How HyperXite Used ANSYS Simulation to Advance in the Hyperloop Competition

The Hyperloop from SpaceX is the future of fast, affordable and sustainable transportation.  HyperXite, our team from the University of California, Irvine, which is competing in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition, is using ANSYS Fluent and ANSYS Mechanical simulation solutions to design and build a 1:2 scale Hyperloop pod.

If successful, the pod eventually will be able to transport 840 people between Los Angeles and San Francisco at 760 mph while floating on a cushion of air. Of the 120 teams in the competition, we were the only team in the top five at SpaceX design weekend to propose air levitation as our driving force.

University of California, Irvine (UCI) HyperXite Team Hyperloop

University of California, Irvine (UCI) HyperXite Team

Two years ago we began as a small group of engineers who wanted to make an impact on the world and leave it better than we had found it. This is our opportunity to contribute to the future.

HyperXite is now a team of 50 students from many engineering disciplines. ANSYS, the team’s first corporate sponsor, has been there as a mentor from the beginning. To be a competitive team you need more than a few brilliant minds; you need to bring them together with experienced advisers to inspire a revolutionary design concept.

ANSYS Fluent and ANSYS Mechanical simulation solutions allow us to test crucial aspects of the pod, such as safety factors and deformation, multiple times before changes are made physically to the pod. Engineering simulations also help us to ensure that each subsystem is durable, capable of withstanding a 2G acceleration and able to function in a vacuum. This guarantees optimal safety and performance.

ANSYS Mechanical simulation of Hyperloop pod strength

Using resources provided by ANSYS, we have saved valuable time and money on our project. Not only did HyperXite team members benefit from ANSYS solutions during their time on the team, but many have used the skills they developed on the pod project to find jobs and internships at companies such as SpaceX, NASA’s JPL, Tri Alpha Energy and ANSYS. The success of the HyperXite team has not only contributed to a successful pod, but also to the development of top level engineers.

As evidence that this collaboration with ANSYS is working, HyperXite ranked fifth out of 120 teams (in the category of designing and building a full pod) from around the world in the SpaceX design weekend competition in January 2016. That’s up from the 29 teams who attended the first SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition.

During the first Hyperloop Competition Weekend, we passed all the preliminary tests, which included actuating all systems in a vacuum and performing low-speed tests on an open-air track. We have recently  attended Hyperloop Pod Competition Weekend II on Aug. 27-29, 2017, where HyperXite was one of 23 teams competing for fastest pod honors. HyperXite found great success in the competition, being not only the fastest All-American Team to compete, but the second in the world with an air based levitation system to do so as well as being one of the top six to run on the mile-long open air Hyperloop tube.

The HyperXite team at their booth during Competition Weekend II, click here to view The 19th edition of The Loop, HyperXite’s newsletter to learn more about HyperXite at Competition Weekend II.

Our team received a lot of feedback and suggestions for improvement by engineers and other competing teams at SpaceX during competition weekend. This advice helped us to improve our pod and brought us one step closer to creating the future of transportation.

HyperXite has been invited back to compete in Competition Weekend III, which will take place in the Summer of 2018. A new pod is being designed with self propulsion with a goal of being the FASTEST pod to compete!

We thank you for joining us on our journey. HyperXite’s pod is always evolving, and we are excited and grateful to have ANSYS along for the ride.  For more information and to keep up to date with everything our team is doing, check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or subscribe to our newsletter.

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  1. Pingback: Blog Review – Monday, November 6, 2017 | Systems Design Engineering Community

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