Here is an insightful overview of what Berkeley Hyperloop's engineering subteams worked on this summer. We hope you enjoy reading about our team's progress and improvement as we continue to build the newly designed pod this semester.
Braking did research into a new type of braking mechanism, and are currently in the process of assembling and testing a lead screw prototype. This design has been approached by other hyperloop teams, and the braking team was inspired to try this after seeing them at competition weekend in January. The levitation and braking test rig needed some alterations too, and those teams worked to get the rig up and running again so that we can run validation tests on our old braking arrays to get some data that will be useful for the redesign.
Levitation team spent the summer developing a process for simulating magnetic arrays in ANSYS, writing a matlab script that compiles their data in a useful way. They also did research into actuation methods, deciding that we will likely use screw jacks to move our levitation arrays. This semester, Lev is going to be running simulations to finalize an array design and validating the forces that are going to be generated. They are also going to be modeling the integration of the screw jacks into the pod as a whole, with the goal being full design lock in December.
Structures spent the summer looking into changes that could be made to the overall shape of the pod. We spoke to the previous lead to determine changes that could be made, such as focusing less on aerodynamics, and more on incorporating other subteams. One change we’ve decided on was to ditch the base package concept, and instead use skis similar to wheels on a car. In turn, this means we need to look more into suspension systems. This semester, Structures would like to have completed a smaller scale mockup of the pod, and run structural simulations.
The controls team spent most of the summer attempting to restore functionality to the pneumatic system used in competition in January. The team also spent time thinking about a redesign for the control mechanism for braking. We created a prototype system for controller brake actuation via lead screw and a motor. Proof of concept works, but we still need to scale up testing conditions. Team leadership also created a design doc for new members to get acquainted with microcontrollers and sensors, so we can have more involvement from new members. Members are also working on a redesign of the software architecture so we can built a more modular and redundant system.