THE HYPERLOOP IS one small step closer to shuttling us around the country like paper flying through the pneumatic tubes banks used in the ’60s.
Hyperloop Technologies, one of two known companies racing to make the sci-fi-ish transportation system a reality, announced today that it will test its propulsion system in North Las Vegas next month.
The system uses extremely low air pressure within a tube to propel capsules containing people or cargo at triple-digit velocities. Elon Musk came up with the idea and spelled out his ideas in a 57-page white paper he presented in August, 2013. He encouraged anyone with an interest to pursue the idea, since he’s a busy guy.
The guys at Hyperloop Technologies riff on the idea a bit. Rather than sucking a capsule through a tube like a stale Goldfish through a vacuum cleaner, its tech would keep the capsule moving with occasional shoves, the way Messi dribbles the ball on a fast break. Active stator coils built into the track react with magnets built into the capsule, boosting it through the tube. Low air pressure means minimal friction slowing the capsule, and evenly spaced stator coils keep it moving.
Company CTO and co-founder Brogan BamBrogan (yes, that’s his legal name), imagines miles-long stretches of coils on routes that carry people and goods hundreds of miles. But first he has to make sure the propulsion system works. That’s what next month’s test is for.
The test track in North Las Vegas is about half a mile long, with a few hundred meters of stater coils and a power generation trailers on hand. There’s no capsule for this test, just the base it will ride on. It contains the magnets that do the pushing. The company predicts the “vehicle” will accelerate from zero to 336 mph in about two seconds. That’s on par with top fuel dragsters—some of the quickest vehicles on the planet—but it’s not a sprint you’ll ever experience riding Hyperloop.
“That’s not the kind of Hyperloop you want to ride,” BamBrogan says. “We’re really just testing our ability to dump that much power into our coils that quickly,” A production-ready Hyperloop would use a much heavier vehicle—one with the actual capsule, loaded with people or goods—which would make for a much more reasonable acceleration time.
source: wired.com by ALEX DAVIES