Well, I was thinking. How vulnerable are nacelles to whatever extreme things they are exposed to. I mean, in TWOK we saw the Relaint losing an entire nacelle and in theory it could have 'survived' (it only blew up by Khan deploying Genisis). Further in time: TNG: I guess it was Cause and Effect. The Enterprise gets bumped into, and directly hit a nacelle, the ship explodes. Next Galaxy class, in DS9 The Jem'Hadar. A bug flies into the Oddesey, a chunk of ... something smashed into her nacelle, the ship blew up. Would it still have exploded if nothing had hit the nacelle? And finally in Voyager: Equinox pt2. Voyager fires a couple of torpedo's into Equinox's nacelle. they are badly damaged, but the vessel could have survived if the aliens didn't attack the warpcore. So do Galaxy class ships have weaker nacelles or is this a misinterpretation of mine? *ps. I deliberately left Enterprise out of this
While vulnerable on themselves i do not believe them to be the huge liability to warpcore stability as the shows would like us to believe. I think there are plenty of safety systems in place to prevent "feedback" from a damaged nacelle from causing a catastrophic failure.
The fact ships keep blowing up when their nacelle's get shot off may have something to do with before mentioned safety systems being off line due to system failiure elsewhere. Something as crucial as the warp core ejection system loved to do that at the most critical times.
But more than likely it's another excuse they had to make up for the way trek ships tended to explode and leave nothing behind 99% of the time. Its cheaper to have spick und span model A vanish into a generic explosion instead of having the model picked apart piece by piece until nothing remains but a dead hulk.
And of course, when the enterprise under command of Picard gets shot to hell and back by two army surplus bird of preys in 5 seconds flat.. shit, a micrometeor could critically damage the thing. Take it with a grain of salt i say.
tas, which episode are you refering to in the end of your post?
It may be that post TMP ships might be more susceptible to a critical hit to the nacelle. The thing with TMP ship is that the nacelles are not charged when they are not in warp. The way you can see this is that the only time the inboard side of the TMP nacelles glow blue is when they are at warp. Once they drop out of warp, the nacelles are powered down and the blue glow disappears.
In TNG the nacelles don't appear to be fully powered down.
the Grills and the Bussard collectors yeah.
I think it all depends on the point of impact.
At any given time you have plasma and hydrogen in the nacelles. Since there isnt any air in space, its hard for things to explode, so maybe its a case by case basis when good nacelles go bad.