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From D.C. To Beijing In 2 Hours – Evacuated Tube Transport Could Revolutionize How We Travel
Posted 04 May 2012 - 06:14 AM
Daryl Oster wants to change the world by making it smaller.
He wants you to “Imagine living in warm sunny Los Angeles and commuting daily to New York City with only a forty-five minute commute.” Or to “Imagine ordering Chinese food – from China.”
And he doesn’t need a spaceship to do it because, in a way, he’s bringing space travel to Earth. I got a chance to pick Oster’s brain about his revolutionary transport system. I learned very quickly, first and foremost, that it “is NOT a train!!!”
What it is is Evacuated Tube Transport, orETT. ETT combines the efficiency of maglev trains, already in use in Europe and Asia, with the efficiency of moving through an airless environment. Maglev is short for magnetic levitation. It takes advantage of physical properties that we all learned in grade school: that opposite poles of a magnet attract, like poles repel. For maglev trains, a magnetic field is generated by the guideway tracks that both levitates the train and, by placing attractive forces just so through “linear propulsion,” pulls it forward. Two key differences between maglevs and conventional trains is the frictionless floating over the tracks and the lack of an engine. While kicking back in an Amtrak car you’re not likely to go more than 80 mph. Maglevs can top 300 mph. And they would go so much faster if it weren’t for all that air slowing them down.
ETT does the maglevs one better by sending its levitated capsules down guider tubes out of which the air has been sucked, creating a vacuum. Like maglev vehicles, linear electric motors in the track will use the attraction and repulsion between the track and the capsules in a coordinated manner to propel the capsules forward. But because there is virtually no resistance in the evacuated tube, once the train gets up to speed it can just coast. Not only does ETT lack an engine – and a need for fossil fuel propulsion – but because it can glide along almost indefinitely through the vacuum it takes full advantage of Newton’s age-old “an object in motion stays in motion.” That is, until someone hits the brakes.
And the motion we’re talking about is seriously fast. If ETT does see the light of day it is estimated to travel at a top speed of 4,000 mph. That’s more than mach 5! More than only the fastest record-breaking jets! At 4,000 mph, a trip from Washington DC to Beijing would take just two hours.
I’ll take the Szechuan beef, extra spicy. And because of the low energy demands of floating along a frictionless magnetic cushion, Oster claims the trip will cost passengers a very reasonable $100.
And give me your finest bottle of rice wine.
Here’s a video summary of how the ETT would work.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 06:25 AM
Edited by MarcZ, 04 May 2012 - 06:25 AM.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:24 AM
"People Aren't against you; they're for themselves"
"If you don't want people looking down at you then grow up"
"If you know the rules to the game, play; 'cause when we die we all know we'll be going the same way"
Posted 04 May 2012 - 08:14 PM
Posted 17 August 2012 - 12:45 PM
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