New York to Beijing in two hours without leaving the ground?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Matthew, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    New York to Beijing in two hours without leaving the ground?

    An ETT (Evacuated Tube Transport) line in which car-sized passenger/cargo capsules would travel

    The basic plan is, well, as old as the enabling patent, US Patent 5950543, whose description is quite thorough. Issued in 1999, there remain seven years on the term of the patent, which is assigned to ET3.com, Inc., a licensing organization that hopes to head an alliance of players to fund and construct demonstration facilities.

    The short version of the ETT story is as follows: put a superconducting maglev train in evacuated tubes, then accelerate using linear electric motors until the design velocity is attained. As the motors are integrated into the evacuated tubes, the conveyance capsules which travel in the tube need have no moving or electrically activated parts - passive superconductors allow the capsules to float in the tube, while eddy currents induced in conducting materials drive the capsules. Efficiency of such a system would be high, as the electric energy required to accelerate a capsule could largely be recaptured as it slows.





    The most practical model system is based on car-sized passenger/cargo capsules that travel in 1.5 m (5 ft) diameter vacuum maglev tubes. The maglev tubes are permanently maintained at near vacuum conditions, and the capsules are inserted into and removed from the tubes through airlocks at stations along the route. After the capsules are accelerated to the design velocity (some 4,000 mph or 6,500 km/h), they coast for the remainder of the trip. There is no drag from traveling through air, and although small oscillations in the maglev suspension do cause a bit of inefficiency, it is a tiny fraction of the rather immense kinetic energy of an occupied capsule - which with a car of about 550 kg (1,212.5 lb) traveling at 4,000 mph is just about 244 kWh.

    The capsule speed will depend on the length of the trip, as it takes time to accelerate. Given a nominal acceleration of 1 g, it takes about 3 minutes to reach 4,000 mph, at which point the capsule has traveled over 100 miles (161 km). ET3.com, Inc. believes that a reasonable speed for shorter trips is 370 mph (600 km/h). While tubes could be networked like freeways, with capsules automatically routed along their trip, local and long-distance trips would require separate maglev tubes to avoid unreasonable scheduling delays. Around the world in just over six hours isn't orbital velocity, but the practical benefits would be nearly the same - vital goods and talent delivered quickly to where they are needed.

    Members of the ET3 consortium have worked with parties in China, where they say more than a dozen licenses for the company have been sold. As an open consortium, licensees become owners of the company and the group claims more than 60 licenses have also been sold in five different countries, with interest from several more. But with licenses selling through the ET3 website for US$100, a lot more people will need to get on board to turn the dreams of those behind the concept into a reality. The company is developing a 3D Virtual Ride for the system with those interested in hitching a ride able to submit their contact details here. Unfortunately, the prelaunch for the virtual ride was set for last year and it still hasn't eventuated.

    Promising concept or pipe dream? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

    Source: ET3
    New York to Beijing in two hours without leaving the ground?
     
  2. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Possible, but if something went wrong, the effects of the failure would be catastrophic.
     
  3. PredFan
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    PredFan Gold Member

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    Why China? Why not London? Tokyo?
     
  4. FA_Q2
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    FA_Q2 Gold Member

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    Why not? They are fast becoming our only economic rival. It would not be smart to discount the reality of China's future.

    To the OP though, it is a pipe dream. The science is there, has been for over a decade but the investment is not for the MASSIVE infrastructure that would be required for such a project. Not only is that infrastructure massive, it needs to materialize in its entirety before it can even get used once. That requires too much logistically speaking to be attractive or it would have been done already. At some point in our future, something like this will have to be done but it is a long way off before people are going to be ready to actually build it.
     
  5. Political Junky
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    Political Junky Gold Member

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    Meanwhile we can't manage to catch up with the rest of the world with high speed rail.
     
  6. Dont Taz Me Bro
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    Dont Taz Me Bro USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    There is no market demand for it, therefore there is no reason to build it.
     
  7. Political Junky
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    Political Junky Gold Member

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    There's plenty of demand for high speed rail.
    And there's demand for a tube to Beijing?
     
  8. Flopper
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    Flopper Gold Member

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    There was no market demand for a cell phone before someone built one and marketed it. There was no demand for computers when Bell Labs patented the first electric computer. Demand only develops for a new product once it's built, priced, and made available. The question is will there be demand if it's built? Hopefully, someone will investigate this idea.
     
  9. ABikerSailor
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    ABikerSailor Platinum Member

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    Because it's cheaper to build a tunnel under the Bering Strait than it is across the Atlantic Ocean, and once you get over to Russia, you can send them along the same routes as their high speed trains.

    And, Tokyo is located in Japan, a very high earthquake zone. Can you imagine being in a tunnel like that when a quake hits? You'd end up as raspberry puree once the vehicle left the tube.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  10. Flopper
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    Flopper Gold Member

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    Can you imagine being in an airliner at 30,000 and experience a total loss of power?
     

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