Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hyperloop is doable, but...

PayPal (EBAY)
Tesla (TSLA)
SpaceX (Private)
SolarCity (SCTY)

and now Hyperloop.


Could it be the next disruptive technology",  is it doable?
Well the possibility of a system was demonstrated even as far back as 1867.

Since that time we have come a long way in technology, power, electrical machines; superconductivity; solar energy etc. It stands to reason that it is doable but would require enormous investment. Elon has tons of cash and should be able to pull off. His resume is par excellence. The fact that he has in-house capability in many of the required technologies (aerodynamics, electrical propulsion; storage batteries) makes it lot more doable.

There are technical challenges which start off from basic physical limitations and range across several material science related issues. Several of these have been discussed in the pdf document above.

I will be looking forward to see some more details after this initial proposal and perhaps a working model of modest track length. Of course, the economic aspects of it will be lot more interesting.  What provisions would be there for a breakdown event in the 'middle' of the tube?  

The group I worked with at Northrop Grumman's Advanced Research Center at Princeton in NJ and Bethpage, NY did work on a MagLev (Magnetic Levitation) based design and came up with a proof of principles proposal which unfortunately did not get funded. That was back in late 70's.

I would like to thank my friend and colleague, Dr. Michael Foster Reusch for sharing some of the thoughts and the links.

Interested, contact hyperloop@spacex.com

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