Although a number of organizations have been taking a crack at bringing Elon Musk’s hyperloop design to life, the logistics and technology aren’t quite there just yet. Meanwhile, a 13 year old student from New York, Caroline Crouchley, has come up with her own concept that happens to be less expensive and more environmentally friendly.
Earning her second place at the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, Crouchley’s design involves setting up pressurized tubes following along established railways. Magnetic transport compartments would then move within the pneumatic tubes, which will be linked to trains by a magnetic branch as they travel along pre-established tracks – dramatically decreasing infrastructure expenses.
This would also reduce the reliance on diesel and electric motors. Trains wouldn’t be as heavy, meaning better fuel efficiency. These are crucial elements in Crouchley’s design, as she plans to produce practical solutions to combat climate change.
Why choose trains?
“I pinpointed transportation as something I wanted to work on because if we can make trains more efficient, then we can eliminate the amount of cars, trucks, and buses on the road,” said Crouchley.
The innovative young student drew part of her inspiration from her travels with her father and brother along the rail to New York City. Crouchley’s science teacher prompted her to get involved in the Young Scientist Challenge, which calls for middle school students across the United States to send in a clip proposing their insightful solutions to real world issues.
“After I got my inspiration, I did a lot of research on my design and on Hyperloop and Maglev. And I put my design on paper and later put it into Autodesk Inventor,” said Crouchley.
She explains that while Maglev is an effective concept, it costs too much, and typical Hyperloops come with a lot of faults.
“Hyperloop is very high risk,” says Crouchley. “My design can be less expensive and more efficient than current train technology that’s out there already. It’s also safer than Hyperloop. My design can rely on 100 percent renewable energy, so it eliminates the need for a diesel engine or an electric motor, which makes the train lighter, so it can move faster.”
Crouchley now plans on creating a larger version of her design to figure out important details needed for it to actually function in reality.