The Best Guess at Musk's Hyperloop Design, Now in Excruciating Detail

Illustration for article titled The Best Guess at Musks Hyperloop Design, Now in Excruciating Detail

You might remember that a couple of weeks ago, Elon Musk made otherwise random guy John Gardi Twitter-famous by proclaiming that Gardi had a pretty good guess at how Musk's crazy-sounding Hyperloop transit concept was going to work. Now, Gardi has spoken up with so, so much more information. Or at least, speculation.

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Illustration for article titled The Best Guess at Musks Hyperloop Design, Now in Excruciating Detail
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Over at Motherboard, Gardi has written a lengthy explanation of his theory about what the plan Musk is going to announce on August 12th will look like. The long and the short of the tome is this:

I believe that Hyperloop is merely a modern day version of the pneumatic tubes used in banks, stores, and industry to move money and small items over long distances or to other floors of a building. They’ve been around for over a century, though not so much these days. There is only one in my town that I know of, and it has fallen into disuse. One reason I think Hyperloop is simpler than folks think is that Elon Musk has resurrected another technology from the depths of time, one that was a contender once, too: the electric car!

In other words, Gardi thinks we're going to be placed in pods and blasted across large distances in pneumatic pipelines, a bit like the fictional future public transit used in Futurama:

Illustration for article titled The Best Guess at Musks Hyperloop Design, Now in Excruciating Detail
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Scary! Dangerous! Exciting!

In the write-up, Gardi unpacks a lot of the seemingly outlandish claims that Musk has made about the hyperloop, and tries to explain why the transit system might actually be possible. The whole thing is really worth a read, especially if you're interested in knowing why simple warehouse technology could be used for ultra-fast transport at the fraction of the cost of high-speed rail. The craziest part? It just might work. [Motherboard]

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Top image via fotomak/Shutterstock.com. Hyperloop schematic by Brent Couchman.

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DISCUSSION

renniSaint
renniSaint

Already laid out the issues in my reply to the previous article on this subject so I'm not going to belabor the point too much. But as far as I can tell this still doesn't make sense.

Real estate costs and the near impossibility of acquiring said land aren't considered at all. Composite drain pipe doesn't work. First, it is designed to be placed underground. In the article is a pic of pipe section on a truck, notice the temporary bracing? That is because the pipe ovals and can crack under self weight. It needs dirt on all sides to stay circular. Second, the issue of aligning 50' sections perfectly straight so your pod can go flying through at 600mph without smacking into the sides constantly. Plus, the joints are going to cause pertubations which absolutely will destroy any laminar air flow and create massive buffeting.

I really really want this to work, but it just doesn't make sense. If you put the system on piers they will have to have some sophisticated pneumatic active suspension to compensate for movement due to heat from sunny days, soil expansion and contraction from rain, frost heave, differential expansion of materials due to one side being in the shade, wind, air pressure from large storm systems, earthquakes, even a nearby lightning strike could cause enough vibration in the pipe to create accidental contact between the tube and pod which I'm going to guess would not be a good thing...

But Mr. Musk isn't a dumb guy, so I'm just dying to know what he is thinking.