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  #41  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2013, 10:40 PM
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  #42  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2013, 6:09 AM
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Originally Posted by NYonward View Post
Sounds interesting and I am actually a fan of Elon Musk. However, his claim is that he can do this at a significant cost savings over the current HSR California plan. Right of ways or tunneling, either way is super expensive. I agree that why bother go through all the effort and then create a semi-fast HSR. But his claim that the actual costs would be significantly less are hard to believe.
Unless there's something I don't know, I think the costs will be burdened by level of perfection in the tunnel construction. Sure the technology works when the system is well built. But I don't think we have enough human skill resources or even reliable machinery to build this much tunnel with minimal construction anomalies. Plus there's the obvious maintenance issues of ground subsidence. The issue being you simply cannot ever have maintenance for this to be practical. The materials to resist such forces and still keep the system balanced could be expensive.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2013, 6:41 AM
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yes, but the person who comes with the idea usually is not Elon Musk, the guy who created paypal, Solar City, Tesla and SpaceX.

if there is someone who can create successful and inovative companies, its him. He would have my vote for president of Earth.
Mankind has not produced anything as complicated as this. We aren't talking spacecraft, airplanes, or small devices that are built in controlled envionments. We are talking about big systems that transport people and freight. Freeways and rail as expensive as they are will be slow, but reliable.

Our achievements were feasible because of scale or the adaptation and evolution of technology. Space shuttles and airplanes were remarkable because they didn't require physical guideways for entire length of their journey. Now we have to build a guideway that is perfect and a vehicle that is faster than anything out there. How does one accomplish both of those with decades future resources?
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  #44  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2013, 6:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Hayward View Post
Mankind has not produced anything as complicated as this. We aren't talking spacecraft, airplanes, or small devices that are built in controlled envionments. We are talking about big systems that transport people and freight. Freeways and rail as expensive as they are will be slow, but reliable.

Our achievements were feasible because of scale or the adaptation and evolution of technology. Space shuttles and airplanes were remarkable because they didn't require physical guideways for entire length of their journey. Now we have to build a guideway that is perfect and a vehicle that is faster than anything out there. How does one accomplish both of those with decades future resources?
with new ideas.
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  #45  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2013, 11:28 PM
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with new ideas.
And what is our rate of innovation in terms of large scale accomplishments in civil and structural engineering?
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  #46  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2013, 5:23 AM
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Exactly. Even short tunnels like subways and sewers often run into lots of unforeseen conditions, because we really have a terrible sense of what's going on underground; water movements, changes in soil type, fault lines, gas deposits, and so forth all contribute to uncertainty in tunnel construction.

My sense is that in rural areas, one could use cut and cover techniques to keep the costs predictable, with very shallow tunnels and prefabricated tunnel sections. Even for this, the costs are predictable but not low - digging hundreds of miles of trench and then backfilling is not cheap. It is commonly done for oil pipelines, though not at the diameter needed for transport. In urban areas, you would need to use bored tunnels to avoid huge disruption to the surface, and since our urban areas are so sprawling, that's a lot of deep tunneling with lots of uncertainty.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2013, 5:47 PM
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I have a mad respect for Mr Musk's dreams, he appears to be some kind of crazy billionaire freak that I find useful. But Hayward and ardecila are convincing (just as those 2 often are) in their exposure of actual constraints. We won't see such magic in our lifetimes. Those luckier who'll live long after us, possibly.
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  #48  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2013, 7:48 PM
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Originally Posted by llamaorama View Post
I think the real problem is the infrastructure. Are you really going to dig a 300 mile long tunnel or god forbid, build any kind of elevated structure whatsoever, in this country?

I once had this idea of the "vac-train" thing using much smaller vehicles that run in something that is more like a pipeline that the chunnel. It would just go in a trench. Even then, if it is going really fast it must be precisely engineered and I imagine they would still have to tunnel through hills and the like.
Build the tunnels above ground, except when mountains get in the way. Doing so would eliminate the added costs of tunneling, and, reduce the mass of the 'tunnel like enclosure.' In most cases, simply build the tunnel enclosure at or near ground level. For bridges, etc., super-elevate the tunnel enclosure.

Might not be the most pretty thing to look at, but, a 6 inch thick reinforced concrete circular section 8 to 10 meters in diameter at ground surface might be as cheap per kilometer as a two line freeway 8" or 10" slab for the same distance.
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  #49  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2013, 12:13 AM
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I'm a big believer in Elon Musk. I've invested heavily in Tesla and will do so with SpaceX whenever it finally goes public. I think the guy has vision and the drive to accomplish it.

That being said, he's made some pretty ignorant comments lately poo-pooing California's High Speed rail project. Talk is cheap, and its easy to say that something that's currently just an untested concept in his mind is going to be so much better and cheaper than what is already planned for California.

The thing is, infrastructure projects are expensive in America period, and his hyperloop - if ever built, won't be immune from that. There's eminent domain costs, tons of safety regulations, strict engineering tolerances, union labor, lawsuits, etc. His project would have to jump through all the same hoops that CAHSR is currently jumping through- all of which makes the costs balloon.

It pisses me off because the CAHSR project is already on thin ice and has lost popularity in voters eyes. If there was another referendum on the ballot it could get yanked completely, and it would be decades before the project got started again. Musk has no business making comments to help derail a real-world project that is actually happening for an untested, conceptual, more-expensive-than-he-thinks-it-will-be project that only exists in his brain.
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  #50  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2013, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Hayward View Post
Mankind has not produced anything as complicated as this. We aren't talking spacecraft, airplanes, or small devices that are built in controlled envionments. We are talking about big systems that transport people and freight. Freeways and rail as expensive as they are will be slow, but reliable.
Actually, we have built things along this line of complexity and precision. Actually, much moreso: the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

17 miles underground for $9 billion, with tolerances of what, nanometers? Ok probably not, but still. It does require a guideway system, essentially a tunnel-within-a-tunnel.

The LHC cost $529 million/mile, so a 4,000 km system built to the same tolerances would cost ~$2.1 trillion. Surprisingly affordable for a nation such as the United States or the EU, as it is a fraction of GDP.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2013, 5:45 AM
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Originally Posted by zilfondel View Post
Actually, we have built things along this line of complexity and precision. Actually, much moreso: the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

17 miles underground for $9 billion, with tolerances of what, nanometers? Ok probably not, but still. It does require a guideway system, essentially a tunnel-within-a-tunnel.

The LHC cost $529 million/mile, so a 4,000 km system built to the same tolerances would cost ~$2.1 trillion. Surprisingly affordable for a nation such as the United States or the EU, as it is a fraction of GDP.
Yes, and you didn't quote the other part I said. I said this is an issue with scale. You do realize the practicality of meeting such tolerances decreases as vehicles grow larger and more complex..especially with their contents as do the guideways. One thing we will always share in common with our past is that failures trigger from very very very small things. No genius has ever designed the perfect train, car, or airplane from failing despite that they've been around for a very long time. All of these vehicles are more forgiving of our design and construction defects, yet we still can't make them perfect. This proposed system would need to be perfect. Failure at those speeds could be catastrophic.

I want to be clear I believe Elon Musk should do whatever is possible to make this thing a close reality, but I hardly think this is achievable within our lifetimes excluding economic or political conditions. We simply don't have the right materials, automation and skill to put something like this together in the near future. To top it off, transportation developments are not static in innovation. People will continue to make faster, cleaner, smarter cars and planes. Some new creations will be used, others won't.
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  #52  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2013, 7:13 PM
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Elon Musk Posts Plan to Annouce Hyperloop Transit System
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0...it-system.html

Quote:
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors Inc., will unveil designs for a solar-powered inter-city passenger transport system by Aug. 12.

The technology behind the system will be a “breakthrough” and Musk will be “happy to work with the right partners,” Musk said in Twitter posts today. Musk is seeking “critical feedback” on the system and will publish it as open source, according to the tweets.
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  #53  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2013, 7:10 AM
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Not to forget Paypal, where it all started. Heck, even if he is not expert on the subject, you know that he probably has someone who is working on it for him.

I like the guy a lot. Wish we had more billionaires that had such an interest in advancing civilization.
well said. i don't like it when people call bullshit and yet what are they doing to advance our civilization. that's right,,, shit all. hahaha. i kid kid. but really. give the man his due credit. and please give him some extra faith toward these things because really, he is one of the few if not the only person on earth that is actual doing big enough things to actually make a difference toward the advancement of mankind's plight. cut him just a few extra feet of slack as compared to everyone else in this category, please.
my entire speach should be imagined to be narrated
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  #54  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2013, 8:05 AM
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As we've said before, massive infrastructure systems aren't like smartphones. They have community impacts and in America, that makes them intensely political.
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  #55  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2013, 5:16 PM
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ELON MUSK: 'I'm Too Strung Out' To Build The Hyperloop Myself
http://www.businessinsider.com/musk-...himself-2013-8
Quote:
I think I shot myself in the foot by ever mentioning the Hyperloop. I'm too strung out," he said on a Tesla Motors investor call this afternoon. Musk is already CEO of two young companies, Tesla and SpaceX.

In July, Musk promised to reveal his design for the mysterious technology on August 12. Then, he said, his idea will be public, and others can improve or act on it.

But if no progress has been made in a few years time, he added, then it could make sense for him to "make it happen." But "it's extremely speculative."
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  #56  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2013, 9:07 PM
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ELON MUSK: 'I'm Too Strung Out' To Build The Hyperloop Myself
http://www.businessinsider.com/musk-...himself-2013-8
Meanwhile, in other news, Tesla's stock was up 15% today and Elon Musk announced that Tesla will offer a sedan in 2016 that gets 200 miles per charge and cost $35,000.
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  #57  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2013, 9:39 PM
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I'm not an engineer but I'm having trouble conceptualizing how this thing wouldn't just blow up.

High speed trains that at most travel about 200 mph, or 300+ during tests, run over semi-flexible steel rails anchored to the ground or maglev guideways with an air cushion between the vehicle and the beam. In the event that hot weather causes a rail to slightly warp isn't necessarily catastrophic and in the worst case scenario the train will just ditch to the ground and scrape itself to a stop.

But a sled going "Ludicrous Speed" inside a small pipe, what if the pipe is slightly warped? Won't it catastrophically fail and smash up?
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  #58  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2013, 11:38 PM
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^ That's what I pointed out earlier. Mankind lacks competency in construction precision at that scale. Any sort of deviance in the tunnel profile would create extreme turbulence that would destroy the vehicle. Even if you could build the tunnel, you are at the mercy of Earth's forces causing subsidence and creep in the construction. I suppose one solution is building a vehicle entirely monolithic. Maybe 3D printed out of some super strength material where bonds could resist some pretty extreme forces.

Ideally this thing needs to be designed to be fast but within reasonable tolerances of construction. Plus it must be engineered to withstand schedules of deferred maintenance. America's bridges in comparison would be much cheaper and easier to maintain and how are we doing with that track record?

Musk is successful and convincing in his ideas because he achieves just above the curve of innovation. But this idea is way off in the future. By then our priorities may change as well as our attitudes on mobility. Is the shorter time it takes to get across the country make us better as a society or can we do more with faster planes?
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  #59  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2013, 12:55 AM
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^ Potentially, but the current fossil-fuel based approach to aviation is insanely unsustainable. IIRC high-speed rail is no less wasteful of energy but the electricity for electrified trains can come from any source imaginable while planes can only run on fossil fuels.
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  #60  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2013, 5:45 AM
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^ Potentially, but the current fossil-fuel based approach to aviation is insanely unsustainable. IIRC high-speed rail is no less wasteful of energy but the electricity for electrified trains can come from any source imaginable while planes can only run on fossil fuels.
Not true, we can engineer biofuels for airplanes.

Don't forget that the capital costs and energy to dig 1000+ km tunnels will also be "ludicrous."

I like to think that anything is possible in the future, but what is the advantage of some sort of scheme like this?

I'm also trying to imagine the engineering nightmare to digging a downtown station in an existing city - through the maze of existing geological features, transportation, infrastructure and utilities. San Francisco will be lucky to build its tiny train station for the CAHSR station in downtown, let alone a dead-straight zero-tolerance tube from SF to LA. Or NYC to DC.

At lease the Japanese started on their maglev train, which will cost $65 billion+, while here in America we pipe dream while sitting on craptastic, outdated infrastructure. Maybe it makes us feel better to tell ourselves we are superior because we can envision superior transpo systems and tech, while the rest of the world actually HAS better systems!
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