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  • Our ability to travel faster across the world has consistently been a catalyst for change.

  • This effect can be seen right back to the domestication of the horse.

  • It allows civilizations to expand and spread information and resources faster than ever.

  • So where is the next great innovation in commercial travel?

  • The fastest civilian vehicle, the Concorde, had a top speed of Mach 2, but it needed to fly at 18,000 meters.

  • If it flew lower, the drag and heat generated from aerodynamic friction would've limited its top speed.

  • Consider this: the outside temperature at this altitude is -57 degrees Celsius.

  • Yet the nose of the Concorde could reach 127 °C.

  • Naturally, if we want to move faster, closer to the Earth's surface, we need a way to limit the friction our vehicles experience.

  • This is exactly what the hyperloop aims to do.

  • So how does it work?

  • The pressure inside the Hyperloop tube would be lowered to a fraction of the normal atmospheric pressure.

  • This minimizes the friction the vehicle will experience due to air.

  • But even having a small amount of air in the tube can cause some serious issues.

  • Due to something called the Kantrowitz Limit, at lower speeds, there is enough space between the pod and the tube for air to get by.

  • But as the speed increases, this reaches a limit, and the pod begins to push large volumes of air ahead of it.

  • This limits the speed immensely.

  • We can fix this by installing a compressor fan on the front of the pad, that removes the air from the front and redirects it to the back for additional thrust.

  • Or it can be used to levitate the pod on a cushion of air.

  • To help make this idea a reality, a competition sponsored by SpaceX was created.

  • One team called rLoop formed on Reddit, and has recently started their crowdfunding campaign to build their prototype.

  • The prototype model has a target speed of 480 km/h.

  • At this speed, there is no counter its choking, so their design does not need a compressor fan.

  • Most teams have opted to forgo the compressor fan, as a short test track prohibits high speed runs.

  • rLoop have also moved away from Elon Musk's original idea of levitating the pod using an air cushion.

  • Their calculation showed that it would be difficult to achieve adequate lift with this method.

  • They have instead opted to use eight Arx Pax magnetic levitation engines.

  • They will be competing against 29 other teams, most of whom are backed by university funding.

  • They rely on the on the supportive communities like Reddit.

  • If you'd like to support their project, I provided a link in the description.

  • With your assistance, their work may help assuring a new era of transportation.

Our ability to travel faster across the world has consistently been a catalyst for change.

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Hyperloop - The Future of Travel?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2022/01/01
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