Pipeline Rapid Transit

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by Walter L. Wagner, Jun 5, 2007.

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  1. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    This is an old idea that keeps cropping up. It's been mentioned in various science fiction stories going back at least to the early 1980s, and patents have even been issued [ www.et3.com - called Evacuated Tube Transit, but essentially the same idea]. I personally filed a Patent Disclosure in 1983, unaware of the prior public publishing of the idea. It would appear that patenting of the general idea is no longer valid, though there would be plenty of room for specialized patents.

    The IDEA is:

    A tube is evacuated of almost all air. Inside are bottom, top, and side rails [or possibly in a Y configuration]. On the rails ride pressurized cars - passenger cars or cargo cars - that can move at very high speed due to almost zero air resistance, and upper/side rails to prevent derailment. Likely the cars would have a wheel-structure or mag-lev structure, spaced between each car and riding on the rails, forming a long train of cars.

    An electric motor/generator system would accelerate/decelerate the train of cars. Top speeds would be several thousand Kilometers per hour.

    Most systems theorize mag-lev, though even steel wheels would work - particularly if they are mag-lev and kept spinning at an appropriate speed!

    This might work well in an initial stage for delivery of small cargo, such as mail and small parcels, in which the pipeline is less than 1 meter in diameter. As experience is gained on maintaining the vacuum, and making pressure-locks fully functional, it could be scaled-up to 2-3 meters in diameter, with "cars" in which passengers are in a reclining position.

    Since such a system would require a huge financial expenditure, and decades of development, it would appear that only a large national/international government commitment could make it work.

    Is this something worth pursuing? Certainly the energy savings would be tremendous, once such a system were in operation. Could this be targeted for completion by mid-century?

    Ideas and comments are welcome.
     
  2. draqon Banned Banned

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    pipeline...and what if something goes wrong in that pipeline? instantaneous burst and everyone dies...nowhere for fire to escape...

    Also I am guessing this has to be vacuum...and vacuum requires alot of pumps to keep the air out.
     
  3. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, everyone dies, just like if something goes wrong with a jet airliner.

    No fire inside initially, if no air inside. However, a leak could prove disastrous. Would need lots of safety review. That's why it's suggested that initially should be for cargo, until experience is gained.

    Pumping out the air would be an initial huge cost, too.
     
  4. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    It seems to me that pumping out all the air, keeping the seal, contant maintenance, contsant security monitoring and great risk would not be worth the benefit of reduced air friction.
    Not to mention the hassle fo airlock systems...
    What happens if a seal is broken when someone is trying to load/unload a pod?
    Miles of air-evacuated tube filling up instantly would cause whoever is near the breach to be sucked in, and likely cause catasrophic collapse of the tubes.

    What would be the theoretical maximum speed of a similarly designed aerodynamically sound pod-on-a-track without all the hassle and expense of evacuating all the air?
    What is all this trouble netting?
     
  5. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    I would imagine that there would be several safety locks, so that cargo loading/unloading, should there be a failure, would not effect the Main Tube. Only once the cargo is loaded, would the cargo-car then move forward into the Main Tube region.

    The air resistance is where almost all of the energy goes from modern transportation. Every jet flight across the US uses several tons of fuel; likewise slower cars use about a ton of fuel to cross the US. 99% of that would be saved. This would add up to a tremendous fuel savings over time. Even travel at slower train speeds [300 kph] would yield some serious savings.

    However, solar panel powered light cars on a non-evacuated rail system should also be feasible for shorter/slower travel.

    Where this would work great would be long-distance travel at high speed. Getting the right-of-ways, etc., would be a headache.
     
  6. draqon Banned Banned

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    My idea is to use plasma coatings to decrease air friction...without the need of vacuum.
     
  7. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    ROI seems too low to be feasible to me.
     
  8. draqon Banned Banned

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    ROI?
     
  9. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    Return On Investment.
    What you get in excahnge for your effort/cost.
     
  10. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    ROI = Return on Investment

    How does Plasma Coating work?
     
  11. draqon Banned Banned

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  12. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    No it isn't. It's under study.
    They haven't even got a sustainable viable-use SCRamjet going yet.
    Plasma control (and MHD propulsion was posited by Rolls Royce back in the seventies, but no one has got a working model let alone an viable craft using it so far.
     
  13. draqon Banned Banned

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    well Russia uses it on one of the Sukhoi planes. Can't tell you which one thou.
     
  14. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    You can't tell me because you don't know or are you making out you know "secrets"?
    Again, no they don't. No-one has plasma control or propulsion systems, but Russia has a proposed plasma stealth system (as an add on) that was put forward as one reason why the MFI prototypes weren't as "stealthy-looking" as US current types.
    The Mikoyan MiG 1.44 (air vehicle component of the 1.42 project) and the Su-47 (originally S-37) Berkut have both been touted as platforms for this system, but neither will go into service.
     
  15. draqon Banned Banned

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    Su-47 is the Plane I meant.
     
  16. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't part of the theory of ionized air propulsion system theories that they only work in high altitude?
     
  17. draqon Banned Banned

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    really? :eek: can you give me a link...why is that?:bugeye: air density too high at low altitudes?
     
  18. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    The link YOU posted says:

    "Plasma in this context is a medium, such as air, that is ionized and can conduct electricity. Although air is normally a very poor conductor, flights at supersonic speeds occur at extreme altitudes where, with some augmentation, it can be ionized."
     
  19. draqon Banned Banned

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    yeah I guess I missed it. thanks. hmmm...I guess PiPeline raPid transit with use of Plasma is out than.
     
  20. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Plus which of course, no one but a moron (in an incredibly over-engineered vehicle) flies at supersonic speeds at low level.
     
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