclear Reactors.

NFE patches the MKS reactors so they work like the NFE ones.

42 minutes ago, Vortexian2 said:

And do the MKS fuel tanks use the same boil off and electric use as your fuel tanks or is that a compatibility problem?

Assuming you mean the USI "Kontainer" tanks that come with MKS: yes, they have boiloff when CryoTanks is installed.  CryoTanks itself doesn't directly patch the USI kontainers since they already have a fuel switcher, but USI includes a patch of its own that does the same thing for the kontainer tanks specifically.

If you're interested in the specifics, the files to look at are NearFutureElectrical/Patches/NFElectricalUSIReactors.cfg and UmbraSpaceIndustries/Kontainers/CryoTanks.cfg.

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  • 2 months later...

The tanks that are actually added by CryoTanks -- they appear orange-foiled in the part list - only have Hydrolox/LH2/Oxidizer options. Stock LfOx tanks and modded LfOx (not sure how exactly that particular patch works) are modified to have LfOx/Lf/Hydrolox/LH2/Ox options.

Thus, unless you add your own patch on top of CryoTanks, those Sci-Fi spherical tanks will not let you put stock liquid fuel into them.

P.S. there is also Liquid Methane patch somewhere, but I haven't ever used it and never peeked inside.

Edited by NHunter
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
4 hours ago, HoskJa said:

Out of curiosity, did the NSWR ever appear, or was it too OP to exist? I'd kill to see one that well textured, the KSPI one looks pretty wonky.

There is a NSWR engine (as well as appropriate fuel tanks) in the Far Future Technologies mod (github).

Edited by NHunter
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  • 4 weeks later...

@Nertea and KSP community, with the upcoming move of Methalox patches for LF engines to CryoEngines, I thought this may be a good opportunity to float the idea of something similar for KerbalAtomics.  The advantages of liquid CH4 over LH2 in combustion engines are equally applicable to NTRs: greater propellant tank density, reduced boil-off problems, and respectable Isp between LH2 systems and more complex, higher density fuels.

I took a stab at modifying an Eel into an “NV-10M” configuration.  Referencing Atomic Rockets’ (http://www.projectrho.com/) values of molecular weight of various propellants versus exhaust velocity in a solid core NTR, I scaled the Eel’s Vac Isp down from 935 to 730, and inverse proportionately scaled the Vac thrust up from 12kN to 15.37kN.  I also edited the Atmosphere curves proportionally, so key = 0 730, key = 1 140, key 4 62.  I’m assuming this is primarily dictated by nozzle aspect ratio; I’m not sure how much propellant molecular weight vs surrounding pressure factors in.  I jacked up the price from 12,000 to 15,000 to nerf it a bit for “complexity reasons”, which I’ll go into at the end.

I then created a comparative test craft: a Mk1-3 Cmd Pod, a single H375-72 tank, and either a standard LH2 Eel or the Methane variant.  The results were…

NV-10 Craft: 7.661t wet mass (54,000 units LH2), 3.835t dry mass, has 6,345m/s of dv

NV-10M Craft: 20.307t wet mass (36,000 units CH4), 4.985t dry mass, has 10,055 m/s of dv

Obviously, the Methane craft has a ~4:1 mass ratio, whereas the LH2 is only ~2:1.  If I triple the number of LH2 tanks, I get 10,489 m/s dv for a 16.84t wet mass (3.14:1 mass ratio).  But now the LH2 craft is over twice as long, which means more launches, assuming my constraint is now the fairing size of the lift rocket, not its payload mass capacity.  Note, I haven’t factored in additional power generation capability required for tank refrigeration to prevent boil-off, which will be significant on the LH2 propelled craft.

I think this makes the case for a Methane NTR, the same way it does for a combustion engine.  It’s a happy middle ground for performance vs economics.

Methane NTRs have one potential engineering problem to deal with, and that’s decomposition of CH4 into separate Carbon and Hydrogen molecules at high temps.  The free Carbon may start “coking” on the fuel elements and/or engine interior, constraining the propellant mass flow.  I’ve found a little bit of real hardware research on how this effects electric engines, like resistojets/arcjets, but nothing on NTRs.  With the flow masses involved, there may be a lot of free Carbon liberated, but the flow path of the wide variety of NTR configurations likely dictates the percentage that blows through vs getting stuck.  I haven’t found much literature on *demonstrated* techniques to mitigate this, but I’ve seen everything from assumptions about coatings that don’t give free Carbon a place to bond, to running “power wash” cycles periodically (maybe squirting a little free Hydrogen, or even water, through at the end of a burn).

The Eel seems like one potential way of getting ahead of the problem.  It’s a pebble-bed NTR, so even if the fuel elements start getting a coating of soot, they’ll just naturally space themselves out more.  Also, the rotating bed of fuel, particularly as it gets filled and emptied between operating cycles, may end up being a natural mechanical agitator to just shake off Carbon build up.

I think the proposed NV-10M would be a good entry point for Methane NTRs, and it should be fairly easy to introduce on multiple NTR parts, now that fuel switch functionality comes with the LH2NTRModSupport extra.  Some nerfing of different NTRs, like the plain LV-N solid core, could maybe have a small, arbitrary, Isp reduction to account for Carbon build up over the craft’s realistic mission life, or overhead resources associated with a cleaning cycle.

Thoughts?

Edited by KSPrynk
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Well... No. I don't really want to make a bunch more unique engines, which is the reason the other changes are happening. The crappy models in this mod already need to be fixed at some point...

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/5/2020 at 2:13 PM, Nertea said:

Well... No. I don't really want to make a bunch more unique engines, which is the reason the other changes are happening. The crappy models in this mod already need to be fixed at some point...

That's too bad.  I applied the same rules to the Neptune and Stubber for large, life support enabled, outer-planets exploration craft, and they look great.  I would love to be able to change the engine plumes for Methane/Methalox coloration but I need to learn more about how that works.

If at some point you do feel interested again in realistic NTRs that have detailed analysis and design models already done, check out the Scorpion Nuclear Thermal-Electric Rocket.  It's a JBIS design (behind their paywall, unfortunately, but previewed here: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/realdesigns4.php#scorpion) that effectively leverages the heat exchanger system of the Skylon SABRE (KSP RAPIER) engine to drive an electric booster for the NTR exhaust.  This bypasses the chronic solid-core NTR limitation of reactor temperature on exhaust velocity, eliminates the need for post-burn propellant purging/cool down cycles, and has a side benefit of minimizing radiator requirements because the propellant doubles as powerplant coolant.

More physics details on the basic premise, and how the variations in design impact performance are found here:  http://toughsf.blogspot.com/2019/09/nter-nuclear-thermal-electric-rocket.html

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7 minutes ago, KSPrynk said:

That's too bad.  I applied the same rules to the Neptune and Stubber for large, life support enabled, outer-planets exploration craft, and they look great.  I would love to be able to change the engine plumes for Methane/Methalox coloration but I need to learn more about how that works.

If at some point you do feel interested again in realistic NTRs that have detailed analysis and design models already done, check out the Scorpion Nuclear Thermal-Electric Rocket.  It's a JBIS design (behind their paywall, unfortunately, but previewed here: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/realdesigns4.php#scorpion) that effectively leverages the heat exchanger system of the Skylon SABRE (KSP RAPIER) engine to drive an electric booster for the NTR exhaust.  This bypasses the chronic solid-core NTR limitation of reactor temperature on exhaust velocity, eliminates the need for post-burn propellant purging/cool down cycles, and has a side benefit of minimizing radiator requirements because the propellant doubles as powerplant coolant.

More physics details on the basic premise, and how the variations in design impact performance are found here:  http://toughsf.blogspot.com/2019/09/nter-nuclear-thermal-electric-rocket.html

Yes, I've actually read the Scorpion report. It's very optimistic, just like everything even vaguely related to Skylon :P. I have also considered making it - might happen someday...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello, I am a player from China and I look forward to translate Kerbal Atomics (into Chinese of course); should I also notify the GitHub account "ChrisAdderley" regarding matters of translation?

Edited by lzq2006
I forgot to be clear
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On 4/16/2020 at 2:52 PM, Nertea said:

Yes, I've actually read the Scorpion report. It's very optimistic, just like everything even vaguely related to Skylon :P. I have also considered making it - might happen someday...

A chance to see the beauty of a Nertea made Scorpion, so lovingly modeled that you can trace all the plumbing lines? Yes Please! Plus it is a really unique engine.

I wonder what Mod it would be in? Kerbal atomics is done?

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I noticed that all of the nuclear engines have very short life spans, compared to the reactors in Near Future Electrical.  Most of those can run for decades before running out, but most of the NTRs run out after a few days or weeks.  Is this a game balance thing, or are real life NTRs meant to burn through their fuel super quickly like that?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Help! I started playing KSP again a couple of months ago, and the first thing I did was install nearly all of Nertea's mods (having some good memories of using them when they first came out). I now find myself needing some help with the Liberator and Emancipator engines. In the title screen shot in the OP for this thread, the ship is using an Emancipator without radiators, and from searching this thread, I believe I shouldn't need radiators unless I've installed an "integration patch"; unless such a patch has been bundled into the mod since that post (2017/2018), I haven't done that.

However, I'm finding that I'm needing to use more than four of the big graphine radiators from Nertea's Heat Control mod to keep a single instance of either engine type from exploding when doing a long burn (such as an interplanetary transfer). Stock radiators just aren't cutting it. I'm using Nertea's 7 meter fuel tanks and engine mounts, too. I've also applied the patch that makes the atomic engines use LF instead of H2 for fuel.

So, do I real need to have all those big radiators for these two engines? Or am I doing something very, very wrong?

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

Oh sorry I haven't been keeping up with this thread

On 5/3/2020 at 7:56 PM, PTNLemay said:

I noticed that all of the nuclear engines have very short life spans, compared to the reactors in Near Future Electrical.  Most of those can run for decades before running out, but most of the NTRs run out after a few days or weeks.  Is this a game balance thing, or are real life NTRs meant to burn through their fuel super quickly like that?

Real life NTRs have active total burn times measured in days. This is typically because they have used highly enriched fuel to get the necessary power densities. It is a happy balance accident, because if the engines had lifetimes of years they would never run out, as you only ever run them for a few minutes...

On 5/17/2020 at 5:48 AM, RSX2400 said:

Help! I started playing KSP again a couple of months ago, and the first thing I did was install nearly all of Nertea's mods (having some good memories of using them when they first came out). I now find myself needing some help with the Liberator and Emancipator engines. In the title screen shot in the OP for this thread, the ship is using an Emancipator without radiators, and from searching this thread, I believe I shouldn't need radiators unless I've installed an "integration patch"; unless such a patch has been bundled into the mod since that post (2017/2018), I haven't done that.

However, I'm finding that I'm needing to use more than four of the big graphine radiators from Nertea's Heat Control mod to keep a single instance of either engine type from exploding when doing a long burn (such as an interplanetary transfer). Stock radiators just aren't cutting it. I'm using Nertea's 7 meter fuel tanks and engine mounts, too. I've also applied the patch that makes the atomic engines use LF instead of H2 for fuel.

So, do I real need to have all those big radiators for these two engines? Or am I doing something very, very wrong?

Would like to see some screenshots of the ship in question.

 

6 minutes ago, derega16 said:

How can I remove depleted Urnium? The core temp won't lower past 2000 after shut down at all even I add a loads of radiator and time warped for 10 days.

You'll need more like years, probably. 

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