See Warp Scales
Description and UseEdit
Warp power is made possible by the leverage of a series of "second state" elements first discovered by Dr. Long du Hoc in 2052. These elements are necessary to control the energy flow in warp drive engines. The sub-dimensional Group 1A (Group 1A^2) elements are the most efficient for use in warp drives. Properly hydrogen^2, lithium^2, sodium^2, potassium^2, rubidium^2, cesium^2, and francium^2. The terminology "DiHydrogen" was popularized in the press at the time of discovery and has unfortunately made it back into the technical journals. DiHydrogen can be produced in the laboratory, and is relatively stable in use. DiLithium, the most readily available element of choice. DiSodium is a fragile and difficult element to find. However sufficient supplies have been secured for general use. DiPotassium has been identified is small amounts. It is used by the Builders. Elements further up the chart have been identified under scientific conditions, but not in any amount that would be useful.
Each jump in the element used renders a more efficient use of the energy produced to greater powers of the warp factor. The formula s=wf^x*c is used to figure the resulting speed for the use of a given element in the system. Differences in technology can vary this exact formula. Starfleet vessels using diLithium have achieved wf^(10/3)c due to improvements in warp coils and drive controls.
DiLithium produces wf^3.
Warp factors are produced in nine ideal energy levels. Speeds between the ideal levels can be achieved, but with a greater drain on the ships resources. Warp 10, represents total efficiency and is technically unachievable. It is mistakenly referred to as "infinite speed". It is actually an energy use plateau that cannot be reached. A ship with a powerful drive can attain and pass what on the warp factor scale would be "warp ten", but not find the energy plateau. The practice of indicating the ship's speed in warp factors above 9 has been discontinued.
A further group of sub-dimensional element has been discovered. The Group 1a^3 series element have not proved exact analogs of the Group 1A, and Group 1A^2 elements. Attempts to use Tri-hydrogen or the even rarer Tri-lithium in starship drives have proven failures.
The Technical spelling is lithium^2. Second order lithium. More commonly seen in style books is dilithium or the older form di-lithium. DiLithium is a more recent usage and gaining in popularity.
The change in warp factors has caused a minor buzz among those that determine these things. As with the change from the wf^2 to the wf^3 scale. the current suggested usage is to identify the scale being used. as follows.