Warp cores use a huge amount of energy to create a warp field, and then a comparatively lesser amount of energy to maintain it. At warp 1, this is 20 gigajoules and 200 megajoules, respectively. Is it possible for two or more warp cores to be used together to augment each other, or do the warp fields not stack? In quantum computing for example, you can't create a 50 qubit system by combining two 25 qubit systems. Would the same apply for warp fields created by warp cores?

This question was inspired by another question where the answer theorized that hundreds of small warp cores would be needed to generate a sufficiently large warp field to bring a large ship to warp.

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    What would be the point of having two warp fields? One you've got one, you've got one.
    – Valorum
    Apr 2, 2018 at 7:06
  • @Valorum Because lager warp fields are required to travel at high warp or to move large objects at warp.
    – forest
    Apr 2, 2018 at 7:12
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    I'm thinking about all the ships with only one warp core and one warp field
    – Valorum
    Apr 2, 2018 at 8:30
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    My (limited) understanding of warp fields is that they distort spacetime to create a sort of "wave" (I've heard it called a bubble) that pushes the ship faster than light. Having two warp fields would then be a bubble inside a bubble, but I don't think you would move faster than the outer bubble allowed. Either that or the inner bubble might eject you from the outer bubble... I don't know what happens then. Also, if the two fields are not kept perfectly aligned, you end up changing directions at warp speed, which, barring a single TOS reference, I seem to recall being a bad thing.
    – Steve-O
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:41
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    The term "warp core" is somewhat erroneous. It's actually a matter/anti-matter reactor, and used to generate power for the whole ship. It is commonly referred to as a "warp core" because the warp drive (the two nacelles) is the single most power-hungry component. Other things can be powered by lesser sources than a M/AMR. For the Federation and Klingons (Romulans use a artificial quantum singularity), a M/AMR is the only way to generate enough power for a warp drive in a small enough package to put in a ship.
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 3, 2018 at 13:29

1 Answer 1


Warp fields don't stack, i.e., generating two separate warp one fields will not result in travel at warp two, or even warp 1.4. As you say, they behave like car engines - you might be able to get more acceleration with two engines, but you won't increase your top speed.

The best example of this is in “Divergence” when the warp fields of the Enterprise and the Columbia are merged together. There is some turbulence when the warp fields first meet, but the ships maintain a steady course and Tucker transfers from one to the other, though the merged field, without being catapulted forwards. The tether is lost due to field fluctuations, but it falls behind the two ships, not forwards.

Additionally, going back to the beginning of Enterprise, the first human warp five drive was a very big deal, only possible through the genius of Archer's father and only after a long and expensive research project. If it were even theoretically possible to stack a bunch of warp engines together, they'd certainly have already tried.

This doesn't rule out the possibility in theory of using a number of small warp fields to move a larger vessel, but I don't think that's what you mean by "stacking" in this context. The events of “Divergence” does strongly suggest that such a piecemeal field would be very unstable, as does the fact that no known vessels in the Star Trek universe have more than one warp core.

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