The Hyperloop One proved that it is making headway during its second test, in an effort to quickly become a reality. This time, the 28 foot long test pod traveled the 500 meter track and reached a top speed of 192 mph. Achieving over 3.5 times more horsepower than the May 2017 test.
In the Ping-Pong experiments, it was possible to run the balls through the tube with almost no energy expended.
The theory behind the Hyperloop was first discussed during the 1970s. The idea was to have a tunnel with a near vacuum, or thin pressure, and essentially just drop a train like vehicle inside of it. Due to the near vacuum, the vehicle would be able to easily reach supersonic speeds and allow the vehicle to travel from Los Angeles to New York in four hours. The first actual proof of the concept occurred much later, when scientists forced air out of a pipe, and sent a Ping-Pong ball through it. It has been more than 30 years since the Ping-Pong ball zoomed through an almost airless pipe, and today the Hyperloop One is setting the standards for speed and transportation innovation.
The test tube track for the Hyperloop One is located in Nevada. Like any other transportation company, they need all the space they can get for testing purposes. The Hyperloop One’s initial test last May reached acceleration levels equal to 2G when reaching 70mph. There was no report on the acceleration during the latest test. However, airplanes typically reach 1.1G or 1.2Gs during takeoff.
Can Humans Withstand Turns at HyerLoop Speed?
Experts say that the real problem is not the initial acceleration, but the G forces during turns. If the turn is too tight, the G-forces might go beyond 2G. Regular persons can withstand 2G forces without any adverse effects. Nevertheless, tighter turns would require special equipment for the person, like a G-suit. To fix this issue, turns should be made wide enough so they are almost imperceptible to passengers.
There are several companies vying to implement this technology. Basically, it involves a tunnel with a partial vacuum (low air pressure), a pod or car, and maglev tracks. Unlike conventional maglev vehicles, the magnets do not need to make use of copper coils, allowing the track to be aluminum.
With low air pressure, the vehicle can move faster without any air friction. Meaning there is less energy required to move the pod forward. In the Ping-Pong experiments, it was possible to run the balls through the tube with almost no energy expended. Still, it was vital for one end to be opened just as the Ping-Pong ball was placed at the other end, which was also opened simultaneously. The difference in pressure forced the ball through the tube.
This may not be possible with a much heavier pod, but with negligible air resistance the vehicle can reach target speeds, even with low power costs. Again, this all boils down to economics. Any new technology should be able to match the prices of existing technology, as well as present improved and additional benefits, before the public begins using it. The novelty of an object may not be enough to get it through the initial hump and into financial security.
The Hyperloop will be competing against planes for speed, and buses or trains for a safer and faster travel experience. In order to turn a profit, it should present a value proposition which can beat the others while maintaining their slightly premium pricing.