Elon Musk tweeted- Pulled all nighter working on Hyperloop (as did others). Hopefully not too many mistakes.
I will update this posting as news is released.
The approach that Elon Musk believes would overcome the Kantrowitz limit is to mount an electric compressor fan on the nose of the pod that actively transfers high pressure air from the front to the rear of the vessel. This is like having a pump in the head of the syringe actively relieving pressure.
It would also simultaneously solve another problem, which is how to create a low friction suspension system when traveling at over 700 mph. Wheels don’t work very well at that sort of speed, but a cushion of air does. Air bearings, which use the same basic principle as an air hockey table, have been demonstrated to work at speeds of Mach 1.1 with very low friction. In this case, however, it is the pod that is producing the air cushion, rather than the tube, as it is important to make the tube as low cost and simple as possible.
That then begs the next question of whether a battery can store enough energy to power a fan for the length of the journey with room to spare. Based on our calculations, this is no problem, so long as the energy used to accelerate the pod is not drawn from the battery pack.
This is where the external linear electric motor comes in, which is simply a round induction motor (like the one in the Tesla Model S) rolled flat. This would accelerate the pod to high subsonic velocity and provide a periodic reboost roughly every 70 miles. The linear electric motor is needed for as little as ~1% of the tube length, so is not particularly costly.
Will publish Hyperloop alpha design by Aug 12. Critical feedback for improvements would be much appreciated.
Previously Elon Musk has given a brief summary of his vision for the Hyperloop.
The Hyperloop rapid transit system would connect downtown Los Angeles with San Francisco, 380 miles away. Musk told the crowd that more details for the project would be available on June 20th. Hyperloop would be “a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table.” Musk joked, “even if I’m wrong about the economic assumptions, it would be a really fun ride.” Musk claimed that his imagined train system would go “3 or 4 times faster than the [California] bullet train” or twice the speed of an aircraft, shuttling people from LA to San Francisco in under 30 minutes. It’s possible that the Hyperloop could even be self-powering. “If you put solar panels on it, you generate more power than you would consume in the system. There’s a way to store the power so it would run 24/7 without using batteries,” he said.
The technology behind the system will be a “breakthrough” and Musk will be “happy to work with the right partners,” Musk said in Twitter posts today. Musk is seeking “critical feedback” on the system and will publish it as open source, according to the tweets.
Musk previously said that the so-called Hyperloop would be twice as fast as airplane travel and cheaper than high-speed rail.
Closest Speculation according to Elon Musk is the John Gardi description of a pneumatic system
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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