The Hyperloop is a mobility concept proposed by Tesla founder Elon Musk, in which high-speed trains would travel at nearly the speed of sound at approximately 1,100 km/h, through tubes with extremely low air pressure. Using battery electric powered transport capsules known as pods, traveling from Munich to Berlin could take only 30 minutes in the future.
Therefore, in 2015, Musk introduced the Hyperloop Pod Competition. Student teams from around the world were asked to submit their concepts for the so-called pods that would transport the passengers through the tubes. Among the 700 participants was the WARR Hyperloop team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) whose speeds have yet to be defeated. The wheel surfaces, which are the only ones in the world that can withstand these extreme speeds, were created by the Austrian manufacturer Asma.
The student team from the Scientific Workgroup of Rocketry and Spaceflight (WARR) at the Technical University of Munich approached Asma to make the wheels for their pods. The real challenge was that the wheels had to bear 150 kg loads per wheel at speeds of up to 320 km/h (approx. 100 U/sec) and drive smoothly over height differences of up to 2 mm. R&D Manager at Asma, Rainer Poiss explains the benefits of their materials as follows: "High strength, elasticity and strain at break: These properties make polyurethane materials so interesting for components that require high abrasion resistance."
High operating speeds combined with high loads can cause problems to arise. In order to calculate and test accordingly in advance, the company selected a materials testing machine from ZwickRoell that performs tensile, compression, and flexure tests on the wheels as well as the coatings.
In August 2017, the second capsule from the WARR Hyperloop team zoomed through the test tube at 324 km/h at the SpaceX premises in Los Angeles. This accomplishment by the students from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) defended their win at the first competition at the start of the year. Elon Musk tracked their progress and congratulated the Munich students personally afterward.
Warr Team TUM