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Our ability to travel faster across the world has consistently been a catalyst for change.
This effect can be seen right back to the domestication of the horse.
It allows civilizations to expand and spread information and resources faster than ever.
So where is the next great innovation in commercial travel?
The fastest civilian vehicle - the Concorde had a top speed of Mach 2, but it needed to fly
at 18 000 meters. If it flew lower, the drag and heat generated from aerodynamic friction
would've limited its top speed.
Consider this: the outside temperature at this altitude is -57 degrees Celsius.
Yet the nose of the Concorde could reach 127 °C.
Naturally, if we want to move faster, closer to the Earth's surface, we need a way to
limit the friction our vehicles experience. This is exactly what the hyperloop aims to do.
So how does it work?
The pressure inside the Hyperloop tube would be lowered to a fraction of the normal atmospheric pressure.
This minimizes the friction the vehicle will experience due to air.
But even having a small amount of air in the tube can cause some serious issues.
Due to something known as the Kantrowitz Limit, at lower speeds, there is enough space
between the pod and the tube for air to get by.
But as the speed increases, this reaches a limit,
and the pod begins to push large volumes of air ahead of it.
This limits the speed immensely. We can fix this by installing a compressor fan
on the front of the pad, that removes the air from the front and redirects it to the back for additional thrust.
Or it can be used to levitate the pod on a cushion of air.
To help make this idea a reality, a competition sponsored by SpaceX was created.
One team called rloop formed on reddit, and has recently started their crowdfunding campaign
to build their prototype. The prototype model has a target speed of 480 km/h.
at this speed there is no account that it is joking
so their design does not need a compressor fan
Most teams have opted to forgo the compressor fan, as a short test track prohibits
high speed runs. Rloop have also moved away from Elon Musk's original idea of levitating
the pod using an air cushion.
Their calculation showed that it would be difficult to achieve adequate lift with this method.
They have instead opted to use 8 arx pax magnetic levitation engines.
They will be competing against 29 other teams, most of whom are backed by university funding.
They rely on the on the supportive communities like reddit.
If you'd like to support their project, I provided a link in the description.
With your assistance, their work may help assuring a new era of transportation.