Hyperloop - The Future of Transportation is here

by Keerthana and Nandini | 7 september 2019

H yperloop is a proposed system of transport that would see pods or containers travel at high speeds through a tube that has been pumped into a near-vacuum. The train pods would either float using magnetic levitation technology or float using air caster "skis”. With so little friction in the tunnel, the pods would be able to travel at immense speeds with projected top speeds of 1200kmph.

The pod would initially launch using an electric motor before levitation takes place And the pod can glide at cruising speed in the low-pressure environment. Tunnels for the Hyperloop would be built either above or below ground, at only around 3m in diameter, taking up a smaller ground footprint than traditional rail and road.

Where did the idea come from?

The idea of travelling through a vacuum tube and been around for more than 100 years. In fact,some of the very first underground railways in the UK ran using an air pressure system. But the current idea for the Hyperloop came from Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX in 2012.

How it works ?

Working of hyperloop system is based on 2 major components.

By the linear induction motor the capsule can be sent from one place to another place at a subsonic velocity that is about the speed.

hyperloop block diagram

As shown in the above figure, when the motor runs the fan rotates which sucks the high pressure air at the front of the capsule. This air is sent to the back of the capsule which pushes the capsule forward. Also this air is compressed and sent to the air bearings which form an air cushion around the capsule thus making the capsule float. The solar panels at the top of the capsules provide energy which is stored in the batteries which provides the power required by the motor.. By this solar panel there is enough energy stored in battery packs to operate at night and in cloudy weather for some period. The energy is also stored in the form of compressed air. The air between the capsules also acts as a cushion to prevent two capsules from colliding within the tube.

As we know the hyperloop works on passive magnetic levitation principle. As we know that the passenger pod travel through low pressure tube which is pylon-supported tube. The rotor rides between magnetic elements of a stator, which are permanently affixed to the Hyperloop tubes in the locations required, and extend the full length over which acceleration or deceleration is to be carried out. For example, the stator of the motor that accelerates the capsules to 760 mph is a full 2.5 miles in length, and weighs over 3,000 tons (2,722 tons), so it is happy to remain stationary. Each linear induction motor can use up to 65 MW during peak operation.

By altering the control and power circuit controls, the linear motors, instead of adding motive power to accelerate the moving capsules, can function in reverse, drawing electrical power from the kinetic energy of a capsule to slow it down. Rather like a regenerative brake on a car, the linear motors store this power for later use. Such regenerative systems can be as much as 85 percent efficient, so that most of the energy required to power a capsule through the Hyperloop can be drawn from power saved from the slowing of the previous capsule's journey.

The upper surface of the twin Hyperloop tubes are covered with solar cells, this solar array is projected to supply about 57 MW of electrical power on average, while the Hyperloop is expected to consume an average of only about 21 MW. The batteries can also be used in a regenerative braking mode to store the kinetic energy of a capsule.

Full paper presentation by the author is Here