Fusion Engine

A fusion engine of a BattleMech

Fusion Engines are the most common type of BattleMech and aerospace power plant in the BattleTech Universe. Fusion engines can supply great quantities of power, enough to power massive vehicles and all of their weapon systems, including directed energy weapons common on the modern battlefield. Yet when no thrust is generated, fusion engines are so efficient, they practically never need refueling. If properly ventilated, controlled fusion reactions generate little heat. There are several sub-types of fusion engines available as well, each trading bulk for mass of the components.

Description[edit]

The fusion engine is capable of powering 'Mechs, Aerospace Fighters, and other vehicles. Fusion engines function by harnessing the power of a fusion reaction, as occurs in the core of the Sun. A BattleMech's fusion engine can usually last for decades on a few kilograms of hydrogen. Unlike the research reactors of the real world, a BattleMech's fusion engine runs on "light" hydrogen, protium, rather than hydrogen's heavier isotopes deuterium and tritium. [1]

Fusion engines are able to generate a great deal of heat. Simply moving the vehicle creates heat, though this is often a small amount. Though heat can negatively affect the vehicle's pilot or even the vehicle itself, a well-ventilated fusion engine is far less dangerous than the bleed-heat generated by charging and/or firing weapons, especially lasers and particle weapons.

In a BattleMech, the fusion engine resides in the center torso. It cannot be relocated elsewhere in the BattleMech, though certain types of engines may intrude into adjacent spaces within the structure.

Fusion engines, like other engines, are defined by their "engine rating". For 'Mechs, the engine rating is the mathematical product of the mass of the vehicle and its desired maximum walking or cruising velocity. Stated another way, a 'Mech's maximum walking momentum is directly proportional to engine rating. For instance,
A 30-ton Spider BattleMech with a 240 Pitban Fusion Engine is able to generate the same maximum momentum of a 60-ton Merlin with the same engine, but because the Merlin masses twice the Spider, the Spider's maximum velocity is twice that of the Merlin.[2][3]

Combat Vehicles adjust engine rating calculation slightly based on motive suspension system. Additionally, engine rating is not proportional to engine mass; engine mass increases exponentially depending upon rating[4]. This results in light, low-to-moderately rated engines massing a disproportionately small fraction of larger engines. As a 'Mech's mass increases, a much larger proportion of the mass must be devoted to engine mass, or speed must be sacrificed. For instance,
All of the following BattleMechs have the same maximum cruising (walking) velocity (43.2 kph), but their varying mass means each 'Mech mounts a different engine. BattleMech mass, engine rating, engine mass, and (engine mass)/(BattleMech mass) are listed for each example, and increase together: PNT-9R Panther (35, 140, 5, 14%)[5], WTH-1 Whitworth (40, 160, 6, 15%)[6], BJ-1 Blackjack (45, 180, 7, 16%)[7], CN9-A Centurion (50, 200, 8.5, 17%)[8], MLN-1A Merlin (60, 240, 11.5, 19%)[9], CPLT-C1 Catapult (65, 260, 13.5, 21%)[10], GHR-5H Grasshopper (70, 280, 16, 23%)[11], ON1-K Orion (75, 300, 19, 25%)[12], VTR-9B Victor (80, 320, 22.5, 28%)[13], BLR-1G BattleMaster (85, 340, 27, 32%)[14], CP-10-Z Cyclops (90, 360, 33, 37%)[15], BNC-3E Banshee (95, 380, 41, 43%)[16]

For 'Mechs, larger fusion engines allow larger maximum momenta. But the inherent instability of bipedal locomotion requires a means to maintain balance and correct falls. In order to maintain control, 'Mechs also mount Gyros, which vary in size proportionally to engine rating.

Fusion engines usually will only shut down if damaged or if heat is uncontrolled. Unlike popular belief, there is absolutely no risk of a fusion engine accidentally becoming a nuclear weapon. [17] There have been a number of cases of fusion engines being "over revved" and exploding with devastating force, but this is more akin to a boiler explosion than a true nuclear explosion. More often a destroyed engine will be punctured by weapons fire. Because the plasma is held in a vacuum chamber (to isolate the superheated plasma from the cold walls of the reactor; contact with the walls would super-chill the plasma below fusion temperatures), a punctured reactor can suck in air where the air is superheated. Normal thermal expansion of the air causes the air to burst out in a brilliant lightshow often mistaken for a "nuclear explosion". This thermal expansion damages anything within 90 meters of the destroyed 'Mech.

Such dramatic failures are rare, though. It is difficult to sustain the fusion reaction and very easy to shut down. Safety systems or damage to containment coils will almost always shut down the engine before such an explosion occurs. The massive shielding of the engine (in the case of standard fusion engines, this is a tungsten carbide shell that accounts for over 2/3 of the weight of the engine) usually buys the safety systems the milliseconds needed to shutdown the engine when severe damage is inflicted.

History[edit]

Fusion technology was achieved by the Western Alliance in 2021.[18] Almost a century later, fusion technology had progressed to the point of using protium, the most abundant isotope of hydrogen.[1]

Research into fusion engine technology has yielded improvements over the many centuries of BattleMech use. Extralight Fusion Engines, Light Fusion Engines, and Compact Fusion Engines are now available in addition to the Standard Military Fusion Engine.

Brands[edit]

Fusion Engines are produced under the following brand names:

Manufacturing[edit]

Fusion Engine is manufactured on the following planets:

Brand Planet Company
240 Standard Arcadia Arcadia BattleMech Plant CM-T4
300 XL Arcadia Arcadia BattleMech Plant CM-T4
Breen 190 Panpour Jalastar Aerospace
DAV 220 Keystone Earthwerks Incorporated
Defiance 120 Tharkad Defiance Motors
Defiance 160 Tharkad Defiance Motors
Doorman 120 Carlisle Bergan Industries
Doorman 130 Carlisle Bergan Industries
Doorman 140 Carlisle Bergan Industries
Fireheart 180 New Syrtis Johnston Industries
Fusion 140 Irece Barcella Beta
Fusion 260 Irece Barcella Beta
Galas Lightpower 80 Ruchbah Michaelson Heavy Industries
GoreTex 240 Betelgeuse Aldis Industries
GoreTex 240 New Samarkand New Samarkand Metals
GoreTex 240 Terra Aldis Industries
GoreTex 240 Loyalty Kallon Industries
GTEM 210 Andurien Bergan Industries
GTEM 210 Irian Bergan Industries
GTEM 210 Kendall Bergan Industries
Hermes 100 Wernke Kallon Industries
Hermes 120 Sian Hellespont 'Mech Works
InterFus 155 Johnsondale Valiant Vehicles
InterFus 260 Johnsondale Valiant Vehicles
Leenex 140 Luthien Luthien Armor Works
Light Force 210 Huntress Abysmal Manufacturing Complex
Lockheed 105 Micro-Fusion Tharkad Lockheed-CBM Corporation
LTV 120 Ares Bergan Industries
LTV 160 Ares Bergan Industries
LTV 160 New Avalon Achernar BattleMechs
LTV 160 Canopus IV Majesty Metals and Manufacturing
LTV 160 Perdition Pinard Protectorates Limited
LTV 160 Taurus Taurus Territorial Industries
LTV 160 Ares Bergan Industries
LTV 160 New Avalon Achernar BattleMechs
Manatwist 300 Chatham Wakazashi Enterprises
Model SF-3 260 Strato Domingo Auxiliary Production Site 4
Nissan 120 Praxton Praxton Fusion Products Limited
Nissan 160 Praxton Praxton Fusion Products Limited
Nissan 175 Praxton Praxton Fusion Products Limited
Nissan 175 Terra Skobel MechWorks
Nissan 200 Kagoshima Nissan General Industries
Nissan 200 Robinson Robinson Standard BattleWorks
Nissan 200 Kalidasa Kali Yama Weapons Industries Incorporated
Nissan 200 New Earth New Earth Trading Company
Nissan 220 Kagoshima Nissan General Industries
Nissan 220 Terra Skobel MechWorks
Nissan 225 Panpour Jalastar Aerospace
Piker 180 Nirasaki New Age Systems Incorporated
PlasmaStar 270 Axton Wangker Aerospace
Rawlings 140 Sian Saroyan Special Projects
Rawlings 200 Capella Ceres Metals Industries
Rawlings 200 Tikonov Earthwerks Incorporated
Rawlings 200 St. Ives Tengo Aerospace
Rawlings 200 Sarna Tengo Aerospace
Rawlings 225 Epsilon Eridani Kressly Warworks
Rawlings 300 Sian Saroyan Special Projects
Robinson 160 Fuse-Pak Robinson Robinson Standard BattleWorks
RT 190 Terra Matabushi Incorporated
Scarborough 140 Al Na'ir Scarborough Manufacturers
Strand 255 Crofton StarCorp Industries
Strand 255 Shiro III Irian BattleMechs Unlimited
Strand 255 Loburg StarCorp Industries
Type 275 Standart Tamaron Ashton 'Mech Production Complex
Vlar 300 Luthien Luthien Armor Works
Vlar 300 Wernke Kallon Industries
Vlar 300 Gibson Gibson Federated BattleMechs - (Free Worlds Defense Industries)
Vlar 300 Edasich Edasich Motors
Warner 200 Praxton Praxton Fusion Products Limited
Warner 200 Taurus Magna
Warner 225 Taurus Magna

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 TechManual, p. 35, "Fusion and Fusion Fuels"
  2. Technical Readout: 3039, pp. 106-107
  3. Technical Readout: 3058, pp. 142-143
  4. Based on Microsoft(R) Excel(R) "trendline" analysis
  5. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 115
  6. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 127
  7. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 129
  8. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 133
  9. Technical Readout: 3058 Upgrade, p. 143
  10. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 147
  11. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 151
  12. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 153
  13. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 159
  14. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 300
  15. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 165
  16. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 167
  17. TechManual, pp. 36-37, "Fusion Engine Explosions: The Great Myth"
  18. Tech Manual, pp. 214-215, "Military-Standard Fusion Engines" & "Industrial Fission/Fusion Engines"

Bibliography[edit]