Hyperloop Model For School Projects
The Hyperloop is getting closer and closer to becoming reality, but if it is still not coming fast enough for you Dianna Cowern (aka Physics Girl) has a decent placeholder for you. It can’t carry passengers, just batteries with magnets attached; it isn’t sealed off in a near-vacuum; and its max speed looks to be about 7 to 8 mph, but hey, it’s a start.
It’s fantastically DIY, to the extent that Cowern can make it on her bed. This would be a great project to show a young kid the power of magnets and motion. Watch for the train, stick around for the quick lesson in electromagnetic physics.
Hyperloop Model for College Projects
To built a functioning 1:24 scale model of the Hyperloop, a “fifth mode of transportation” that sends pods through a partially pressurized tube at very high speeds, as part of a senior design project. It was designed to test some of the key components of Musk’s design, which was outlined in a much-read, open source white paper published in August of 2013.
The University of Illinois hyperloop takes up an entire room and does indeed send small pods through a metal tube in an oval loop. As proposed by Musk, Hyperloop “pods” would float on a layer of air, much like an air hockey table. They would be propelled through a pressurized tube at slightly less than the speed of sound by electromagnetic motors placed along the insides of the tube. The University of Illinois project preserves some of those features, but compromises on others.
“We had to make some simplifications to the prototype. We use roller bearings instead of air bearings, for instance,” Andrew Horton, a recent graduate who helped lead the project, told me. “For the sake of our prototype, it wasn’t feasible to have that complex of a system implanted in one semester. We’re thinking future classes will take our work and move forward with it.”
Horton’s hyperloop uses electromagnetic motors just like Musk’s Hyperloop and it’s able to propel a miniature pod through the tube at speeds of up to 3 meters per second. If scaled up, that amounts to roughly 160 miles per hour, which is far slower than the 760 mph Musk proposed.
There are a couple reasons for the discrepancy. Roller bearings are slowed down by friction. Horton’s hyperloop has a vacuum pump to depressurize the tube (cutting down air resistance, allowing pods to travel faster), but it wasn’t tested by the end of the semester. Last, the team is planning on adding additional motors to help speed up the pod.
Importantly, the Illinois hyperloop is an oval, which creates a new set of problems: Critics have said it’s nearly impossible to make the Hyperloop turn without losing a lot of speed or creating a safety hazard, but at such low speeds and on such a small scale, Horton’s team decided to build it in an oval shape anyway.
“You get a lot of friction when you turn, so I can see where the criticism is coming from—the real Hyperloop wouldn’t be an oval, it would go straight is if you were going along a highway,” he said.
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