Simulation-Driven Design of a Hyperloop Capsule Motor

The Hyperloop transportation system is composed of a constrained space characterized by a low-pressure environment that is usually represented by tubes/tunnels. The space also houses a dedicated rail responsible for the mechanical constraining of energy-autonomous vehicles (called capsules or pods) carrying a given payload. Hyperloop capsules are expected to be self-propelled and can use the tube’s rail for guidance, magnetic levitation, and propulsion. For an average speed in the order of two to three times larger than high-speed electric trains and a maximum speed in the order of the speed of sound, the Hyperloop is expected to achieve average energy consumption in the range of 30–90 Wh/passenger/km and CO2 emissions in the range of 5–20 g CO2/passenger/km. A key aspect to achieve this performance is the optimal design of the capsule propulsion. A promising solution is represented by the double-sided linear induction motor (DSLIM). The performance of high-speed DSLIM is affected by material properties and geometrical factors.

In this webinar, we describe how to model a DSLIM using the COMSOL Multiphysics® software to provide an accurate estimation of the exerted thrust by the motor. Furthermore, we illustrate how to carry out a simulation-driven optimization to find the best motor configuration in terms of maximum speed. The results of the simulations are compared with measurements carried out in an experimental test bench developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, within the context of the participation of the EPFLoop team to the 2019 SpaceX Hyperloop pod competition.

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