Saturday, April 26, 2014

Technology in Warhammer 40,000. 3: Motors and Actuators

Today in this series on technology in Warhammer 40k we take a brief look at Motors and Actuators - the things that do the driving of machines in essence.

First up is hydraulics. This is exactly as you might imagine it to be and based in our current technology level. The only difference is that Rogue Trader quotes "hydroplastic" pressure to power components. Fine by me. They're going to be used extensively in vehicles and robots.

Secondly there is "Electically motivated fibre bundles". This is the piece of kit that makes power armour move! In essence it is a fibre (or a bundle of them) that contract under the application of an electrical current. Hence they're the machine equivalent of muscles. And in the far flung future, they're rather efficient and miniaturized compared to today's level of technology. Conversely, Rogue Trader notes that these systems are rarer than hydraulics. Which presumably explains why the former ti used more extensively. Perhaps they're just more expensive to produce and use rarer commodities during manufacture.

Third (and finally) are gravitic reactors. These are the things that Eldar and some Warhammer 30k vehicles use extensively. BUT! They're not actually anything to do with gravity. They're actually powered by magnetic fields according to Rogue Trader. At least in the sense of they use a planet's magnetic field to counteract the attractive force of gravitation and give a vehicle some lift off the surface of the planet. This is neat! But in today's world the power consumption and the strength of the magnetic field would have to be rather large to accomplish this. (Levitating frogs aside). Rogue Trader also note the technology for the comes from Terra and is in short supply and will one day run out. I don't agree with this given the vast resources of the Imperium (and beyond), so I think this is simply a reflection of the time it was written more than anything else.

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