"please explain the fluid physics in this game" is a loaded question, you have no idea. Suffice to say that the way it works creates oddities, artifacts, if you run into them don't tear your hair out. If you want to know about pipes to exchangers, look at my post right above yours, it says how many segments you're allowed to have with runs of 8, 10 and 12 exchangers (spoiler, 12 doesn't work), and kind of explains how to see for yourself.factoriouzr wrote:...
Can someone please explain the fluid physics in this game and how to overcome this limitation. Is there some magic ratio of one row of pipes for x heat exchangers or something? ...
I'm going to address a bunch of your other posts, I don't feel like going back and quoting them individually, you'll know what I'm responding to.
Placement order of everything in the game which involves fluids, influences how the fluid flows. The most you can do to guarantee artifacts aren't getting in the way (such as an intersection starving a row of fluids when it really makes no sense), is place everything in the same order that you expect fluids to flow. Reactors and heat pipes also qualify, though the "fluid" in the heat pipes seems to be heat itself. If that doesn't do the trick, and you're sure that you're not expecting too much throughput from a single pipeline, just avoid intersections and stick to serial pipelines.
As for the question of pumps seemingly dropping throughput instead of increasing it. Yes, they will do that if you don't know the um, trick of how to use them for maintaining throughput in a long pipeline. The reason for this is not due to artifacts of physics implementation, however if it were implemented better at least you'd be less inclined to suspect that it's an artifact, more likely to assume that it can be fixed through design, which it can be. The way to do this is not by having more frequent pumps in the line, rather you have to have multiple pumps in parallel, a series of "pump stations" if you will. They can be spaced out pretty far. There's a thread somewhere that shows exactly how many pumps you need per station, how far apart, to retain whatever throughput you want. The best way to think of fluid physics in this game is not as pressure, but as volumes of incompressible fluid (even if it's a gas, pretend it's a liquid) in a series of boxes, a long trough, like a Roman aqueduct except it's flat instead of angled downward, and it has a roof to limit capacity and prevent overflow, with either a A] vent in the roof for air as level rises but doesn't vent the desired fluid, or B] vacuum above the desired fluid. Then, the operation of the pumps clumped into stations makes much more intuitive sense, and you can understand why this is how it has to be done. Fluid flows naturally toward the pumps, they can only pump as much fluid as they receive, and the flow rate on the output side depends on how high they can get the height of the fluid. Also, think of the pumps as compressors, such as one might use with incompressible fluids, whose flow rate does not depend much on pressure, thus is only limited by fluid availability. The pumps only scoop up fluid from one place with buckets, deposit it on the other side, and then gravity causes the flow. There's other ways of interpreting the game's mechanics, but this one makes the most sense. Note that the game files use the term "pressure" here.
As for your question about good designs for only using reactors when needed..... ahem (check my signature). I haven't seen any other designs that automate as well as mine, not to brag, though I haven't done much looking. You can recycle pieces of the design, or just take inspiration. Note the bit about feeding turbines with tanks, and how you need either A] excessive tanks which never empty, only permanently hold steam in order to maintain pressure as with a water tower, or B] pumps, if you want to keep those turbines fed even as you approach the next reactor cycle, thus when steam reserves are at their lowest. I suspect to really get it working smoothly, a mix of those two things (pumps right at the tank outlets and a few permanently-full tanks, maybe even pumps halfway through the tank line too) will get the best results.
Hmmm, it would be nice if the game had small water towers as an alternative to ground-level tanks, essentially just raised tanks. Good idea for a mod, but I've never done any modding. Using them would be a perfect, easy fix for the steam buffer problem. Or well, it would be if it made sense that steam flows like a heavier-than-air liquid.