The recent announcement from SpaceX about hosting a Hyperloop competition got me thinking about the concept again. I read Elon Musk’s white paper when it was released and some engineering challenges came to mind. I perused through it this week, and here are some things that seem problematic:
- How the heck would a capsule switch tracks (or tubes) such as when at a station? Would a “one-in, one-out” be forced?
- How is banking controlled when navigating through curves or maybe encountering fluctuations in air density in the tube? Sounds like a fun bobsled ride.
- Is it unnecessarily inefficient to only have 1 track per tube?
- How do you stop these things in emergencies? *
While a default design of cyndrical tubes and a clyndrical-ish capsule made sense from a simplicity and manufacturing cost and easy point of view, I wanted to take a step back and wonder if other geometries could be suitable.
Update 2017: So I started writing this post a long time ago and never finished it. I’ll just post the image I drew up for it.