Power Tunnel


The Chairman of the board brings the extended invitation meeting to order and introduces the C E 0 to the assembly.

This meeting has been called with the total executive membership and construction supervisors to gain a contract. First we will see a series of documentaries to show what we are trying to achieve.

The first is on the model race cars that have electric motors and run on the parallel brass pick-up strips. Incredibly fast and with amazing acceleration.

The second is more than a model race car, it is a scaled down experiment to determine the maximum speed an electric vehicle can attain in an evacuated tube.

The third is similar but is a study in virtual reality based on a one hundred year idea.

" The Atlantic Tunnel". A book written on the use of concrete caissons, floated, sunk and coupled together across the Atlantic ocean, as a tunnel. Using a pressurized fuselage in an evacuated tube and with magnetic lift and propulsion. Are we ready, O.K.

If we can now see the first. As you can see these young people have these model race cars as a sport with design and fabrication as part of the challenge. You can see the acceleration and top speed they get with a fixed voltage and current and how quickly the races finish. We will go straight to the second doco.

The second documentary is the visual record of an experiment to see how fast an electric vehicle can travel in an evacuated tube. As you can see, setting up an evacuated tube of this diameter and size is a comprehensive undertaking. Water piping is the first thing you think of ,but the joining seals have to be reversed and this means the mating pipe ends has to have a much longer chamfer to allow the pipes to engage.

Mounting them so that thermal expansion is allowed for, another problem. To keep the pipes straight and level requires a high level of engineering. The Laser Gravity Telescope in W.A. provided the flat landscape and area to set up this experimental equipment.

Placing lighting in the tubing, while difficult allows the use of miniature cameras and recording gear in the pressurized vehicle running in the tunnel. As you can see there has to be air locks with vacuum pumps to get the vehicles in and out of the evacuated tubing. More high grade engineering, with air tight doors each end. The power supply to the stripping along the base of the tube, virtually the same as the model race cars.

We did not find out the top speed achieved, but air filled rubber tyres failed early in the experiment. If you follow the high speed record breaking cars, about six hundred kilometers an hour is all tyres are capable of doing before disintregrating. These rocket and jet vehicles use metal wheels and they can go faster than sound, they actually break the sound barrier on the ground. Actually on the salt pans of dried out lakes.

The little lights inside the tubing give us a measure of the speed achieved, the trouble is the vehicles go so fast there is no visible interuption,that we can determine that speed. Suffice to say at least many hundreds of kilometers an hour.

In our climate if we could not keep the tubing reasonably cool, the whole idea collapses. The tubing would be a long oven, so an outside temperature measuring system was set up with sensors, on top, underneath and each side of the piping. Inside the pipe along with the intermittent lights were fitted temperature sensors with radio links to the electric vehicle, to monitor the temperature at the highest point of the pipe/tunnel.

Using the latest paint, which not only reflects heat but conducts it from the inside, the temperature inside was always low enough that travel inside the tunnel is comfortable.

A full size system would of course need a cooling system not just for the electric drive motors, but for the internal heat generated by the passengers body heat. As waste heat could only be radiated away, a heat sink of liquid air evaporating,also giving a fresh air supply seems to be sufficient for the short times envisaged.

Before we go on to show the last part of these documentaries, an explanation of the purpose of all this is needed. Air travel keeps getting more popular, so with air ports being near centres of population, noise becomes a problem, along with the curfews.

Most air craft movements are set up to alleviate noise,from quick take off with a low noise slow climb, then when far from the airport and high, they climb as quickly as possible to economical cruise altitude.

Then landing actually starts hundreds of kilometers from the airport with a coasting descent to save fuel and keep noise levels low.

If the airport could be moved, as some have been, to a remote location with proper trucking access, they become money makers of the first order. Cargo and passengers can then move at all hours profitably.

What is all this to do with a construction contractor? Access to this remote location Requires reliable infrastructure. Three levels! first, a proper all weather heavy vehicle road, second an O-Bahn bus track, again high speed non-stop passenger and light truck through way. Third, an ultra high speed passenger and light freight system. An evacuated metal framed, metal skinned tunnel which would allow travel of the eighty odd kilometers in a few minutes.

This last system is planned to keep most of the people away from the airport. How, the passenger check in and monitoring and customs would be in the centre of the city.

The work force of the airport would commute to the city and then shoot out to the airport. All the beaurocracy would be in the city, with every access to private and public transport. The Security at the airport would be less, with more at the city terminal,with all the transport needed to go to and from work.

This is a good time for a break as there is a lot to absorb and think about,fifteen minutes O.K.

We have a record of the full trip through the miniature experiment,before we go to the full size virtual showing.

First the outer door of the air lock closes, you can see the pressure on the monitor, the inner door opens and you can see the lights into the distance in the tube/tunnel. WE start and we fly, the lighting becomes continuous, we slow and stop, the inner door opens and we are now in the other airlock, we repressurise the outer door opens and we are back outside. As the miniature set up is only a few kilometers,the trip is short and short time, but the speed is immense as you saw.

Now the Virtual Reality unit is going to show the frame work on the support bases, The expansion sections a lot like a tyre but a lot bigger diameter of course. The double strips for the power feed, you need a gap for thermal expansion, so that is four strips.

The heavy gauge outer skin and how it has to be fitted and be airtight, the safety track up at the roof for any earth shake. The size of the tunnel looks to be set also the size of the airlock entry and exit. That gives us our measurement for the frame sections and material quantities for supports and locking the sections down. The roof track to keep the ve3hicle stable with an upper wheel system when and if there is ground movement.

The vehicle size gives us the dimensions of the air locks and the air volume needed to be evacuated. So we can now show the Virtual Reality doco to get a feel for an eighty kilometer trip at high speed including in and out of the air locks. After that another break and then a round table discussion of what we want to be involved in on the construction of any or all the transport links and the airport itself. The Terminal building will of course have two air locks built in with unloading and loading areas and access for cargo and passengers.

All clear, then we shall run the make believe documentary.