Senior Design team takes on Hyperloop challenge
open competition to design and build a Hyperloop pod. Targeted for June 2016 and aimed at university students and independent engineering teams, the competition will offer teams the opportunity to test human-scale pods at the company’s one-mile test track in Hawthorne, California. According to SpaceX, any knowledge gained at the competition will be open-sourced.
A concept proposed by Elon Musk in 2013, the Hyperloop aims to be a new mode of transportation that uses a capsule electromagnetically accelerated to near-sonic speeds on air bearings through a low-pressure tube, connecting cities up to 900 miles apart.
The University of Illinois is currently forming a team that will bring together students from many disciplines across campus. As it turns out, MechSE students may offer an advantage to the competition. Over the past several semesters, two Senior Design teams, under the guidance of MechSE Professor Carlos Pantano-Rubino, have tackled the challenge of designing a small-scale but functional prototype of a Hyperloop system.
This year’s team included Nate Anderson, Andrew Horton, Rohan Khanna, Karen Lipa, and Ruben Robles. Their design incorporated three subsystems: the capsule, containing a ferromagnetic material; a linear induction motor that accelerates the capsule via electromagnetic induction; and the track and supports t
o guide the capsule in a loop. They also collaborated with ECE senior design students (Michael Eraci, Mohammad Jaber, and Shivam Sharma) on the prototype’s electr
The team built upon the critical developments and findings of the first Senior Design team to design the Hyperloop system in spring 2014,
which included Andrew Bell, Elliott Giraud, Tut Tangtragulcharoen, Logan Wan, and Louis Zhao. Both of the Senior Design projects were made possible by generous financial support from Shell Oil Company.
Students interested in joining the campus team for the competition should follow the updates posted on the developing Facebook page.
MechSE students should also contact the mechse-undergradillinois [dot] edu (Undergraduate Programs Office) (with "Hyperloop" in the subject line) to get involved with the project and incorporate this experience into their curriculum.