Hyperloop: How It Works?

Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX, imagines cutting the travel time between Los Angeles to San Francisco to a mere 35 minutes. He has proposed building a high-speed transportation system that would allow humans to travel 760 miles (1,223 kilometers) per hour. He named this technology: HYPERLOOP.

Though it sounds like something out of a science-fiction movie, but if everything goes as per the concept, this futuristic Hyperloop will replace bullet trains and revolutionize transportation just as the locomotive, automobile and airplane did. Let’s find out how will this futuristic concept of Hyperloop work?

Image Credit: Hyperloop One

In this system, people will travel in pods that run through steel tubes mounted on pillars. Those pillars, made of reinforced concrete, would be spaced every 100 feet. Then, the air pressure inside these tubes will be reduced to one-sixth the pressure of the thin atmosphere on Mars, which significantly reduces drag on the speeding pods. The most important part of this system is the pod. The pods will be designed with metal skis that levitate on a cushion of air pumped through small holes in the skis. This air will be generated by the high-speed passage of the pod through the tube, and a powerful electric compressor on the front of the pod that pumps air to the back.


The skis will also have magnets on it, which with the help of an electromagnetic pulse, give the pod its initial push. There would be Linear induction motors, which get their power from magnets and conductors, placed at various points along the tube and keep the pod moving fast and steady with little chance of accident.  This whole Hyperloop system would get its power from motors and batteries developed by Tesla and from solar panels placed on the roof of the tubes.


Now let’s talk about the interior of these pods & how someone will make an entry & exit. Each passenger pod will be designed to hold 28 people seated in two columns of 14, along with a luggage compartment in one end. These Pods would travel through the Hyperloop one at a time and spaced 37 kilometers apart on average. Passengers can enter and exit the tube at each end and via branches along the loop. This system will also have emergency exits, built along the tube, in case of any mishappening.

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