Elon Musk is the South African born CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors – two highly innovative companies that are currently shaking up their respective industries. He also co-founded Paypal, which is the defacto standard of paying online. His companies have done some pretty amazing things, but his latest idea is truly mind boggling.
Musk’s latest vision is a high speed vacuum tube which transports passengers (and or vehicles) in a capsule, at terrifying speeds. Musk proposes speeds up to 800 mph, but he says the G-forces will not be any more vicious than getting into a fast car. The capsule is lifted similiar to how a puck moves on a air hockey table. The actual tube also has a reduced amount of air, but the big innovation lies in how the capsule moves forward in the tube.
The front of the capsule uses a system to displace air from the front of the tube to the back – which overcomes the “Kantrowitz Limit”. So what is the Kantrowitz limit?
“Whenever you have a capsule or pod (I am using the words interchangeably)moving at high speed through a tube containing air, there is a minimum tube topod area ratio below which you will choke the flow. What this means is that ifthe walls of the tube and the capsule are too close together, the capsule will behave like a syringe and eventually be forced to push the entire column of air in the system. Not good.”
The Hyperloop will also be able to handle slight turns by having the capsule bank within corners, which the passengers will not feel.
Musk’s entire reasoning behind the Hyperloop is that it is a more economical solution than building a high speed rail for distances up to 350 miles. His maths seems to make sense as well – if you are a highly mathematical mind, you might want to read his proposal below. He goes into very deep detail on how all of this can be achieved.