Hyperloop: How We’ll Travel In Tubes

July 19th, 2016 by Jennifer Lough

Hyperloop MVIThere’s no good explanation for it, but Hyperloop transportation technologies seem to attract people with exceptional names. Elon Musk, of Tesla and SpaceX, proposed the first major Hyperloop idea in August 2013. Essentially, cargo and humans will travel through a tube at around 700 mph. This is supposed to be possible by reducing the amount of air present in the tube and building pods that travel inside by air bearings, magnetic levitation, or something similar. A few startups (and MIT) have begun developing prototypes and master plans for their Hyperloop pods, but Hyperloop One has some of the flashiest technology at the moment.

On May 11 Hyperloop One ran their first propulsion open air test, which appeared to be a sled on a track in some sand. However, using a linear electric motor, the test sled reached 100 mph in two seconds, which observers believe is a promising step forward. Read the rest of this entry »


Battery Charges: Considering Li-Air Technology

July 5th, 2016 by Jennifer Lough

Battery Life MVIToday started fairly typically. I dragged myself out of bed, drove to work, and opened my laptop. The laptop, mind you, had been charging all night, but for reasons I don’t care to investigate, the ten minute drive had reduced the battery to 96%. Figures. I then put the battery in Power Saver mode, which was evidently a bad move since the laptop went from four hours and twenty-nine minutes of power remaining to two hours and fifty-eight minutes. Fortunately, rumor has it there’s a much better battery in development.

Presently, most batteries utilize lithium ions. To grossly oversimplify, the lithium ion battery works by sending lithium ions from an anode (negative electrode) to a cathode (positive electrode) via an organic liquid (electrolyte) while charging, and the process reverses during discharge. Read the rest of this entry »