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Engineering a Hyperloop Pod with ANSYS

Since starting out as a segmented group of individuals passionate about high-speed technology, Berkeley Hyperloop (bLoop) has come a long way in our (roughly) two years of existence. What started as a vague mission to create a broader impact on the future of transport is now a tangible team of engineers, designers, marketers, logisticians and everything in between and we have no plans of stopping now. Of course, we didn’t do it alone. We’d be remiss if we did not acknowledge the generous support of sponsors like ANSYS, sponsors that have helped us realize the dream of designing and bringing a functional Hyperloop pod to that only existed in our wildest dreams up until a few months ago.

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With ANSYS technology, bLoop has accomplished a great deal — from identifying structural efficiencies to helping solve intricate problems in braking and levitation, ANSYS’ support has indeed been indispensable throughout our journey.

Starting with optimizing our aero profile, ANSYS CFD software allowed us to quell concerns about pod aerodynamics. By designing our pod with a Von Karman profile to minimize drag at speeds up to 250 miles per hour (the maximum speed before an air compressor becomes useful), we have been able to push our pod’s engineering capabilities to new heights. By running parametric sweeps of levitation and braking for airgap and velocity, we have been able to calculate and experimentally measure the forces generated by our NdFeB Halbach arrays.

Lastly, by generating a surface fit of our levitation sims, we have been able to compare and match experimental data to our expectations from simulation, thus increasing the accuracy of our design decisions. After presenting these results at the ANSYS Innovation Conference last fall, we received invaluable feedback that allowed us to improve our work. However, our design/build efforts are far from complete.

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In the near future, we plan on running more advanced simulations for our carbon fiber structures in ANSYS Composite PrePost to perform modal analysis and simulate loading on bonded subcomponents. We also plan to develop more innovative braking systems that could enable deceleration from speeds of up to 760mph. Gradually, we plan to completely redefine the way our pod is engineered and to compete at the SpaceX Hyperloop Competition in 2018. We are also expanding our team through the next few months to bring these ideas to life and engineer a powerful, sustainable pod.

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