Elon Musk Reveals The Working Of Hyperloop Supersonic Transport System

Elon Musk Reveals The Working Of  Hyperloop Supersonic Transport System

About one month ago, Elon Musk revealed the concept of High-Speed Hyperloop Train. Now, Elon Musk reveals how the Hyperloop Works. Travelling at over 700 mph, passengers would sit in a 1.35-metre-wide tube and be blasted through the 382-mile tunnel linking Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 30 minutes.  It’s the most science fiction idea Musk has ever presented, yet the PayPal/Space X/Tesla founder is confident Hyperloop is very doable, and very affordable, too.

A diagram of the Hyperloop capsule

Musk revealed plans to use magnets and fans to shoot capsules that float on a cushion of air through a long tube. "Hyperloop is a new mode of transport that seeks to change paradigm by being both fast and inexpensive for people and goods," said Musk in the design study.

In the designs, passenger capsules are transported at high speed through a low pressure tube, elevated over the land between the two cities. "The capsules are accelerated via a magnetic linear accelerator affixed at various stations on the low pressure tube with rotors contained in each capsule," Musk said.

Passengers would not notice the speed and travel by Hyperloop would feel a lot like being in an aeroplane, Musk explains. "It should really feel just super smooth and quiet. And there'd never be any turbulence or anything," he said.

A Hyperloop capsule with its doors open at the station

According to Musk’s announcement, however, one of the problems with such a setup would be the fact that the air column within the tube would build up in front of each capsule as it traveled down the tube. He likens it to the resistance you encounter when trying to push a plunger through a syringe full of fluid. His solution? Put an electric compressor fan on the nose of each capsule, that would draw the air through it.

An onboard battery would reportedly be sufficient to run the fan for the whole LA to SF trip, but something else would be required to provide propulsion. For that, Musk is suggesting an external linear electric motor, built into the inside of the tube. In his words, it’s “simply a round induction motor (like the one in the Tesla Model S) rolled flat.” In the near-frictionless tube, a series of these motors placed about one every 70 miles (113 km) should provide enough of a continuous boost to keep the capsules moving at sub-sonic speeds. All told, the sections of the tube containing the motors should make up less than one percent of its total length.

Hyperloop passenger capsule version cutaway with passengers onboard

The motors would be powered by photovoltaic panels mounted on top of the tube, which Musk claims could generate “far in excess of the energy needed to operate.”

He estimates that the capsules and motors will cost several hundred million dollars at most, with the price tag of the tube sitting more around several billion, but that it would still be cheaper than the planned California bullet train. Additionally, he notes that it should be easier and cheaper to build, as it could just be placed up on giant pylons over existing land, mostly following the Interstate 5 highway.

A cutaway view of the Hyperloop tube

Each pylon would contain two adjustable lateral dampers and one vertical damper, which would be used to keep the tube level in the face of shifting ground and thermal changes. Additionally, telescoping sections at each end of the tube would be included to tweak its length as needed.

Well-known for electric cars, civilian space travel and a vision for interplanetary evolution and sending humans to Mars, the transportation tycoon says Hyperloop would be twice as fast as an aeroplane, cheaper than a bullet train and completely self-powered. It would be both weather- and earthquake-resistant.

Finally, it should be noted that Musk doesn’t plan on building the Hyperloop himself – he simply wants to get the design out there, for other parties to run with.

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Write by: RC - Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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