The Hyperloop is a concept for the high-speed ground transportation of passengers traveling in pods at transonic speeds in a partially evacuated tube. It consists of a low-pressure tube with capsules traveling at both low and high speeds throughout the length of the tube. When a high-speed system travels through a low-pressure tube with a constrained diameter such as in the case of the Hyperloop, it becomes an aerodynamically challenging problem. Airflow tends to get choked at the constrained areas around the pod, creating a high-pressure region at the front of the pod, a phenomenon referred to as the “piston effect.” Papers exploring potential solutions for the piston effect are scarce. In this study, using the Reynolds-Average Navier–Stokes (RANS) technique for three-dimensional computational analysis, the aerodynamic performance of a Hyperloop pod inside a vacuum tube is studied. Further, aerofoil-shaped fins are added to the aeroshell as a potential way to mitigate the piston effect. The results show that the addition of fins helps in reducing the drag and eddy currents while providing a positive lift to the pod. Further, these fins are found to be effective in reducing the pressure build-up at the front of the pod.
San José State University
Aerodynamic design, Hyperloop, Optimization of airflow, Plunger effect
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Aditya Bose and Vimal K. Viswanathan. "Mitigating the piston effect in high-speed hyperloop transportation: A study on the use of aerofoils" Energies (2021). https://doi.org/10.3390/en14020464