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Physics in Society: Evaluation of the Hyperloop

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Physics
Wordcount: 3021 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Digital image interpretation of a working Hyperloop train

What is the Hyperloop? Who will use it and What is its use?

The Hyperloop is an entirely new fastest form of transportation. Hyperloop was first suggested in August 2013 by Elon musk and an engineering team from Tesla Motors and Space Exploration Technologies Corporation. The Hyperloop is a proposed high-speed transportation system in which specialized pods are accelerated through a low-pressure tube to achieve speeds near the speed of sound. It is a system of magnetically levitating capsules that travels at high speeds through low-pressure steel tubes without any friction. This allows the pods to travel at up to 750 miles per hour. Around 20-28 individuals can fit per capsule. Capsules would travel one at a moment through the Hyperloop, leaving at rush hour every 30 seconds or so, spacing 23 miles apart. A ground-based high-speed rail system is susceptible to earthquakes and requires frequent expansion joints to address thermal expansion / contraction and subtle, large-scale land movement. “ By building a system on pylons, where the tube is not rigidly fixed at any point, you can dramatically mitigate Earthquake risk and avoid the need for expansion joints. Tucked away inside each pylon, you could place two adjustable lateral (XY) dampers and one vertical (Z) damper. These would absorb the small length changes between pylons due to thermal changes, as well as long form subtle height changes. As land slowly settles to a new position over time, the damper neutral position can be adjusted accordingly” (Musk, 2013, pg – 5 ) [1].People who travel long distances everyday to get to their destination would probably love to use the Hyperloop because it would decrease their travel time by a significant amount. People would use the Hyperloop because, it will be

cost – effective, environment friendly, it will be faster and safer than subways or TTC.

Social and Environmental impacts of the Hyperloop

The Hyperloop can socially impact our society in various positive ways. As The Hyperloop is such a big project it requires a huge team as well. This leads to people having more job oppurtunities in the job market. Also, being able to travel to and from cities in a matter of minutes could open up all kinds of new business opportunities.For example, the Hyperloop would enable a person to live in a city like L.A., but work in San Francisco. This means companies could hire from a broader talent pool and workers could have more employment opportunities. “When the Hyperloop is a reality, businesses will grow, economies will flourish, communities will thrive, and lives will be transformed” [2] Shervin Pishevar, Hyperloop One’s chairman and co-founder, said at a company event. “It will make the playing field level for everyone, no matter where they live.”  As the graphic below shows, current forms of travel not only take longer in transit, but also require more time waiting around. “Brogan BamBrogan, Hyperloop One’s chief technology officer and co-founder, told Tech Insider that the Hyperloop system will cut out a lot of the time consuming parts of traveling, like trekking to the airport and waiting in long ticket and baggage lines.” [3]This is because Hyperloop stations will be built in city centers and will include technologies that make loading and unloading passengers extremely easy.











Graph illustrating the commute times for different vehicles

The Hyperloop can affect the environment only in positive ways. The Hyperloop is not only fast, inexpensive but also environmentally friendly. For instance, most of road travel is particularly problematic because of the carbon being emitted out of the vehicles and the constant fluctuation of fuel prices. As the environmental dangers of energy consumption continue to worsen, mass transportation will be crucial in the years to come. It can also draw energy from any source including solar panels, windmills or even nuclear reactors. Another advantage is that the Hyperloop provides us with tubes that have solar panels installed on the roof, allowing for a clean and self-powering system. It also does not generate any harmful emissions that would destroy the Earth’s atmosphere. Hyerloop runs in a nearly vacuum environment creating a frictionless journey which produces less noise pollution. Hyperloop either runs on pylons or through underground tunnels, so there will be no disturbance to fertile lands and avoids traffic in cities.

Science Related Career

  The Hyperloop is a big project which also means it requires a big team of engineers. Many different kinds of engineers, but I am going to be discussing about Electromagnetic Design Engineer. The role of an electromagnetic design engineer in this project would be to use engineering principles and understanding of engineering design, magnetic levitation system design, electromechanical equipment and related engineering disciplines to design intricate electromechanical systems. They would also have to “ implement optimization procedures for nonlinear systems collaborate with other design engineers to develop high-fidelity coupled multi-physics simulations. Support test and production system integration efforts with electromagnetic analysis (define no-fly zones, compute static and dynamic EM loads, and current/loss distributions)” [4]. The best part about this job would be to be able to work with and for Elon Musk. This job would require you to discuss important components with Elon Musk as he is the maker of this project. This role would also consists of working for highly trained and educated engineers.

Education and job Requirements (Electromagnetic Design Engineer)

The path to becoming an Electromagnetic Design Engineer requires a lot of hard work and dedication.Firstly, start by taking related physics, math and other sciences in High school.  You would need to achieve really high grades in those subjects to get into a good University engineering program. Once in University, it will take up to 4 years to earn your degree in Bachelors of Engineering or Bachelors of Science in Engineering . Then you can proceed to your Masters for better understanding of the topics and become more qualified for the job. The job of an Electromagnetic Design Engineer at The Hyperloop project requires you have experience in at least one of the following topics: Rotary electric motors (synchronous and asynchronous), Linear electric motors, Magnetic bearings, Maglev systems, Power electronics, Motor control algorithms and Linear control theory. Also they prefer that you have a Masters of Science. in Engineering or related discipline preferred, experience with FEA software and electrical insulation systems. This is not an easy job, it requires people that are team oriented, dynamic and creative, they have the ability to make decisions, and they are able to effectively lead tasks and meet challenging deadlines.

The Physics behind The Hyperloop

The Hyperloop uses to the principle of Magnetic Levitation. Magnetic levitation, or maglev, is when an object is suspended in the air using only magnetic fields and no other support. With this method, magnets are placed on the underside of the capsules in a Halbach array(refer to the picture below). This focuses the magnetic force of the magnets on one side of the array while almost entirely cancelling out the field on the other side. These magnetic fields cause the pods to float as they pass over electromagnetic coils embedded in the track. Thrust from linear motors propels the pods forward. Also they are using a passive magnetic levitation system where pod-side permanent magnets repel a passive track, with the only input energy coming from the speed of the pod. In the system, air pressure in the tunnels is lowered using air pumps in order to aid the pods’ movement. The low air pressure reduces drag so that only a relatively small amount of electricity is needed to achieve high speeds.

This concept can also be broken down into 3 phases. Phase 1 is Acceleration, where the thrust force by linear motors causes forward motion. The forward motion of the permanent magnets induces the magnetic fields.                                                                          

   The speed is at 12 miles per hour (mph)

 Phase 2 is Levitation where the magnetic fields lift the pod up. The thrust force is acceleration the pod to a cruising speed.

          The speed is at 760 miles per hour (mph)                                                                                                                                                                 In phase 3 deceleration, the thrust force is reversed to decelerate the pod and regenerative braking recharges the battery.                                                                                                                                                                Hghf                                       The speed is at 0 miles per hour (mph)       J                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Works Cited

  • Brightmore, D. (2018, January 08). Hyperloop: Will it live up to the hype? Retrieved from https://www.energydigital.com/sustainability/hyperloop-will-it-live-hype
  • Dichristopher, T. (2015, September 21). How we’ll make Elon Musk’s hyperloop a reality: CEO. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/16/how-well-make-elon-musks-hyperloop-a-reality-ceo.html
  • Gizmodo. (2016, May 13). The Physics of the Hyperloop Explained. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxbbWha9jZ0
  • Kumar, S., & Santhosh. (2018, November 17). Hyperloop – The Future of Transportation. Retrieved from https://iasexpress.net/hyperloop/#What_is_Hyperloop_and_how_it_works
  • Maheboob sab Follow, S. (2018, June 11). Hyperloop seminar reports. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/shaikmaheboobsab/hyperloop-seminar-reports
  • Musk, Elon (August 12, 2013). “Hyperloop Alpha”(PDF). SpaceX. Retrieved from https://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/hyperloop_alpha.pdf
  • Thompson, C. (2016, May 18). 5 ways the Hyperloop will change how you live. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/5-ways-the-hyperloop-will-change-how-you-live-2016-5#people-will-have-more-time-allowing-them-to-be-more-productive-1
  • Upbin, B. (2015, February 11). Hyperloop Is Real: Meet The Startups Selling Supersonic Travel. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2015/02/11/hyperloop-is-real-meet-the-startups-selling-supersonic-travel/#20c8c6b87686
  • Williams, M. The Fifth Mode of Transportation: The Hyperloop High-Speed Train. Retrieved from https://www.herox.com/crowdsourcing-news/182-the-fifth-mode-of-transportation-the-hyperloop-hig

[1] Musk, Elon (August 12, 2013). “Hyperloop” Tesla. Retrieved from https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/blog_images/hyperloop-alpha.pdf

[2] Dichristopher, T. (2015, September 21). How we’ll make Elon Musk’s hyperloop a reality: CEO. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/16/how-well-make-elon-musks-hyperloop-a-reality-ceo.html

[3] Maheboob sab Follow, S. (2018, June 11). Hyperloop seminar reports. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/shaikmaheboobsab/hyperloop-seminar-reports

[4]Virgin Hyperloop One. Electromagnetic Design Engineer. Retrieved from https://boards.greenhouse.io/hyperlooptechnologies/jobs/1664852?gh_jid=1664852


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