What Are Dilithium Crystals?

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Dilithium Crystals are a long running staple of Warp Drive technology in Star Trek. From the Federation to the Romulan Star Empire, most aliens use them in some capacity to achieve warp speeds and faster than light travel. But how is this done and where does the Dilithium come from? Let’s take a look at the lore of these pink crystals.

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Chapters
00:00 What is Dilithium?
02:23 Acquiring Dilithium
05:30 Dilithium Mines
06:45 Refined Dilithium
07:43 Dilithium in Warp
11:28 The Dilithium Trade
14:00 Conclusion

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7. The Contest Giveaway ends on 15/03/2024 at 19:30 PM GMT.
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Star Trek: Resurgence created by Dramatic Labs and published by Dramatic Labs, Bruner House and Epic Games
Star Trek Online developed by Cryptic Studios and Perfect World.
Star Trek Picard/Strange New Worlds/Lower Decks/Enterprise/Voyager/Deep Space Nine/Discovery and The Next Generation are all owned by Paramount Pictures/CBS and distributed by CBS.
This Video is for critical purposes with commentary.

65 Comments

  1. Can you use a tranporter on a refined piece of dilithium? Why not beam it all out?

  2. One of the problems making a video like this is how wonky, varied, and contradictory Dilithium lore is. I thought the warp field was generated by the nacelles themselves. All the warp core was supposed to do was convert the energy created by matter/anti-matter annihilation into a tuned stream of plasma that was sent to the warp nacelles, and that shifted the plasma into subspace domains. Dilithium was used because, when energized, was non-reactive with antimatter, so it could be used to focus the antimatter and matter streams on one another and also focus the resulting plasma stream. (That's how the Tech manual for the Enterprise D described it, anyways.) On the other hand, there is also stuff in the original D-Tech Manual that DOES describe the warp core as the center of the warp field (which is not at all how Roddenberry described it – he described the warp field as happening directly between the two nacelles (which is why there had to be nothing between the two nacelles like the hull of your Roundabout).
    In TOS, and even in the supplementary material for the movies, the actual purpose of dilithium was never actually described (Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise just labels a "dilithium reactor" next to the intermix shaft where the matter/anti-matter reactions are going on – nothing about what sort of reaction is actually happening inside). Throughout Beta Canon there are a multitude of explanations for the purpose of dilithium, including Dilithium's crystalline structure being 4-dimensional (something physicists have actually discovered – iron oxide cooled to super-cold temperatures actually shifts into a 4-D structure – #StarTrekCalledIt). In one or two of the novels I remember reading it's used like a control rod in the matter/anti-matter reaction, in others its almost like some sort of fuel source.

  3. Used dilithium is a desert topping popular at Horta birthday parties.

  4. If Voyager is to be taken as cannon, Humans are the 2nd space faring race to have evolved on earth. Perhaps the reason there is so little is because the dinosaurs that left for the delta quadrant stripped what they could from the planet.

  5. Why no mention of Praxis? The Klingons over mined their main dilithium moon(local moon of Qo'noS in STO) and caused the same instability you mensioned causing it to explode. This disaster brought them to the negotiating table at Khitomer to end any conflict with the Federation.

  6. Discovery sucks… never mention that travesty.

  7. Can we get a video on Currencies and trading in the Star Trek universe?

  8. Good video… though, i'm kinda disappointed that you're deliberately excluding those of us who DON'T use twitter, from the giveaway.

  9. Lol thumbnail looks like energon from transformers

  10. It's amazing how detailed everyone gets about something that doesn't even exist.

  11. Its kind of odd that "spend" crystals can't be recrystalized given thats what they do in refining and warp cores.
    A spend crystal must somehow lose its warp properties and therefore become either a different element or isotope of dilithium which makes one wonder if recycling is possible given treks ability to somewhat freely change atoms.
    The main problem seems to be uts subspace atributes which leads to the question how species in subspace precieve dilithium or interact with it. Aka do they see dilithium mining as some rocks suddenly moving/changing form if they habitate a point in subspace that is close to/overlaps a mine/refinery ? Or what happens if a particular deposit prospected gets also interacted with in subspace i wonder how freaked out Star fleet would be if a big chunk of dilithium suddenly did strange stuff because a subspace artist decided to craft an artpiece out of it (if its manifested like a material in his point of view).

  12. With an atomic number like that it'd be really really really really really heavy unless it wasn't a dense material.

  13. So….what did Zefram Cochrane use for HIS warp reactor???

  14. This feels like a chemistry lesson, and I’m here for it.

  15. I really bet 119 is going to be called dilithium.

  16. The original sources for Star Trek almost all have changed. So what you said is as true as possible for a fictional thing!

  17. Pardon my ignorance. You said this was a finite resource. What happens when it runs out!?

    Reminds of Dune and the Spice trade.

  18. The spent crystals are stored in the walls of federation ships as some form of insulation. You can see this as whenever there's an explosion there's always a large amount of ROCKS thrown everywhere.

  19. A far simpler way would be to have Matter and Anti Matter destroy each other.
    Dilithium is the only material that can withstand that reaction, and can transform the heat energy produced in to electrical energy by some form of pizo effect. And everything slse is done after that with magnets.

  20. Maybe THATS where all the rocks in the exploding consoles come from!

  21. The giveaway is awesome. I dont have and wont use Twitter so I wont try but i think thats awesome you are able to give away 10. To bad because im pretty sure i know the phrase.

  22. Nice video. You should totally do a look at Minovsky physics in the Universal Century Gundam universe.

  23. can't private message you on X buddy because it requires you to be a paying member now. good luck with the giveaway

  24. the federation forgot how to regrow crystals in the 32nd century like from star trek 4

  25. Didnt they made it Canon in discovery that this Queen made it possible to recrystalise dilithium ? (I hate it because of Star Trek 4)

  26. It's a bummer that the giveaway is only via a platform I've abandoned. 🙁

  27. Gets thrown in with the poop to replicate food mmmm

  28. Well atomic number 87 is francium … and I am willing to wager that if 119 would be on the island of stability it still would be radioactive … however even if not prewarp species would have little trouble noticing that it aint no quartz … they really did themselfs now favour when claiming that its an element with a specific number why not make it a compound of different elements ? As soon as you claim a certain atomic number there will be a time when we find this element and the illusion is gone … but what am I saying star trek also has the eugenic wars in the 90ties soooo

  29. As I understand it, dilithium doesn’t make matter/antimatter into a subspace field. It converts the explosive force of the matter/antimatter annihilation into pure plasma energy. The nacelles convert the plasma energy into the warp/subspace field via the warp coils.

  30. Don’t federation star ship store it as slush form in tanks

  31. Story wise dillihium is a plot cheat. In a galaxy that is largely scarcity free (due to technologic advances) dilithium exists to give Stat Trek a scarce resource.

  32. 0:40 This scene just made me wish my ship in STO would continue traveling while I'm wandering the inside. It's an insignificant thing in the grand scheme of the game, but it breaks immersion for me.

  33. I just had a thought. Why didn't advanced civilizations ever figure out how to grow dilithium? It's a crystal like any other and it could be possible to spur growth, given it's surrounded by the proper fuel elements.

  34. 8:53 Another thought. Was dilithium ever referenced or mentioned by Zephrym Chochrin in First Contact? I can't even remember if dilithium was used in the Phoenix's warp drive.

  35. 8:40 That must be one of those things that has changed in the lore, because I don't remember that being the case at all. It used to be that a warp reactor, or a M/ARA (matter/antimatter reaction assembly) is how you got the energy in the first place. Deuterium (the matter) and anti-deiterium (the antimatter) are channeled through the reactor via magnetic suspension to mutually annihilate and release their energy. That energy is then sent to the warp nacelles in the form of warp plasma. That plasma interacts with the verterium cortenide of the warp coils and that is what creates the warp field. Send more fuel in the warp reactor, get more warp plasma for the nacelles, and energize the warp coils in quicker sequence and that is how you go faster.

    The only role dilithium plays in this is by making it safer to send more fuel into the reactor, because it's "matter" that doesn't react with antimatter, at least under the right conditions. Yes, there's a subspace component to it, but that subspace component is not actually related to the warp field itself.

  36. I find it very hypocritical that you have such spite towards the episode Threshold that you won't even name it but you have no issue taking "the burn" from STD seriously, when that was on par if not worse.

  37. Does anyone think that kyber crystals could be used the same way as dilithium crystals?

  38. Yeah no, the "Burn" never happened, STD is non canon.

  39. 5:29; Dare I ask, Which episode is the 'episode that shall not be named'? The Warp 10 episode to be exact.

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