We are in a world of superfast technology. Everything gets faster day by day. Everyone wants to save their time by adapting to the quickest and convenient methods through which things can be done efficiently. But why we are still crawling like a snail in the area of transportation where we still have the safe speed limits which are slowing us down on the roads and rails?
Flight, being the current fastest option available, one new solution for transportation has promised to take us to our destination at a speed of up to 760mph where we can still keep our feet firmly on the floor. Hyperloop!! Yes, this the transport solution for the darting world.
WHAT IS HYPERLOOP?
It is the name of the company who wants us to provide with a transport service proposed to travel at a top speed of 760mph. This new mode of proposed passenger and freight transport service is a pod-like vehicle that can be sent racing along the rails within reduced pressure tubes.
Bilinear induction motors and air compressors would be used by these vehicles to ride on an air cushion. Presently the company named Hyperloop One is working on commercializing the concept.
VIRGIN HYPERLOOP ONE
Recently in December 2017, company named Virgin Hyperloop One, with Sir Richard Branson as the non-executive chairman, has set a new speed record with its Hyperloop pod-like vehicle. “The Verge” reported that Hyperloop pod reached the record speed nearly up to 240mph in the test conducted in Nevada, pushing back the previous record speed of 192mph. Branson claimed that this new method of transportation which takes the people at airline speed would be accomplishing the task within three to four years.
ELON MUSK- THE BRAIN BEHIND HYPERLOOP
Elon Musk, who was the co-founder of Tesla – the electric car maker, and the founder of SpaceX – the aerospace services company, is the master brain behind the Hyperloop concept. He came out with the idea in 2012, and now he has around 500 employees who work along with him in the project. This big idea reached the world when Elon Musk published his thought about firing levitating pods with passengers or cargo through airless tubes at a higher speed of up to 700mph.
But the Hyperloop One is not actually from Elon Musk. Because of the busy schedule by running both the Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, after publishing his thought, invited people interested in making Hyperloop, a reality. There, Virgin Hyperloop One, previously known as Hyperloop technologies and then Hyperloop One, with Sir Richard Branson as the non-executive chairman came up to materialize the concept.
HYPERLOOP – THE THEORY BEHIND
Hyperloop will consist of two tubes extending between two destinations. Pods carrying passengers or cargo would travel at a top speed of about 700mph, through the pipes. For propelling the tube, there will be magnetic accelerators planted along the length of the tunnel which helps to drive the pods forward. These tubes will be having a low-pressure environment surrounding the pod with a cushion of air permitting the air to move safely at such high speeds.
The tight quarters provided in the tube will create a pressure build up before the pod which could be a problem. So the tube needs a system to keep the air away from building up this way. That’s why Musk recommended air compressors before the pod which will remove the air from the front end to the tail end, keeping it over, and preventing the pressure build up due to air displacement. Reducing the pressure will remove the air resistance, and the pressure gradient can be used to propel the trains at high speed.
When the atmospheric pressure re-introduced behind the capsules, it forces the air to propel the pod down the pipe as air rushes back in to equalize the pressure gradient.
When a car takes around 6 hours to travel between two places, the Hyperloop will take only 35 minutes to cover up the distance.
- Hyperloop offers a breakneck speed of 5th generation transportati.on
- Very low power consumption.
- The low-cost transportation system for long-distance travel.
- Immune to lousy weather and earthquakes.
CHALLENGES OR DISADVANTAGES OBSTRUCTING THE WAY OF HYPERLOOP
Hyperloop, when made possible, will be the fastest transport possible with a speed which eventually exceeds the speed of sound. In the small-scale preliminary experiments, Hyperloop may be entirely feasible and functions extraordinarily well. But when practically thinking about constructing perfect vacuum tubes along hundreds of kilometres will face a lot of challenges without any doubt.
The Hyperloop system will not be technically operating in a perfect vacuum. Instead, it will remain at a pressure of about 100 parcels. When the airline’s fly at altitudes of 10kms up, the Hyperloop would have the same internal pressure level that experienced 50 km up in the atmosphere almost equal to near-space conditions. Therefore for all intents and purposes, Hyperloop could be assumed to be working in a near perfect vacuum.
- Constructing near perfect vacuum tubes with hundreds of kilometres long which can support the force of capsule weighing thousands of kilograms at the dream level speed is nothing short of a literary fantasy about the future.
- Even though the small-scale experiments were a success, in the real world; there will be so many factors which cannot be accounted in the small-scale experiments.
- There will be thousands of kilograms of atmospheric pressure which can crush any vacuum chambers in the real world.
- Problems with thermal expansion threaten to buckle any large structure without proper thermal expansion capabilities.
- Hyperloop can be very expensive.
- Problems that threaten the structural integrity can endanger every human life on board.
- Maintaining the near-perfect vacuum is also a great problem faced by the Hyperloop engineers.
- Deadly collisions would be imminent in the event of spontaneous decompression and high acceleration rate making the device incredibly dangerous.
- Decompression is also a dire problem that could be fatal in a vacuum train system as far as no breaking systems have been proposed to prevent the capsules from accidentally accelerating due to spontaneous decompression.
- Blades within the turbine engine during catastrophic failure would quickly become dangerous projectiles that can travel over a thousand of kilometres an hour which could easily slice through any aircraft.
- Less atmosphere requires faster turbines, and for it to happen, Hyperloop would require a perfect turbomolecular pump which spins at tens of thousands of RPM which can produce vibrations, that would quickly disintegrate the engine turning the turbine blades into projectiles.
- Too much air can also produce significant problems if a pocket of air somehow enters the system.
- Easy for terrorist attacks.
- Thermal expansion quality of steel would cause the Hyperloop tubrbyo physically change its size due to the increasing temperature across the globe every year. Also, the steel tube may not be heated evenly as the top of the pipe will be subjected to sunlight and get more heat which will expand the top portion than the bottom.
HYPERLOOP IN INDIA
There are reports saying that Andhra may be the first state to get Hyperloop in India. It may be between Vijayawada and Amarawati which usually takes around one hour journey that can be reduced to a six-minute travel by Hyperloop. The CEO and co-founder of Hyperloop transportation technologies, Mr.Bibop Gresta said that Amaravati will be a good place to start with Hyperloop as the environment is unique with dense population, less infrastructure, and need for faster, sustainable and efficient way to move people and goods.
Last year un September, Andhra said that it would kick-start a feasibility study to develop Hyperloop between Amaravati and Vijayawada. In March last year, Hyperloop One announced a proposal to evaluate construction of five line in India which includes Bengaluru to Chennai, Mumbai to Chennai via Bengaluru, Bengaluru to Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai to Delhi and Mumbai to Kolkata.
Hyperloop is a fantastic idea howbeit the practicality in the real-world implementation cannot be ignored. The company has developed a test track called ‘DevLoop’ in the Nevada Dessert in the US also eyeing at India as a key customer for the developing technology. But before getting too much excited about this, we should note that Hyperloop is a futuristic and highly expensive technology and still has many stages away from it being commercialized.