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What is the flying iron? When can it be realized

What is the flying iron? When can it be realized China's high-speed rail is developing at an astonishing speed. Some imported technologies have been turned into independent intellectual property rights, and the speed is at the forefront of the world, reaching more than 300 kilometers per hour. However, it's not only shocking. Recently, China Aerospace Science and Technology Group announced that the speed of the flying iron can reach 4000 kilometers per hour, and the rhythm of going to the sky in minutes. Do you know what the flying iron is? When can it be realized Now?

On August 30, China Aerospace Science and industry group (hereinafter referred to as "Aerospace Science and industry") put a heavy weight on the third China (International) commercial aerospace Summit Forum, and announced that it has carried out the research and demonstration of "high-speed flight train" in the United Nations with a maximum speed of 4000 kilometers per hour. With this speed of more than three times the speed of sound, let the public call it "flying iron".

The so-called "high-speed flying train" is based on the principle of using vacuum tube and superconducting maglev technology to achieve supersonic "near earth flight", which is known as the "fifth mode of transportation" in the future. In fact, China has introduced the concept of vacuum pipeline maglev as early as around 2000. In the past 20 years, little attention has been paid to it. The limelight has been covered by the 'super high speed rail' proposed by Elon Musk, the Silicon Valley 'iron man' in 2013. At present, in the world, Switzerland, the United States and China are the countries that study the maglev traffic in vacuum pipelines.

Zhao Yong, chief professor of Southwest Jiaotong University, distinguished professor of Changjiang Scholars and director of research and Development Center for superconductivity and new energy, said in an interview with surging news that "this technology needs to attract social attention. Zhao Yong thought that, at this time, aerospace science and Technology Co., Ltd. publicly announced the project. "It's not that the technology has matured, but that it needs the intervention of the industrial sector, the input of the national government, and the development of the early technology. '

Zhao Yong is the first doctor in the field of high-temperature superconductivity in China. After 13 years in Italy, Australia and Japan, he returned to Southwest Jiaotong University. He is a distinguished professor of Yangtze River scholars in the Department of materials science and engineering of Southwest Jiaotong University and one of the first winners of the national fund for distinguished young scholars. At that time, Zhao Yong thought that "Southwest Jiaotong University is the most suitable place for Superconducting Maglev research". According to Zhao Yong, Zhao Yong's team is one of the members of the first international high-speed flight train industry alliance in China.

Previously, on August 30, the aerospace science and Engineering Department said that it has jointly established the first international high-speed flight train industry alliance in China with more than 20 scientific research institutions at home and abroad for the 'high-speed flight train' project. At present, the team has more than 200 patents in related fields. The industry alliance is also known as the 'national team' in the field of vacuum tube maglev research.

Zhao Yong also revealed that "the whole plan and basic idea of Aerospace Science and engineering is put forward according to our book, and we are here to help complete the specific design of maglev. Zhao Yong refers to his book "Introduction to fast car system" published in 2009, which is the world's first monograph on vacuum pipeline maglev technology. Liu Benlin, another author of the book, told surging news that he and Zhao Yong, who were students in the Physics Department of the University of science and technology of China, were in contact with vacuum pipeline transportation in 2005. It is worth mentioning that in the eyes of outsiders, Liu Benlin is a 'folk research enthusiast' who is full of enthusiasm for new things, not a regular scientific research institution.

However, both Zhao Yong and Liu Benlin are extremely cautious about 4000 km / h. Zhao Yong said: 'I have always stressed the key and importance of the first step of 1000 kph. When you haven't achieved 1000 kph, talking about 4000 kph doesn't mean much. '

Speed up to 4000 kilometers per hour, 'cheer up people'

According to the announcement of Aerospace Science and engineering on August 30, the landing of high-speed flight train project will be gradually realized in accordance with the three-step strategy of maximum operating speed of 1000 km / h, 2000 km / h and 4000 km / h.

The first step is to build a regional intercity flight train network through 1000 km / h transport capacity. The second step is to build the transport network of the national super city group through 2000 km / h transport capacity, and the third step is to build the "one belt" flight train network through the capacity of 4000 km / h. Aerospace Science and engineering also has high hopes for the "advanced flight train", which will eventually become the "new business card of China" after aerospace, high-speed rail and nuclear power.

However, the grand blueprint has yet to give a timetable for response.

Zhao Yong said: 'we can simply mention this vision, which is enough, but don't spend too much energy on it. We should really develop the technology of 1000 km / H first and accumulate enough experience on this basis. "But Zhao Yong also said," Aerospace Science and engineering is also of great significance. It is the first one in China to form an alliance in the field of vacuum pipes, which is very encouraging and can also inspire people. '

But Zhao believes that there is no shortcut to "super flight train". "This is an engineering problem. First of all, from the laboratory, to the pilot test, and then to the engineering stage, this rule must be really followed. We haven't got the data of the laboratory yet, which is far away from this prospect. '

In 2011, Zhao Yong's team developed the world's first high temperature superconducting maglev train test system with vacuum pipeline. The track diameter of the system is 3 meters, the minimum pressure of the pipeline is 2000 PA, and the maglev train is driven by linear motor. At present, the first generation of experimental model has been removed. In January 2016, Zhao Yong's team completed the construction of the second generation of high temperature superconducting maglev train system with vacuum pipeline. For the first time, the system adopts the "wall hanging" operation, that is, the ring track with a diameter of 6.5m is laid on the ring metal wall to make the maglev train run at high speed along the wall. According to the research team, in terms of structural mechanics, the second generation system effectively increases the centripetal force of the maglev when it runs along the loop line, and prevents the maglev from derailing along the tangent direction of the track, so as to achieve higher operating speed and safety stability.

In May 2016, the system completed the first stage of debugging, with the speed reaching 108 km / h; in October 2016, the system completed the second stage of debugging, with the speed reaching 150 km / h. Zhao Yong told the surging news, "at present, our laboratory can achieve 160 kilometers per hour in high-temperature superconducting maglev, which should be the highest speed in the laboratory.". The difficulty of the laboratory system is that the site is limited and can only be made into a ring. The small radius of the ring has a large centrifugal force, which is very difficult to do. '

At present, the speed of superconducting magnetic levitation is recorded in Japan. Japan adopts low-temperature superconducting maglev technology, with a manned speed of 603 km / h. This technology industry is also mature. In 2014, Japan started construction of the world's first superconducting maglev high-speed railway with a top speed of 505 km / h, which is expected to be completed and opened to traffic in 2027.

Zhao Yong said: 'this speed in Japan is achieved in the middle of dense atmosphere. If the dense atmosphere is turned into a low-pressure pipeline, it can be achieved in theory. But whether it's vacuum pipe, high-temperature superconducting maglev technology, or the combination of these two technologies, there is a gap at home and abroad, and there are many core technologies to be developed. '

The book "Introduction to fast train system" discusses the design of vacuum pipeline, system transfer cooling, fast train driving and guiding, fast train route design, emergency rescue and other aspects, but up to now, there is no mature scheme for these problems. Zhao Yong mentioned that, taking the vacuum pipeline as an example, the establishment and maintenance of such a huge vacuum system, to achieve low cost is a big problem.

The high cost that the laboratory can't bear

In addition to many gaps in the field of technology, "high-speed flying train" has to face high development costs. And that, perhaps, is one of the reasons for the sudden high profile announcement of the project. As mentioned earlier by Aerospace Science and industry, the project is to be realized through commercialization and marketization.

Zhao Yong said, 'it really needs the attention of the capital market and the state, because this is not only a high-tech that can be promoted from the technical level, but also a high-tech that covers a wide range of areas. So far, the capital market has not been involved, and the state's direct investment in the vacuum pipeline has not been. '

'now it is necessary for relevant organizations to jointly develop this technology, not to say that it has matured. It needs the intervention of the industrial sector, the input of the national government, and the development of the early technology. The school can only provide reference. "Said Zhao Yong.

Even for Zhao Yong's team, if they want to further promote the experiment, they must obtain more funds and national policy support. In Zhao Yong's vision, the project must move from the laboratory to the outdoors. "The first thing we need for outdoor experiments is a site, at least one or two kilometers of pipelines for preliminary tests, at least tens of kilometers for pilot tests, and more than 30 kilometers for Japan's 600 kilometers per hour maglev line. According to this ratio, 50 to 100 kilometers of pilot lines are needed.". According to Zhao Yong, these steps are indispensable. 'without these tests, who dares to use what you have made? Try again and again on this to provide security guarantee, so as to promote it to the project. '

However, the high cost of building the maglev model of the vacuum pipeline is not acceptable for a laboratory. 'the investment must be in billion yuan. By analogy, the cost of subway is 600 million yuan to 1 billion yuan per kilometer, which is not what our laboratory can do. '

Musk released a white paper in 2013, proposing the concept of "super high speed rail". He claimed that the super high speed rail train from San Francisco to Los Angeles can reach a maximum speed of 1200 km / h, with a cost of 6-10 billion US dollars, only one tenth of the high-speed rail project in California. At that time, the cost was generally considered too low in the industry.

In an interview with the surging news, Liu said: 'the cost of the fast car system will surely be more expensive than that of the high-speed railway and subway. It is impossible to avoid this problem. '

It is worth mentioning that only Switzerland has ever received government funding in the current countries studying vacuum pipeline trains.

In Switzerland, Dr. R. nieth proposed the concept of maglev train in the underground vacuum tunnel in 1974, namely 'Swiss subway'. In 1985, he obtained the support of the Swiss government and funded an initial study. In 1999, Reese and his team presented a research report to the Swiss Federal Parliament, proposing specific technical solutions. But "Swiss subway" has been stagnant since 1999, and the Swiss Federal Parliament decided in 2005 not to promote the project.

The United States now relies on private financing. 'super high speed rail' hyperloop one announced in October 2016 that it has completed a US $50 million round C financing, with a total amount of US $160 million.

Hyperloop one was founded in 2014 by shervin pishevar, an early Uber investor, Brogan bambrogan, a former SpaceX engineer, and rob Lloyd, the current CEO of hyperloop one.

On August 31 local time, musk announced on his personal instagram account that Tesla's super high-speed train speed reached 355 kilometers per hour, breaking the previous speed of 324 kilometers per hour of Warr hyperloop team of Munich University of technology.

However, the immaturity of the 'super high speed rail' technology and the long waiting schedule have led to constant doubts about the project as a hoax. Richard Anderson, President of Amtrak