Hyperloop pod easily adaptable thanks to profile technology
“The entire hyperloop concept generally depends on numerous components that don’t even exist yet in this form, so each team normally focuses on a particular aspect and tests its practical viability,” says Leonhard Döring who, in his role as Team Captain, has led mu-zero HYPERLOOP during its first year. The original KIT group quickly became a charitable association so that other universities could also join the team. Even though the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition launched by Elon Musk is not currently taking place, the European Hyperloop Week has established itself as a successful European equivalent that is held annually and dictates the hyperloop scene’s planning. In less than eight months, the young mu-zero HYPERLOOP team succeeded in developing a fully functional prototype that was designed around the drive. “It’s a linear motor, so we don’t need wheels for propulsion. The special thing about our design is that, by modulating the magnetic field it generates, the motor is capable of both propulsion and levitation, meaning it can lift the entire pod,” explains Lars Ohnemus, who is responsible for all the mechanical aspects.
The pod is encapsulated by a lightweight aerodynamic shell that is specially optimized for high speeds. Beneath this shell is the actual structure, which is based on item aluminum profile technology and to which all other pod components are attached. The number one requirement was for the system to be easy to adapt during the short development period. “We were always needing to quickly change or attach something, and the profiles from item were an ideal solution for this. As a result, we were able to develop the pod much faster,” emphasises Ohnemus. In addition to this, using the item Engineeringtool to create their design and obtain the necessary machined components saved the hyperloop team several weeks. Two different test stands – both largely made from profile technology – were also required to characterize the system’s behavior. For example, one of them maps and tests the motor’s performance on a smaller scale.
A view of mu-zero HYPERLOOP’s open pod shows that the frame consists of profile technology from item.