Roland Dürre
Saturday August 3rd, 2019

The Art of Braking


The hyperloop secret.


Schema des Hyperloops
(from: Wikipedia)

Among other things, I also mentioned Elon Musk in my last . Let us look at another one of his topics: the . It is also one of the high-technology projects/ideas where Elon Musk invests.

The underlying idea is simply that land-oriented vehicles  are easier to move around in an evacuated  tube than in fresh air. Typically, land-oriented vehicles use wheels (railway), but sometimes they are magnetic levitation trains or hovercrafts



As I see it, the specialty about hyperloop is that it has been generated as an open source project, i.e. the findings are commonly available. There is also a competition, which is held every year in a test tube in Los Angeles. The vehicle with the maximum final speed wins. Mostly, the participants are teams from universities.

The TU München won this competition several times. This year,  they also won it. I find this quite remarkable. Consequently, I asked the question: “how can a team from a country like Germany that is no longer the leader in technology and digitally win such a competition?” 

The answer is remarkably easy:
The length of the test distance  is finite. So far, the pods pass a tube that is only 1,200 metres long. And the TUM team soon realized that the top speed correlates both with the time and the distance you can use for acceleration. So the first goal must be to minimize the brake distance, because this is how you have as many metres as possible for acceleration.

And – sorry for this cynical remark – as everybody knows, when it comes to braking, we Germany are really great. Consequently, the vehicle  WARR of TUM (note the naming) has the best braking system of all the vehicles in the competition. Thus, it can still accelerate when the competition is already braking.

For his Hyperloop contest 2020, Elon Musk plans with a distance of around ten kilometres, including a bend. Maybe the braking advantage of WARR will no longer be so pronounced then.

Regardless, it will still be true that:
if you want to be fast, you first need to learn how to brake. Because since the total path is limited, you need to find a way to use as much distance as possible for acceleration.

Here is a nice metaphor for life:
If you want to be fast, first learn how to brake! 



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