Guide to the Supermatter
The Supermatter Crystal is the primary power source in most stations. A Supermatter Shard can be ordered from Cargo, which works the same way, but can be moved around. Its primary features are emitting tons of radiation, making everyone who could theoretically see it hallucinate, releasing hot oxygen and plasma, heating the air around, and exploding or creating singularity/tesla if you screw up. It begins inert but being hit by an object or projectile will activate it and it'll start producing huge amounts of radiation, which can be converted to power with the radiation collectors.
|Do NOT run into the Supermatter to commit suicide! You will be banned.|
Words of Warning
- The Supermatter is VERY DANGEROUS. Activating the Supermatter should be the last step in setting up any form of Supermatter based power! If you ordered it from cargo the crate should stay LOCKED AND SECURED until everything is ready.
- You require safety gear. A full radiation suit and meson scanners.
- Most of "setting up the Supermatter" involves a gas loop that is designed to cool down the Supermatter chamber. While not required, please have some knowledge of gasses, or atmospheric properties.
- Anything that bumps into the Supermatter is fundamentally annihilated. Don't touch it.
- Hardsuits, excluding the CE's hardsuit, have limited radiation protection. The engineering hardsuit has 75% radiation protection. CE's hardsuit has 100%. Atmos hardsuit has 25%. RD's and CMO's have 60%. If working near an active Supermatter Engine, use a radiation suit instead.
The Safe Setup
The supermatter engine on current (2021) rotation maps can be set up in many different ways and experienced engineers are encouraged to experiment. The less experienced engineers can refer to the safe guide below. This is a simple nitrogen setup, easy to maintain and has two methods to handle sabotage (freezer backup and N2 preset). It will almost always last the entire round, and almost always generates enough power for the entire station.
There is an old video setup guide here, but the recommended guide below has changed since that video was made.
Step One: Gear Up
- Put on an optical meson scanner or Engineering scanner goggles on meson mode. All races except IPCs and Plasmamen will require a radiation suit in case someone prematurely activates the supermatter crystal.
- Why: Meson Scanners protect from hallucinations, while the suit protects from radiation. IPCs and Plasmamen are inorganic and thus take no rads but they CAN suffer hallucinations. Once the engine starts, it will start emitting both.
Step Two: Prepare The Gas Loop
- Set gas pumps (green circle in picture) to maximum around the loop. This requires clicking them, hitting MAX and toggling OFF to ON. If you are not replacing pumps, do not enable pumps labelled "bypass" (blue circle).
- Why: Gas pumps ensure that coolant is in circulation around the supermatter crystal. The gases exit, are cooled by space and the freezers, have exhaust gases are removed by the filters, recooled (if needed) by the freezers, then enter the crystal chamber as cold N2.
- Toggle the gas filters (yellow square in picture) ON and set to desired gas. By default, the filters have the correct N2 setup preselected, thus you can turn on all five. The first filter leading to canisters (green square) is for farming gases. If you want a panic button, you can set one filter to N2O also, as N2O is effective at extinguishing flames, should you get sabotaged. However, at VERY high temperatures, this will backfire.
- Why: The gas filters work by separating individual gases from a pipe. In the safe setup, this means that N2 is removed from an array of other harmful gases that exhaust from the SM like plasma. The exhaust exits the red pipe to space. By setting a filter to N2O, you can easily wrench in an N2O canister to extinguish most early destabilization.
- (Optional) Activate the freezers (cyan triangle. MUST be a freezer, not a heater) and set them to the lowest temperature. This means clicking them, clicking minimum temp, then toggling to ON. If they are heaters, you must disassemble and use a screwdriver on the circuit board, then reassemble the machine to create a freezer.
- Why: Freezers work a dual purpose. First, they ensure space gases are reduced to a safe operating temperature, and can be upgraded later to function better than the space loop. Typically the space loop is enough, unless sabotage occurs, which means freezers also function as protection against sabotage or at the gas filters by forcing gases to remain in the safe range.
- Wrench the red N2 canisters to activate the gas loop. This should be none nearly last so that other engineers do not interfere with your setup and no one wastes coolant.
- Why: Nitrogen (or whichever gas you end up using) must be put in the pipes in order to circulate. You can add any other gases here later, like N2O. Or plasma.
- Set the air alarm next to the crystal room. Open the air alarm menu (on most maps it will start unlocked), click Scrubber Controls and change the scrubbers to siphon (by clicking "scrubbing") and Expanded Range. You don't need to change any of the filter settings besides the mode, since on "siphon", all gases get sucked out. The scrubbers will show an animation if they are set up to siphon correctly. Do NOT set operating mode to "panic siphon" as that's not the same thing. Picture (click it):
- Why: Siphon makes the scrubbers remove all gases. This is to ensure hot gasses are removed from the chamber as fast as possible, to prevent too high pressure in the chamber.
- In the same air alarm , from the main menu, click Vent Controls and disable both regulators. Picture (click it): Error creating thumbnail: File missing
- Why: Some players insist that "Internal 0" is the best setting for the vents, but it is functionally identical to simply disabling both regulators, the former is also far less confusing.
Step Three: Starting The Radiation Collectors
- Obtain six plasma tanks . One can be found by the radiation collectors, and up to ten more can be taken from the tank dispenser.
- Insert each plasma tank into a radiation collector , then turn each on by clicking it with an empty hand. Lock them with your ID card when you are done.
- It's worth pointing out that you also used to have to fill the plasma tanks with extra plasma from a canister. This is not currently the case, but many people still do this out of habit or misinformation.
The engine is now ready to produce power.
Step Four: Start the Engine!
- Double-check to ensure the cooling loop is active, you don't want to have an active supermatter with a pump still set to 101kPa or the vents/scrubbers inactive!
- Align the reflectors so that the emitter beams are deflected towards the supermatter crystal.
- Head into the emitter chamber. It is on the right side of the picture above. Just click each emitter with an empty hand to turn them on. Don't stand in front of them unless you want some serious laser burns!
- Close the radiation shutters with the Radiation Shutters Control button (if available).
The supermatter is now generating power.
Final Step: Set Up the Power Storage Units (SMES)
- Go to the room in engineering with multiple SMES .
- Set each of their target inputs to 200 kW and target outputs to 190 kW.
- Why: This increases how much power they forward to the rest of the station. 10 kW will be used to keep the SMES fully charged for backup power.
Delta Station Irregularities
Delta Station setup follows the same philosophy, but the coolant loop is arranged somewhat differently. A much more detailed explanation is stated above. The same rules apply:
- Enabling gas pumps not labelled bypass (or straight pipe every pump).
- (Optional) Enable freezers , convert the heater to freezer by deconstructing it (or just not turning it on if you don't know how).
- Enable gas filters.
- Don't forget the last gas pump on the right side!
- Set the air alarm .
- Add the plasma tanks to the radiation collectors .
- Close the shutters at the switch.
- On Delta station, the reflectors require being moved before being turned on emitters. You must unweld then unwrench them, then drag them into the proper position. Alt-clicking them changes rotation. A 90 degree angle will send a laser beam in a 90 degree angle, nothing too crazy. You might need to experiment to get the angle right at first.
- Turn on the emitters!
TEG-based SM Irregularities
Some stations, including ministation, pubbystation and corgstation starts off with a Thermo-electric generated (TEG). A supermatter crystals emits oxygen and plasma when hit with an emitter, and these are scrubbed out, burnt and fed into the hot side of the TEG. Note that you can also set up a TEG on all other stations provided there is a source of gas, preferably plasma.
Congratulations! The supermatter engine is set! Best bolt it so people so unauthorized personnel don't rush in.
A Deeper Look: Mechanics
The supermatter is an extremely unstable crystal with particular properties. Here's how it behaves:
The crystal's power determines how much energy is produced each tick, and also the range and amount of radiation and hallucinations generated. (a 'tick' usually takes around 1-5 seconds depending on lag)
- Power decays over time.
- Hitting the crystal with a non-physical bullet (usually emitters) will increase its power.
- Power is increased every tick depending on the gas mix. This scales with the gas' temperature.
- Consuming an object or mob will increase the power by a significant amount, independently from the object's size.
- Power decay can be lowered or even completely prevented with CO2.
- Too much power will result in dangerous side effects, like arcs of lightning or anomalies.
The crystal must be kept stable if you don't want it to explode.
- Stability does not change by itself.
- The crystal grows unstable if the gas mix is hotter than 310K. It will instead stabilize when it is cooler than 310K.
- Physical bullets will destabilize the crystal, depending on the damage they do.
- Large amounts of power will destabilize the crystal. The highest safe limit of the supermatter is 5000 EER/cm³.
- Large amounts of moles will not only destabilize the crystal but also prevent the stabilizing effect of cold gases. This effect starts at about 1800 moles of any gas on the supermatter's tile.
Each gas has a different effect when it surrounds the supermatter crystal. The strength of each effect depends on the percentage of it in the gasmix in the supermatter chamber.
Safety: Pillow Fort
Pluoxium is like a weaker N2O without any of the risks. At 15% of the total gas or higher, it will lower the heat production of the Supermatter slightly less than N2, and increase the heat resistance by half that of N2O. However unlike N2O it does not decay, making it the perfect emergency gas if you can get enough. Pluoxium has the side effect of reducing radiation relative to its ratio in the mix, causing lowered power output at high concentrations.
N2 Safety: Very Safe
N2 is, in a large majority of situations, the safest gas to dump into the cooling loop. It actively lowers the temperature and the amount of waste gases that the supermatter crystal produces. A side effect of the safety it provides is that it also reduces power output of the engine.
Precooled N2 is good to have around for emergencies.
N2O Safety: Risky
N2O reinforces the heat resistance of the supermatter crystal, allowing for much hotter setups than usual. However, at higher temperatures (such as during a heat delamination) it will decay into O2 and N2. While N2 is good for the supermatter, O2 most certainly is not. This O2 will also react with the Plasma to create Tritium and then, to the further horror of many an Engineer, a Tritium fire. At lower temperatures and in more controlled setups, it can also combine with Plasma to create low amounts of BZ inside the loop.
Marked as risky only to stop you from throwing N2O into the SM mindlessly. Yes, you.
CO2 Safety: Very Risky
CO2 is a potentially dangerous yet very rewarding gas - in concentrations below 60% CO2 your safe while on a normal loop, it will increase the crystal's power generation and can be used to produce Pluoxium as well.
In high concentrations (above 60% CO2), however, it will raise the crystal's energy to extremely high levels. If you take precaution and upgrade the loop to with 3 layer space cool loop and freezers at Tier 4 parts you will be safe above 60%, this is a phenomenal way to generate power. With poor management and insufficient or downright bad preparation, it will eventually exceed safe energy levels and begin a charge delamination, producing electric arcs and anomalies until it eventually explodes into a Tesla ball.
O2 Safety: Relatively Dangerous
Oxygen provides a boost to power transmission without actively increasing the waste gas amount or temperature.
Pretty risky to use, as any disruption of the cooling loop will soon cause a plasma fire in the crystal chamber. Even just a high concentration of O2 will activate and continuously power the crystal.
If you're badass enough to run an O2 setup: Always precool it before flooding the Supermatter chamber.
BZ Safety: Dangerous
BZ increases the heat produced by the supermatter, as well as the radiation. Higher concentrations increase the radiation production up to 5 fold, but will become difficult to manage without significant set up. BZ also has the side effect of lower the power the radiation from the Supermatter grants, meaning while the produced rads increase 5 fold, the power does not. At a 40% of the mix, the Supermatter will start to fire irradiating nuclear particles. Don't get hit by these, regardless of your clothing.
Plasma Safety: Very dangerous
Plasma is very similar to Oxygen but provides a much higher power boost as well as waste and heat penalty. The extreme pressures and volumes of gas produced by this gas are very likely to clog pipes.
WARNING: The roundstart setup cannot handle pure plasma setups.
Tritium Safety: OH GOD OH F*CK
Tritium increases the radiation production of the Supermatter by up to 3 times, without BZ's downside of lowering energy production. There is one slight issue with it.
Tritium is dangerous. Tritium is very dangerous. Tritium makes Plasma seem safe. Even with extremely robust cooling systems, Tritium is a horrifyingly irritable and jumpy gas. While it isn't as harmful to the heat level as Plasma is (just barely), it also has the second worst heat capacity of all gasses while Plasma has the second highest. This means that Plasma can be kept happy with enough cooling, whereas Tritium eagerly goes from a safe space loop into a burning hellfire. Add to this the byproduct of large amounts of Oxygen production (not exclusive to Tritium. An issue in a Plasma engine too), and you have a tritium fire and a very hot crystal. Do not use this gas unless you have a very strong understanding of atmospherics and the Supermatter, and are willing to get creative. What ever cooling method that works on a Co2 SM will need to be tripled for tritium.
The crystal produces plasma and oxygen while it's active.
- Plasma and Oxygen burn if they're hot enough. This will heavily increase the temperature and reduce the oxygen percentage; if not kept under control this can end up destabilizing the crystal.
- The amount and temperature of the produced gas are determined by the current crystal power.
- The amount of oxygen is proportional to the temperature of the absorbed gases. Very cold gas input will result in very little oxygen.
The crystal will affect nearby mobs while it's active.
- The range and power are determined by the current power. Being further away from the crystal also mitigates the effect.
- The crystal will cause hallucinations to nearby mobs if they're not wearing meson scanners or equivalents.
- The crystal will irradiate nearby mobs. A radsuit or other protective clothing can negate this effect. IPCs are immune to this effect, but will still be irridated.
Anything that touches the crystal will be consumed and turned into dust. No exceptions. The only way to "safely" transport a shard is to pull it, being careful to not be pushed back into it by someone else.
If the crystal reaches 100% instability, it will delaminate. There are several different events that may happen when the crystal delaminates and they all depend on the state of the crystal during delamination.
- A crystal in a heavily pressurized gas environment with large amounts of moles will always collapse into a singularity.
- A crystal that has excessive amounts of power stored inside it will cause an explosion and release several tesla energy balls.
- A crystal that is neither heavily overpressurized or overcharged will simply explode.
Beyond the Safety: Improving the Power Output and Endangering Crew
Here are some pointers and hints on how to get more power out of this engine:
- Coordinate with other engineers. Don't just silently adjust gases and pumps or you might end up causing accidents or decreasing efficiency.
- Higher temperatures generate more energy.
- Higher amounts of oxygen moles result in more power.
- You can pump gas from the atmos mixing loop directly into the engine by using the orange pipe.
- The supermatter crystal will glow in a distinct orange color if the gas composition and pressure levels in the chamber are ideal. This will reduce the impact of heat on the generation of power.
- Consider setting the first filter of the loop to plasma. The supermatter produces plasma, which can be collected and used to refill the radiation collectors if the round goes on for too long.
- The gas loop isn't that efficient at roundstart! Consider tuning it to run better by replacing some of the pumps with volume pumps or adding better cooling.
- Gasses leaving the SM go straight to the heat exchangers then to the filters, this means you cool all your gasses and then remove gasses. If you filter first you can get improved cooling (since you don't waste energy cooling unused gas) allowing for more dangerous gasses to be used easier.
- Plasma is terrible inside of the SM, potentially worse than Carbon Dioxide. Despite being terrible inside the chamber, you can use it on the outside as a coolant.
- Producing loads of power sounds great, but as soon as you go over 5000 MeV/cm³ anomalies will start forming rapidly and the SM will likely delaminate.
- You can place 2 heat exchange pipes on one tile as long as one is horizontal and one is vertical, double the cooling power!
Coolant Loop - Hard Mode
Are you a ROBUST engineer? Do you WANT to be? If you want a more difficult setup, replace all gas pumps by turning them off, unwrenching them , then using a Rapid Pipe Dispenser to replace the pumps with straight pipe. To select the proper pipe, you must click the RPD in hand to open the menu. When doing this, also unwrench and straight pipe all gas pumps labelled "bypass". EVERY pump should be straight piped.
- Why: By removing the gas pumps you are effectively delimiting the circulation of the coolant. Gas escapes immediately and enters nearly-immediately. This is a "hard mode" setup because it cools substantially faster but also delaminates substantially faster. You can save a dying engine in single-digit integrities by straight piping the loop and adding coolant. When doing this setup, bypasses are no longer required, as gas exists ubiquitously throughout the system. The straight-piped bypasses then work as additional layers of security in the setup, ensuring gas flow and preventing leaks.
But I don't want to experiment!
- Grab N2O canisters from atmospherics
- Set one of the filters to allow N2O
- Wrench the N2O canister into place
- Add more reflectors
- Add more emitters
Troubleshooting AKA Oh god it's on fire what do I do!?
The supermatter's in trouble! You should be able to locate where the issue is from the screenshot alone. Here's the answer.
Handy Guide To SM Repair
Inspect the gas loop to confirm it is intact and operational.
Check the meters to quickly ascertain where a problem may lie.
If any of the meters report an unusually high or low amount of gas, then you're close to finding the issue!
Common gas loop failures include:
- Gas pumps are OFF or left on the wrong pressure (Crank them up to 4500kpa!).
- Gas filters are OFF or set to the wrong gas. Remember! Filters do not allow ANY gas to pass through if they're turned off! If you don't wish to filter anything, leave them online but set to filter nothing.
- Part of the coolant loop has been broken or unwrenched. You must don a space-worthy suit and go fix it! This may mean wrenching it back or recreating it with your RPD .
- Supermatter chamber air alarm has the vents improperly configured. Set them to internal, turn off external, make sure ON is toggled.
- Supermatter chamber scrubbers not siphoning or turned off. Set to siphoning, expanded range, and ON.
- One of the pipes has been broken or unwrenched. You can easily put it back in place with a wrench or recreate it with your RPD.
- Too much gas for standard setup! Remember that gas pumps are the lowest tier for circulation. If a section has too high of a pressure, the pumps cannot push anything more into it! This will cause a slow delamination.
- Too little gas! The more (cold) gas there is, the faster the gas will be able to siphon heat away from the crystal. A supermatter crystal in near-vacuum is just looking for an excuse to overheat.
- One or all of the tiles around the crystal is missing! This will siphon gases directly into space. Make sure they're built, replace any piping that might have existed there.
- The tile under the crystal is missing! Call the shuttle. Don't even attempt to put your hands near that thing!
- Did you set one of the air filters to N2O, as stated earlier in the guide? Bringing a container of N2O from atmospherics can extinguish flames inside the chamber without needing to risk firefighting. It also increases the power output of the SM!
Sabotaging the Supermatter
Want to sabotage the crystal but can't figure out how to pull it off? Here are some pointers and hints:
- You can break the APC of the room to stop all pipes and scrubbers from working.
- Cut cameras near the engine.
- Straight piping the supermatter coolant loop greatly increases the rate of delamination. It can also be saved easier, so ensure it is not corrected fast. A non-robust engineering department is doomed.
- Instead of turning off pumps and filters, you can just set them to extremely low values instead. They'll still appear to be working.
- Taking out all the engineers before attempting a delamination helps a lot.
- Opening a canister of plasma in engineering and igniting it will make it a lot harder for people to fix your sabotage. Even more effective if the radiation levels are high.
- Keep a flash or EMP on hand. The AI and its borgs are pretty much guaranteed to try and intervene to prevent harm.
- Stay around and pretend to be helping so you can undo all the repair attempts by other people.
- With a little bit of tinkering, you can sabotage the station's distribution loop by having the waste plasma get filtered to distribution.
These are the easiest to pull off and require no special conditions. You can cause a normal delamination by:
- Turning down or turning off gas pumps
- Turning off or changing the gas on a gas filter
- Unwrenching any pipe. Note: This will usually expel gases inside.
- Shooting guns at the crystal is extremely effective, but it's likely that you'll end up in the blast.
- Disabling the scrubbers or vents in the air alarm.
- Adding a very harmful gas like plasma, but make sure you have the gas filters set to allow it in circulation first.
- Stealth sabotage: Unwrench a portion of the space loop. Generally, no one looks in space to correct this, and it is not obvious a piece is not connected.
This kind of delamination requires careful gas management but is faster, far more destructive and there's a good chance it will irradiate, burn and shock the engineers who are trying to fix it.
- Wear as much radiation protection as you can. Hide or destroy the rest.
- Wear insulated gloves so you are not shocked by arcs. Destroy any other gloves remaining.
- Shut off all cameras.
- Keep the emitters online and firing. Add extra emitters if possible. You can swipe an ID to lock them, but the wires can still be cut.
- Break into atmos and configure pure CO2 to be sent to the engine coolant loop. A better way of doing this removing the pipe into atmos from space and rerouting it that so it cannot be turned off.
- Now to start the delamination. Set all air filters to CO2.
- If needed, enable the pipe of CO2 from atmos you configured earlier.
- Access the air alarm and turn off scrubbers. Pump as much CO2 into the chamber as possible.
- Sabotage entry to the room, and/or release plasma in the room around the SM chamber.
- The anomalies, gravity pulses and lightning arcs will quickly turn the engine room into a deathtrap. Make sure you have everything set up correctly before this starts happening.
- The engine will start broadcasting obvious and dire messages that something is very wrong over common radio frequencies. If comms are down, this is not a problem. Note: People carrying laptops can still see the engine status.
- Stick around only long enough to ensure it is not stopped.
Critical mass delamination
A critical mass delam is one of the more difficult methods. It takes longer and there is a chance it reverts to an overcharged delamination. It follows the steps of the previous delamination, but instead we will be pumping plasma from atmospherics. The goal is to have as much gases selected at the filters.
- Get the gear.
- Straight pipe the system.
- Cut the cameras.
- Select four different harmful gases - Oxygen, Plasma, Tritium, CO2. Alternatively if you immediately start pumping N2 from atmospherics to the SM at the start of the round it will delaminate within 12 minutes.
- Disable the scrubbers from the air alarm OR unwrench part of the pipe leading out.
- Sabotage the room.
- Stay close until it's too late to save.
- Run like hell.
Cold gas, a glowy crystal, some lasers, and you: A deeper dive into the Supermatter Engine
This is very rambly, but useful information will be given throughout. It's recommended to read it all, as it covers critical aspects of atmospherics functionality and, thus, the Supermatter. But if you just want the conclusion on a whole lot of theory, skim read the bulk of it but pay attention at the end.
The basics of gas. Rule 0 of atmospherics and the Supermatter
First things first, and extremely importantly: gas does not work like you think it does.
A common, and reasonable, misconception is that gas flows. In atmospherics, gas does not move from one pipe to another. Instead, gas “Exists omnipresently within a pipenetwork”. What this means is that gas within a pipenetwork (commonly referred to as just a pipenet) exists in perfect equilibrium of both gas and temperature. If you have a pipenetwork from one end of the universe to the other, and added let’s say 1 mole of oxygen, then there would immediately be gas at the other end of the universe. Every single pipe would have the exact same gas, at the exact same pressure, at the exact same temperature. Say we then add some N2O, then the exact same thing would happen. The gas, mixed perfectly with the oxygen, across every single pipe.
Now it’s important to clarify what exactly a pipenetwork is. A pipenetwork is any connection of pipes wherein a pipe can be traced to another pipe via at least 1 pipe. So it doesn’t matter how many pumps you have between your pipes if even 1 length of pipes can be traced around those pumps. At which point, it’s part of the same pipenetwork, and the pump is irrelevant.
This might sound a little weird. To clarify, don’t think of pipes like a method of transport. Nothing travels through pipes. Think of pipes like a container for gas.
For this, I like to use the basin analogy. Imagine you have 3 things: A basin or bucket or something similar, a cup, and some liquid. The pipes are the basin, the cups are the pumps, and the liquid is the gas. If you add something into the basin, it doesn’t travel in a direction towards the next area, it simply enters equilibrium with the rest of the contents (please ignore brownian motion for this analogy. If you don’t know what this is, good, it’s not helpful here). If you want to move something from one basin to another, you dip a cup in and pour it into the next basin. That’s how pumps work. They, like the cup, move the contents from one container to another in bulk loads.
Call back to what I said about pipenetworks and pumps a moment ago. Having a pump inside of a pipenetwork is like using your cup to take out of the basin and pour back into it. It accomplishes nothing, because the contents aren’t changing.
So with this in mind, how does clogging occur?
A horror story of pumps and hot gas
Pipes do not clog, period. Filters clog, pumps clog, scrubbers clog, vents can clog (depending on settings). But pipes, however, do not. There is no upper limit on the pressure of pipes. A pipe, in theory, can store infinite pressure and, thus, infinite gas.
However, there is an upper limit on what pressure pumps, filters, and scrubbers can get into pipes. This may sound similar, but it has large consequences.
For example, a pressure pump has a maximum pressure of 4500 kPa. That means that every time it pumps gas, it can move up to but no more than 4500 kPa of that gas. It also means that if the pressure of the pipenetwork it’s pumping into is equal to or greater than that value, it will be unable to move the gas. This is referred to as a pump becoming backed up or clogged.
To the right you'll find an image used earlier in this guide, but it is updated to show the separate pipenetworks the roundstart Supermatter has on Box station. Each of these pipenetworks is separate, but are in perfect equilibrium within themselves. So if you checked the gas in the green pipenetwork, it doesn’t matter where you checked, it would display the same. Likewise, the blue pipenet may be different than the green pipenet. But everywhere in the blue pipenetwork you check would, again, be identical to anywhere else in the blue pipenetwork.
But dear Mr. Guide Writer, why does this matter, at all? Why show me just how many pipenetworks exist in the round start setup, what does it matter? Two reasons.
- Pumps, filters, and mixers do not efficiently pump connected pipenetworks at all.
- Gas. as mentioned earlier, is always evenly spread through a pipenetwork and without direction to it. (“Gas exists omnipresently within a pipenetwork”)
Let's start with the first thing, pumps. All types of pumps (not filters and mixers and the like) have 200L volume in the small bit of pipe before them, and 200L in the small bit of pipe after them. As such, a volume pump pumps all the gas that is in that node to the other side of the pump, per second (the maximum pump rate for volume pumps is 200L/s). As such, if a pipe network has 2000L of volume, connected to a volume pump that is pumping at its max rate, it will pump 1/10th of all gas in the network, per second. However, you also have to take into account that it's always 1/10th of the gas that is in the pipes, as such, pumps will pump less moles of gas per second as there is less and less gas in the network before the pump.
Put simply, pumps exist to restrict and direct gas by their very nature. If you need to move gas from one place to another quickly, adding a pump will only slow it down. Starting to see where this is going? Well, there’s another reason pumps are bad, and it ties back in to the previous section.
Pumps have an upper-pressure limit, same for filters and mixers. For the gas pump, and the others, the pressure limit is plain to see, 4500 kPa. However, the volume pump also has a pressure limit, rated at 9000 kPa. Scrubbers in fact also have a pressure limit, sitting around 5200 kPa.
Gas pumps and mixers are especially poor, as their pumping slows down the closer they get to their pressure limit.
What does this mean for the Supermatter, especially in case of delamination? Well, the room is probably on fire, so the gas has expanded, which in turn makes it far more pressurized. The knock-on effect? Follow along with the image to the right. We’re starting at the left side of the central Supermatter chamber. The yellow pipenet before the red.
- Yellow: First, the scrubbers work their butt off to get to their pressure limit. The gas is hot, so that doesn't take very much.
- Red: While this happens, a gas pump takes the tiny amount of moles in the pipenetwork the scrubbers are connected to and shoves a small amount of it into the pipenetwork beyond it. Slowing down even further, as the gas is so hot it easily reaches the pressure limit.
- Blue: This then reaches the filter, which again tries to pump the small amount of moles beyond it, with another case of pressure limit slowness and the fact, not all gas is available for pumping at any moment.
Repeat the above for all the following pumps. Add to this the fact that the Supermatter produces plasma and oxygen, which are reacting with each other and burning in the pipes, likely pushing the pressure above the limits of what the pumps can handle and... well you got the point right? That’s what happening to your pumps every single time the Supermatter ignites.
Well, that all sounded horrid, how can we prevent this?
How removing pumps made me a billionaire
The title gives it away, really. You want to replace most pumps you can find with either straight pipes, or with valves to allow for easier modification and changing where the gas goes on the fly. ESPECIALLY THE FILTERS NEED TO EITHER BE REMOVED OR UTILISED PROPERLY IN THE CASE OF A DELAMINATION OR WHEN OPTIMISING.
Now, to explain why this is the proper option in most cases. As mentioned continuously, gas in a network is always evenly spread through all connected pipe. it's always the same ratio of gasses, it's always the same temperature. It’s always in perfect equilibrium in every sense of the word.
If you’ve been following along, then you likely know what this means. By replacing all the pumps up to the space loop with pipes, clogging is no longer an issue. The gas will leave the supermatter and immediately be cooled by space. No delay, no travelling, because the pipe connected to the scrubber holds the exact same amount, temperature, etc as any of the pipes in the space loop (marked as Green)
But, why stop there? You already know that gas doesn’t travel inside of pipenetworks, so these other two pumps (Blue to Red | Green to Red) aren’t actually assisting in cooling after all* (There will be a small note at the end of this section) so why not simply replace them with pipes? Well, that has an added bonus. In a standard setup, or any setup which stops gas flowing from Blue to Red, the only connection between the gas return filters (Green circled filters at the bottom) is the heat exchange pipes in the space loop. If somewhere were to cut one, then the gas could no longer reach the return filters. Eventually the supermatter would run out of coolant, and a delam would begin.
But, say those pumps were both turned into pipes. Well, then cutting a single pipe in the space loop would do next to nothing. We’d lose the gas from that one cut pipe, but the rest of the piping is still connected, and the engine continues safely. You won’t even notice the change.
“Wait!” you may be thinking, “the pipes will leak!”
Thankfully, that makes far too much sense for atmospherics. Pipes don’t leak. At all. Now, the gas that was within that specific pipe will be expelled into the air, yes. But the gas from other pipes can and will not exit out of the newly made ‘opening’, if you can call it that.
So that’s two very nice bonuses. Gas is immediately cooled, and the supermatter is harder to tamper with. It’d would be fine if that was all these changes gave us. There’s one more nice bonus, though.
The volume of the pipenetwork is increased massively. Pumps, as we’ve discussed, have a pressure limit. The greater the number of pipes in front of a pump, the greater the volume that the pump perceives, and the more gas it can put in. Put simply, if you have a single pipe of 4500 kPa, a pressure pump cannot continue pumping. Add another pipe, and suddenly it’s 2250 kPa each, and the pressure pump will continue until both pipes are 4500 kPa. Every time a pipe is added, the ‘capacity’ increases. By replacing all these pumps with pipes you have changed a number of pipenetworks of only 10-20 each to a full pipenetwork of 50+. Suddenly the scrubbers don’t have to worry about pressure as much, especially on top of the instant cooling.
Lastly, though only vaguely related, keep your vents on internal 0, not on external 5000. Vents do not actually have a pressure limit at all. They can continue to add pressure constantly, however, they do work faster if the chamber they are connected to is lower pressure, and the gas they're pumping is cold, but this is always true. Essentially, vents pump a static amount of pressure when they're at maximum speed. If nothing very, very strange is happening, the gas that the vents are attempting to pump in is colder than what is in the chamber, as it already went through the cooling part of the pipes. As such, having the vents on internal 0, and with it, always pumping the hardest they can, they are adding gas that is colder than what is currently in the chamber itself. This contributes to the cooling down of the chamber, and is often enough to prevent a heat delamination by itself.
External 5000 suffers from the same issues as a pump does, vents will completely stop pumping in gas when the room it is trying to pump into is 5000 kPa or above, which happens fairly quickly in a small room that is white hot. So remember, internal 0, unless there is too much gas in the room (see singularity delamination).
* The small note at the end of the section: You can consider placing restrictive pumps in certain areas so hot gas can't travel through quickly and give it more time to cool, though there are often better ways to do this that are less dangerous. Still, the option is there.
Breaking the laws of thermodynamics and a final word
Freezers. That is all. Freezers are magical machines that break the laws of thermodynamics by even existing and work to extremely quickly heat or cool gas to the temperature they are set at. They are much, much quicker than space could ever hope to be when upgraded, and even colder. Space, at its coldest, is about 26K. Freezers can go as low as 2.7K when fully upgraded, and are much quicker at cooling.
A word of warning, however. Freezers will attempt to change the temperature of the gas that is in them to the temperature it is set at, this seems obvious, but that also means it can heat gas. As space is around 26K, and unupgraded freezers only go to 73.15K. As the gas is returning from space, this will often serve the heat the gas. However, as 73.15K is still far cooler than any worrisome temperature for the Supermatter, it’s worth considering leaving them on depending on your setup. As during a delam, gas can return from the space loop still warmer than you’d like it, and it adds a second layer of security just in case. Especially if something… Unfortunate happens to the piping out there.
If you somehow read through all that, I very strongly applaud you, and I applaud you on likely becoming an engineer that is a few times less clueless. Despite all the things you now may know, there is a lot to experiment with, and lots of ways left to mess up in spectacular ways. Try to keep learning more and more as you go, and good luck in your attempts to not blow up the station.
How to cool your Supermatter to where it may become a problem
Normally, most people just throw this away at the start of the shift but your tablet has a program to monitor the SM. You should keep your tablet on this instead of having to go to the computer every time you want to look at its status.
Pressure vs. Volume
Normally, your Supermatter is equipped with pressure pumps which max out at 4500 kPa, the problem is that they aren't that fast. In theory Volume pumps are just as fast, but they can pump until 9000 kPa. This means that in case of a heat delamination they can continue pumping even when normal gas pumps would already have given up. By replacing everything that uses pressure pumps to volume pumps you can make the cooling of your SM a lot faster.
The even faster way to cool your SM is to remove all of your pumps except for the ones infront of the canisters and the atmos to loop pump and then replace all of your pumps with pipes after. Pipes have no upper pressure limit, so they will never get clogged. Another benefit of straight-piping is that gas is omnipresent within a pipenet, meaning that if you have no pumps between your scrubbers and the space loop your gas is going to get cooled immediately!
The other layers
A huge part of the SM is the speed you can get gasses from the scubbers to the vents, the first and third layer helps a ton with this. By setting all your things with layer adaptors behind them and a device for every layer you can make everything a lot faster.
Filtering with the other layers
Normally you get 4 filters all on the second layer, but these are useless and just slow down the unfiltered gasses. Instead of having one filter you're gonna need 3 filters with layer adaptors before them.
Each filter normally filters at 200 L/s but with the layer adapators you're gonna get to 600 L/s, making your gas a lot faster since all filters can move the gas at the same time (Since gas is omnipresent within a pipenet) instead of moving it from one filter to the next.
You are also gonna need two of these for the next cooling strategy, one for going into the cooling loop and one for going into the SM.
Plasma may be seen as a gas that can heat up quickly and makes fires, but it can be used to cool down your SM way more. The reason for that is that Plasma has a very high heat capacity (200) compared to other gases (for example, Nitrogen has a heat capacity of 20). The higher the heat capacity, the more energy it takes to raise the temperature of the gas. So you could disconnect the space loop from the rest of the cooling loop, fill it with plasma and connect both loops with heat exchangers so the cold plasma cools down the gas inside the normal cooling loop.
Plasma can keep a very cold temperature for a long time and if you filter it out of the SM into the cold loop and use it for further cooling you can keep your SM very cold.
Space cooling with the other layers
Just what it sounds like, add 2 more layers to your space cooling and it provides a great boost to how cold your SM is.
The freezers you are given can be your savior but also your demise. The problem is unless you have upgraded their parts to T4 parts (the bluespace ones) it will actually heat up your gas instead of cooling it down. If you ever turn these on it will provide a great cooling boost but is not recommended below T4 parts or in an emergency.
The useless Additions
The pump infront of the SM, the bypass pump. I don't even know why it exsists but you should always remove this and change the pipes from manifolds to normal pipes. Edit: I was told this was used so rather then pumping gas into the SM you could put it into the cold loop to keep gas colder, but I've never used this myself.
The Filter to canister in the upper left corner of the cooling loop can be useful if you want to farm gases like Pluoxium with a CO2 SM, but in most cases you should remove this and replace it with a normal pipe so your coolant isn't getting slowed down on the way to the space loop.
However, you can also place a layer adaptor in front and after the filter and connect it with a straight pipe on another layer. Through that, the gas will not be slowed down because it can travel through the normal pipes, but you can also farm gases because the filter is still functional, meaning this setup has no real downsides.
Normally a SM has unary vents which if you set your air alarm up correctly will try to deplete its pipes to 0 kPa. Passive vents however link the atmosphere to the pipes, so the scrubbers will be scrubbing directly from the pipes and it will make gases going into the SM a lot faster. Be very careful when putting these into the SM room, one touch of the SM and you are dead. It is also recommended to put a holofan infront of the SM so gas isn't leaked. Also, this will cause your SM to lose gas because the gas goes into the pipes so make sure everything else is ready before putting these in.
Scrubbing and cooling under the SM
Putting things under the SM is dangerous, but if you want to cool it more this is the next step and recommended for setups that involve dangerous gases. By alt-clicking the SM you can view the floor under it and put pipes and devices under the SM. You're gonna need heat transfer pipes and scrubbers.
The scrubbers should not be scrubbing all the air but instead should be scrubbing all the O2 so a fire doesn't start and heat up the SM a ton.
The Heat Transfer Pipes
By adding heat transfer pipes with plasma and freezers hooked up to them you can greatly cool the SM. But if you change these to heaters you can also greatly heat the SM, resulting in a delamination. The freezers have to be equiped with Tier 4 parts or they will not cool the SM enough.
Once reaching 5k MeV (More at 7k MeV, however 5k is the safe upper limit), 7000 Kelvin or enough pressure, anomalies will start appearing outside the SM. This is a big problem because of their affects:
The easiest way to prevent anomalies from causing harm in engineering is completely removing all floor tiles leaving the cold space surrounding the SM, wrenching or remove anything that can move and welding the regular vents and scrubbers around the engine. Make sure you have a spacesuit or hardsuit of course.
Don't forget that these anomalies can yield anomaly cores which science loves.
The Pyroclastic Anomaly
The Pyroclastic Anomaly will spew out burning plasma and slimes which can make it very hard to contain the SM because everyone without sufficent heat protection will burn to death, or if you somehow survive the fire you will be greeted by very angry slimes. The best way to reduce the affect of this anomaly will be spacing the area around the SM so all the plasma from the anomaly will go into space and no fire will start. The slimes will also die from space if you do this because slimes do not like cold things. However, make sure to avoid the slimes because they do cellular damage which is very hard to heal.
The Gravitational Anomaly
The Gravitational Anomaly will pull anything unwreched and unanchored in its surrounding to itself. While not directly harmful, it can be quite annoying because it can throw you around aswell (This can be stopped by wearing magboots). It can also cause all the slimes from the pyroclastic anomalies to get sucked into the SM and slam them into it, causing a boost in MeV. This may be funny when it first happens, however the resulting power boost can result in even more anomalies or speed the delamination up.
The Shock (Flux) Anomaly
The Flux Anomaly is probably the most dangerous anomaly, as it can easily just shock you in a corner and kill you. Not even wearing a hardsuit and insulated gloves will protect you, so avoid these at all costs or you may die easily.