First passengers of a hyperloop test, Virgin Hyperloop

Virgin carries out world’s first hyperloop test with passengers

Source: Virgin Hyperloop

For the first time in the world a hyperloop has been tested with passengers on board. The American company Virgin Hyperloop had the scoop on Sunday. According to Virgin, the test at a test site in the American state of Nevada was successful. Independent Safety Assessor Certifer was present during the test.

Passengers were transported for the first time on Virgin’s hyperloop test track. Two employees of the company covered about 500 meters in 15 seconds in a vehicle at a test site in the desert of the American state of Nevada.

Virgin calls the test a historic moment and predicts that a maximum speed of more than 1000 kilometers per hour can be reached with a hyperloop train. The travel time between, for example, the American cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco could be reduced to approximately 45 minutes.

No rollercoaster ride

The first two human passengers were not yet traveling at top speed. Their capsule went no faster than 172 kilometers per hour on the test track, according to the BBC. One of the passengers, Virgin employee Sara Luchian, said the trip went well and was “nothing like a roller coaster”. She called the test ride “thrilling” and said she and her fellow passenger did not feel ill afterward.

Luchian and her fellow passengers traveled in a capsule for two people, but Virgin says there will be capsules with space for 28 passengers. The company is also working on the development of capsules for freight transport. 400 unmanned tests were previously conducted at the test site.

Watch the video of the first hyperloop test with passengers here:

Steel companies join forces

Several companies worldwide are developing hyperloop technology. Steel manufacturers Tata Steel Europe and POSCO from South Korea recently announced a partnership to develop and test advanced steel grades and tube designs for the hyperloop. The tube must be large enough to move a passenger or cargo capsule at very high speeds, but with very low energy consumption. The South Koreans have been working on advanced steels and tube designs for hyperloops for years.

The steel companies will develop custom high-quality steel for use in these pipes with a large diameter of up to 3.5 meters. In addition, the parties will work together on research efforts into innovative tube concepts and designs.

Visualisation of a hyperloop that can reach a speed of 1,223 kilometers per hour (POSCO)

No regular tubes

Steel is essential to the construction of a hyperloop’s infrastructure, including the tubes through which the vehicles travel. The huge steel tubes required for the hyperloop have unique characteristics compared to normal tubes. For example, the vehicles must be able to move in an environment with low air pressure. This reduces drag and also helps to keep energy consumption to a minimum. In addition, the tubes must guarantee a straightforward movement over long distances.

Dr. Lee Duk-Lak, head of technical research laboratories at POSCO: “POSCO has been conducting hyperloop-related research into the feasibility, design and structural optimization of various types of steel pipes for over ten years. This will contribute to the realization of a hyperloop as the environmentally friendly mode of transport of the future. ” Ernst Hoogenes, Chief Technical Officer of Tata Steel Europe: “Worldwide, hyperloops have a lot of potential to realize sustainable high-speed transport in the future. This makes them particularly exciting projects. ”


Author: Esther Geerts


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