S. Korean organizations collaborate on development of near-supersonic (~1,000 km/h) Korean Hyperloop train
The Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) signed a multi-year strategic partnership agreement with seven Korean research institutes—KICT (Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology); KOTI (Korea Transport Institute); KIMM (Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials); KERI (Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute); ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute); KRRI (Korea Railroad Research Institute); and Hanyang University—to accelerate the realization of government’s new plan to build a futuristic transportation system.
In the memorandum of understanding, the eight organizations promised to collaborate on the development of core technologies for the near-supersonic Korean Hyperloop train, also known as Hyper Tube Express (HTX). The Hyper Tube Express (HTX) is an ultra-fast transit system powered by magnetic attraction that would move at nearly 1,000 km/h (621 mph) inside a tube under partial vacuum—a concept similar to Elon Musk’s Hyperloop. (Earlier post.) At this speed, traveling from Seoul to Busan would only take about 20 minutes; the 412-km (256-mile) trip is currently a little less than three hours on the KTX (Korea Train eXpress).
|Top: HTX Hyper Tube Express (HTX) capsule. Bottom: Capsule in tube cutaway, designed by Professor Yunwoo Jeong of Design and Human Engineering at UNIST. Click to enlarge.|
Through the theoretical analysis, UNIST will be in charge of the design and implementation of the magnetic levitation system of the HTX. UNIST is the only university, embarked on a joint study of Hyper Tube and is currently working on the designs for both HTX and its station building.
According to Professor Yeon Woo Jung of Design and Human Engineering, the length of the train is 21 meters and could carry up to 20 passengers. It is designed as a round three-dimensional platform capable of rotating. When a train arrives in station, a circular lift takes the train down to the lower floor to disembark and embark passengers, and then climbs up again.
For the design of air compressors, UNIST is analyzing the change in air flow in a vacuum state. The air compressor is the key element of a hyper tube that sucks in the air in front of the train in order to reduce the air friction and the air resistance in the tube when the train moves through the vacuum tube. UNIST is also studying the power supply system for ensuring the stability of the body and proper acceleration through vibration analysis of trains moving at super high speed.
KRRI will develop the system engineering of the hypertube including the vehicle system, propulsion and float technology, and operation control system.
The railroad research institution said it will test core technologies of the system such as electromagnetic technology in the lab while developing a blueprint for general infrastructure such as tubes. The KRRI will oversee the system engineering for three years. KRRI had already committed 24 billion won (US$20.4 million) for nine years as a project endorsed by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.