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Hyperloop researcher to forego maglev, use 'Inductrack' tech to power its transportation system

By Shawn Knight ยท 5 replies
May 9, 2016
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  1. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) on Monday said it will use a technology called passive magnetic levitation as the foundation for its version of Elon Musk’s futuristic transportation system.

    The technology, which was originally developed by physicist Richard Post in 2000, is said to be a cheaper and safer alternative to traditional magnetic levitation (maglev) currently in use by high-speed bullet trains in China and Germany. Post worked for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California until his death last year at the age of 96.

    As The Verge explains, passive magnetic levitation utilizes loops of unpowered wire in the track system along with permanent magnets in the train pods. When implemented in a track, the system is known as Inductrack.

    HTT is one of two US-based companies currently involved in the Hyperloop project, the other being Hyperloop Technologies. The latter company, led by former Cisco executive Rob Lloyd, is inviting select journalists to Las Vegas this week where it plans to demonstrate full-scale components that will be used in its transport system.

    Elon Musk announced plans for his Hyperloop concept in the summer of 2013. The billionaire envisions a network of cross-country tubes that will use pods to transport people long distances in a very short amount of time. The idea was proposed with a theoretical top speed of 4,000 MPH although that’s come down to a more realistic (although still incredibly fast) 760 MPH.

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  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 2,797   +1,537

    I do wish they would publish a bit more on the economy and safety. Not doubting it but we've got plenty of politicians that claim "cheaper, safer, better, more gooder". God knows this could be a good alternative although it would also be an easier target for abuse, not to mention terrorism. We simply need to see more evidence to back up the claims.
  3. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,525   +514

    I could not agree more.

    One thing that may not be easy for them to do is that the tube is supposed to be under vacuum. Keeping something like this vacuum sealed is something that I imagine will not be easy - likely they will do their best to seal any leaks, but will have to keep the vacuum pumps running all the time. If there is a catastrophic failure of the vacuum system, I would hate to be on the train at the time. At 760 MPH, any crash will likely be devastating regardless of its cause.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,172   +3,263

    I'd like to believe they are building the system where it would function without the vacuum. And then the use of a vacuum would reduce air restrictions, making for a smoother and safer ride.
  5. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,456   +1,735

    For today's super-fast trains that resemble design of a needle, air resistance is not that much of an issue anymore.

    But that's because they run in an open air, which means there is no more air resistance than the usual. If put inside a tube however, this changes dramatically (if filled with air that is).

    That's why they want to make it a vacuum tube, because the tube by itself increases the air resistance a lot. So, effectively, they are trying to compensate for the design flow by making it way more complex and expensive.

    I'm not sure if it is justifiable. Building a regular needle train is so much easier these days, and they can easily do 500km/h.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,522   +2,312

    So basically this transportation system wasn't invented by Musk, he just "envisioned it", 10 years later?

    How did Musk become a "billionaire"? How many of his businesses actually turn a profit?

    That top speed of "4000 MPH", I guess I'm the only one who thinks that was just Musk running his mouth looking for an audience of free publicists?

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