These College Students Built a Hyperloop Pod… Here’s What Happened

These College Students Built a Hyperloop Pod… Here’s What Happened

November 9, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


if there was an Olympics for engineering
this would be it we’re just outside Los Angeles
California at the Hyperloop pod competition some of the brightest minds
from around the world are here to impress this guy Elon Musk for the teams
at the Hyperloop competition Elon Musk is the man he’s the visionary behind the
Hyperloop and the leader of some of the most innovative companies in existence
Tesla SpaceX and most recently the boring company which is anything but
Elon Musk’s futuristic transportation system could change the way we travel
the Hyperloop intends to propel passengers through a low pressure vacuum
tube at speeds up to 700 miles per hour so you’ll be able to travel from San
Francisco to Los Angeles in about 30 minutes which is faster than a plane
ride we’re capable of doing this this is not you know just a pipe dream no pun
intended Johnny is a member of Bajor loop which
is named after University of Wisconsin’s mascot the team was one of the youngest
that competed in the first Hyperloop pod competition Elon Musk launched the
competition to encourage citizen engineers and students to design and
build their own prototype pods so in 2016 hundreds of teams from universities
and private institutions around the world submitted their pod designs SpaceX
selected 30 designs to be built and tested at the competition
we proved ourselves that in competition one that we could hang with these
extremely impressive programs from around the world Badger loop had a goal
of getting their pod into hyper loops 3/4 of a mile vacuum chamber test track
there’s a very rigorous series of tests that you need to pass before you can get
into the full vacuum chamber and we were extremely close on the last one but some
electrical issues kept us from getting in
well the Badgers fell short they did make an impression our earth innovation
award goes to badger Lube SpaceX gave their pod an Innovation Award proving
their design had potential so as all good underdog stories go the team is
back in there looking for redemption we are getting that too this time we’re not
taking no for an answer and we got to make sure that we do everything we can
now to prepare and to get in that to the rebooted Badgers are young scrappy
and yes hungry in more ways than one johnny is the team’s operations director
overseeing the team leads who are in charge of building the different parts
of the pie Arjun is our breaking lead and he’s in charge of a small team
that’s designing our break system that’s gonna have the incredibly fun task of
stopping within a matter of seconds ongoing you know well over 200 miles per
hour and not blowing up SpaceX’s 12 and a half a million dollar tubes so good
luck with that Arjun yes Janu yeah clay is new to the team the semester he’s our
propulsion lead and he took on this challenge knowing very little about
thermal dynamics then there’s Justin leading structural analysis Nathan on
composites max on batteries Ryan is on controls Vaughn is the electrical and
software director Ben is on stability chris is on structural design ends up as
the team’s president and that’s not even all the team leads there are about 30
people working to make this pot a success Hyperloop pods for competition – are
designed with the same goal in mind speed in order for their pod to reach
over 200 miles per hour in the low pressure vacuum tube the Badgers are
going to need a powerful propulsion system so the system that we have for
propulsion is coal gas thruster which employs basic jet propulsion principles
by accelerating gas across a nozzle it works like this
two high-pressure tanks filled with nitrogen gas empty about 90% of their
mass over the course of 3 seconds as the gas exits it converts thermal and
pressure energy into kinetic energy the challenge is who can go the fastest and
still stop arjen’s team designed a primary and secondary braking system
that will hopefully do just that and then the badger’s electrical team
created code that will enable the pod to operate autonomously in the tube but the
crazy thing is after seven months of non-stop work in Wisconsin the team
won’t be able to fully test their pod until they get here the SpaceX
headquarters in Hawthorne California for the Hyperloop pod competition the week
before competition weekend we call a testing week I believe there’s around 60
or so tests that SpaceX has for us to pass the end of the tube after a week of
pulling all-nighters at a local garage getting the pod competition ready the
team needs to wrap up because it’s time to roll literally in the ultimate
display of teamwork the Badgers push their 500 pound pod half a mile down the
street to the SpaceX campus to undergo the final round of tests
there are 24 teams competing this year made up of members representing more
than 30 different countries and only the teams that pass all of spacex tests get
approved to go in the low-pressure vacuum tube but it’s a race against the
clock even if you pass all your tests if you aren’t one of the first to do so
there’s a good chance you won’t get into the tube there just isn’t enough time
for all the teams to complete the final test which is an open-air run being a
few minutes late – one thing can add you know four or five hours of us getting
kicked back in line and waiting for something and unfortunately that’s
exactly what happened to the Badgers a series of small technical setbacks meant
that they miss their window of time of the six teams that completed open air
run space extras through to race in the main event on competition day paradigm
Swiss loop in the returning speed champs bar from Germany it was a bittersweet
day for our team but when bar broke 200 miles per hour in the tube the Badgers
were there cheering alone but it wasn’t all over for the Badgers SpaceX
announced that it would give out three Innovation Awards this year and winning
one of them would give the team a slice of redemption for their propulsion
system which we hope to see next year in the Hyperloop competition badger loop
the University we were over the moon I mean everyone
was hugging and celebrating and it was a perfect ending of this trip you don’t really believe that you can be
amongst this company and be doing these things until you find yourself here and
like wow this is really happening here and in the future if the Hyperloop does
revolutionize transportation around the world the Badgers will always be able to
say they helped make it possible if you’re into engineering you should
definitely check out our video about the modern mega structure guarding Chernobyl
from nuclear fallout thanks for watching seeker make sure to LIKE and subscribe
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