TU Delft team runner-up in Hyperloop design competition
Travelling in a capsule at enormous speeds from Amsterdam to Paris in reduced-pressure tubes: that is the idea behind the ‘Hyperloop’. Space technology company SpaceX and its founder Elon Musk launched a competition inviting teams of students to develop the concept. Last weekend, 124 teams from 20 countries presented their design to a jury of professors and experts from Tesla Motors and SpaceX.
Second place and most innovative design
The TU Delft team secured second place, beaten only by the team from MIT. They were also awarded the prize for the most innovative design. The team will now join 20 others to progress to the next phase of the competition, in which they will be building their pod at a scale of 1:2 and putting it through its paces on a test track in California this summer.
The TU Delft team’s design differed to that presented by the majority of other teams, because they use magnets to allow their capsule to hover. ‘If we allow the magnets under the capsule to move over a conductive plate, made from aluminium for example, the capsule will hover automatically’, explains Team Captain Tim Houter. ‘This minimises energy usage and construction costs for the route. The capsule is accelerated at a station and it then hovers to the next station, where it is slowed down. Energy is recovered during braking, which makes Hyperloop transport extremely energy efficient’. The jury were also impressed by the low weight of the TU Delft capsule – at just 149 kilos, it offers significant benefits in terms of energy usage and transport costs.
Final in California
Once the team returns to the Netherlands next week, it will begin constructing a half-scale model prototype to take to the final of the competition. The final will be held in summer 2016, in Hawthorne, California, where a 1.6 km test reduced-pressure tube will be constructed next to the headquarters of SpaceX, through which the Hyperloop capsules will race. Experts from SpaceX and Tesla Motors will once again be joined by several professors to assess the design and performance of the pods. Construction of the test reduced-pressure tube, which has a diameter of 1.8 metres, will begin in spring.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Tim Houter, Team Captain, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or check the Hyperloop website. You can also follow the team on Facebook.