Minovsky Particles were used in the crucial particle weapons used by both militaries in the One Year War. These particles, developed by the Belorussian Zeon scientist Minovsky, are able to be charged with an extremely strong electrical charge, and large amounts of these particles dispersed over an area are able to absorb electromagnetic radiation. This particle's role in Mobile Suit maneuver warfare lead to the Battle of Loum between the Earth and the Moon.
In the days of war, the large numbers of nuclear weapons used released a considerable amount of plasma into satellite orbit, which then combined with the 'Minovsky effect' to make long range wireless and radar completely useless. This lead to the current standard of using laser communications for all long range transmissions, and while transmission of even video images over the relatively short range of 10Km is still possible, the current state of communications has nearly returned to the level of the early radios used in the Second World War.
Development of Minovsky Physics
Minovsky particles can disrupt radio waves, which means that guided weapons are rendered ineffective, which then allowed Mobile Suit close range combat to appear.
This also served as more realistic background setting material for the Gundam world, which helps to provide answers to questions like: what kind of reactor powers the Gundam? How can the un-aerodynamic White Base can perform atmospheric reentry (setting aside the issue of cooling such large, flat, external hull plates). How is the White Base able to fly at such low altitudes and at such a low speed? Why can the White Base launch into orbit from Earth's surface without extra boosters and with such low G acceleration? These questions can all be answered by application of Minovsky Physics, and allows the fiction of the Gundam setting to become more realistic.
Examples of Minovsky Physics
Nuclear Fusion Reactor
Everything can be said to start from the return of Shallia Bull from Jupiter, where the Gundam world's practical use of Helium-3 collected from Jupiter to power its nuclear reactors was detailed. More efficient and safer than nuclear fission reactors, the first to construct a real fusion reactor was Y.T. Minovsky. Mechanical means to contain the plasma generated as part of a nuclear fusion reactor do not exist, so superconducting magnets are used to maintain a field, but are typically far too large to be of practical use.
Minovsky Fusion Reactor
|Even with the move from an experimental reactor to a production type, the reactor has drastically decreased in size. Even just simply packaging the outside of the reactor, it is very easy to install on a warship.|
Until, however, a key particle denied to exist in current physics could be discovered according to Minovsky's own independent particle theories... However, the world's physicists, with their many failed experiments, were not comfortable with the unknown youngster who had created a miniaturized fusion reactor. Other researchers, concluding that the Minovsky particle was a product of his imagination, banished Minovsky from scientific societies.
With the progression of Zeonism in Side 3, Degwin Zabi, who had seized power, invited Minovsky to the Republic of Zeon with promises to support his research. Side 3, lacking resources, had been developing closed colonies to increase the amount of livable space in a colony, and if Minovsky's theories proved true, could provide artificial suns for these closed colonies.
Succeeding with the creation of these artificial suns for closed colonies, Minovsky looked to the Zabi family's guarantee, and immersed himself in his long-neglected research, and with new theories, succeed in developing a reactor. Using the feedback from the Minovsky particles produced by a Helium-3 fusion reaction to control the reaction, a miniaturized high output fusion reactor was created, heralding the beginning of a new era.
Nuclear Fusion Reaction Diagram
Helium-3 Nuclear fusion creates high temperature, high pressure plasma in the reactor core is enveloped by Minovsky particles and contained within the reactor, while simultaneously emitting Minovsky particles. When operational, Minovsky particles can be extracted from the reactor as well.
Minovsky Particle Scattering
Minovsky Particle Emitter
Minovsky Particles released by an Emitter disperse in a cubic lattice.
Usage of Minovsky Particles
The "Minovsky Physics Society" founded at Side 3 refined a vital part of the reactor - the Minovsky Particle Emission equipment - and began research purely on the properties of Minovsky particles themselves. The results of this research found that the field surrounding the particles had some unique properties - particularly that the positive rest mass of the particles was nearly zero as the neagtively charged particles would form a cubic lattice and generate a magnetic field. Though usually illustrated as a cubic shape, dependent on the terrain it was also seen to drift similar to a sea of clouds. In outer space, the particles would rapidly disperse equidistant to each other.
Radio Wave Interference
As Minovsky particles are dispersed, they accelerate at a speed proportional to the square of the distance between particles. If the particles are emitted at a constant concentration, a dense Minovsky belt will be created with a radius of tens of kilometers which will make transmission impossible. At a distance of about 100 kilometers, the dispersal speed means that the effects will decrease.
Additionally, the dispersal speed is not affected by vacuum or atmosphere.
At combat density, the dispersion also causes infrared light transmission to be significantly cut,
(without distortion or mirage effects) with some reports that the color red becomes somewhat more difficult to see.
The most notable point is that 99% of electromagnetic waves are obstructed, and as even radiation is obstructed, military uses were also researched.
Radio Wave interference diagram
At maximum combat density, a 40km diameter radius is created where radar guided missiles and communications to other ships in range cannot be used. At 80km, voice transmission is possible with some additional noise. This means that the ship itself is limited to only laser communications, so the Minovsky Craft system is generally not used when conducting independent maneuvers. (Also, the presence of a Minovsky particles in 'empty' airspace is a sure indicator of enemy presence)
This system allowed the White Base to perform extremely low altitude flight at low speeds. While other systems consume considerable amounts of fuel to hover, this system is able to function as long as particles are being emitted during reactor operation, thanks to the Minovsky craft effect.
Minovsky emitters located on the bottom of the ship spread Minovsky particles, which form into a standard cubic lattice model. When a charge is applied to the particles, they are able to act as a special force field. This field, known as the 'I-field', causes a repellent force to emanate from the hull, allowing it to float.
It should not be misinterpreted as the ship floating on an I-field 'cushion' between the hull and the ground, as the I-field is composed of Minovsky particles, since as long as the White Base's engine output remains constant, the ship could ascend to the stratosphere on the I-field.
Though there should be no direct effect on MS, as the properties of the I-field still carry the Minovsky effect, so it is still disruptive to electromagnetic waves. In peacetime, use of the Minovsky craft system typically causes a number of complaints from civilians in the area of the Minovsky craft's operation, making it a very unpopular aspect of military technology.
* I-field diagram
|As the Minovsky particles are emitted as a charged particle belt known as an 'I-field', the ship's hull emits a repulsive force, allowing to ship to operate as if it was in a low-gravity environment.|
Since the engine output is not perfect, the ship is unable to achieve orbital trajectory, but as the ship is floating on the I-field, very little engine thrust is needed for forward propulsion. The sand and dust in this picture is caused by the air pressure changes from the ship.
In the case of ships that were not designed with aerodynamics in mind, simply having sufficient capacity to cool the outer hull is not the only issue faced during atmospheric re-entry; the high airspeed turbulence can cause a ship to break apart regardless of how strongly constructed the ship is.
Thus, an I-field to envelope the ship as a barrier was developed. Emitting Minovsky particles from the bow of the ship, the Minovsky particles envelop the ship in a mass of protected, ionized air, which reduces heat from friction by lowering air resistance, and allows the ship to avoid severe vibrations.
|By creating a shell of ionized air using an I-field during atmospheric re-entry, a teardrop shaped barrier is created.|
Practical Realization of Minovsky Particles
As the miniaturized fusion reactor was developed into the mobile super-minaturized fusion reactor, Zeon's weapon development program also saw great progress. As guided weapons were useless in a battlefield space saturated with Minovsky particles, research was also begun on combat methods under these conditions.
Two conclusions were reached: Mobile Suits, which could maneuver into close range combat, and warships mounting mega particle cannons, and research would focus on these two areas, and despite the relatively resource-poor state of the Principality of Zeon, the results were quickly realized.
Though relatively large, the Fusion reactors installed on warships allowed extremely high power output, allowing beam weapons with unheard of strength which surpassed all other contemporary beam weapons: 'mega particle cannons'.
With super-miniaturized reactors completed for use in Mobile Suits, effective tactical weapons were created, and the Zaku MS were put into full production.
Mega Particle Cannons
The first beam weapons put into practical use were lasers, which led to the development of charged particle weaponry. Rather than lasers, which emit beams at the speed of light, beam weapons like ionized particle weapons allow a greater energy density. While an increase in available power typically results in increased beam weapon strength, with mega particle cannons, Minovsky Particles are fired in a near-plasma state which allow for extremely effective and destructive weapons.
Generators create electrical power, and 20th century nuclear generators have poor electrical generation efficiency. It could even be said that a fission reactor is essentially a giant steam turbine electrical generator. Within the Gundam universe, the fusion reactors are essentially able to perfectly convert their energy to electricity and function as generators, and Mobile Suits are able to use these generators to drive their pulse motors.
For example, the Gundam produces 65000 horsepower, not including the combined output of verniers and motors, but has considerably more additional electrical power which is used to fire the battleship-grade beam rifle. Amuro Rei's surprised statement: 'the energy gain is five times as much', leading to the inference that the Gundam must be able to store power five times the lower limit stated power capacity. However, rapid fire from the beam rifle would quickly deplete the stored energy capacity before safety devices engage and prevent further firing and depletion of the energy reserves. However, if a non-beam weapon like a bazooka is used, the reactor will be able to replenish the energy reserves and the rifle will again be available for use. The most dangerous situation would be seen when the Gundam was attacked by the Adzam's leader weapons, with all available energy being used to cool the outer plating, and the Gundam being rendered unable to move, leading to emergency alarms and computer messages being triggered.
Source: Mobile Suit Gundam Encyclopedia: The One Year War Revised Edition. Rapport Deluxe 1991