Valencia, 28th May 2021.
Zeleros and the Polytechnical University of Valencia (UPV) have presented the “Tubeloop”, a novel tube manufacturing and assembly method, that will boost hyperloop infrastructure scalability, accelerating route deployment processes while reducing construction costs.
As explained by José Ramón Albiol, professor at the Higher Technical Building Engineering School (ETSIE), at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the tubes are made of a composite material that consists of three layers. The inner and outer layers are made of a material such as fiber reinforced plastic or a fiber metal laminate, giving the tube the structural resistance. The core layer in between is made of a polymeric or a cement-based foam that provides thermal and acoustic isolation properties to the tube.
The manufacturing of the tubes is simple and fully automatic. At the factory, the inner and outer layers are created by getting two flat skins. Then, a chemical reaction binds these skins together with the inner core, obtaining a rigid structure that can be folded. Finally, the valves, the globes and the partially sealed vacuum bags are introduced and the tube is wrapped so it is ready for transportation. “As the tubes are wrapped, one truck can transport dozens of tubes altogether, minimizing transportation costs and carbon footprint radically” highlights Juan Vicén, Zeleros’ CMO & Co-Founder.
Once the trucks reach the construction site, the prefabricated composite material is unloaded and unwrapped. Then, the different globes can be inflated until they reach the desired size. The foam core is injected in between the fiber skins and starts curing. After that, the globe is removed and starts the infusion phase, where the epoxy resin is injected with the vacuum bag. and finally, the coatings are applied to give it the desired finish.
The track mounting phase is simple thanks to the Tubeloop technology, as the tubes are lightweight and can be installed in parallel, accelerating the construction process while minimizing transportation costs Also, joints are simplified as the thermal expansion is minimized.
The main benefits of the Tubeloop technology are: resistance to corrosion, weight reduction, radically lower thermal expansion, dimensional stability, reduction of the carbon footprint of the transportation of tubes, lower risks due to lower tube weights and good thermal and acoustic isolation.
“Tubeloop, manufactured in Valencia by the UPV and Zeleros, will accelerate the development of hyperloop and the deployment of routes worldwide“, conclude Juan Vicén and José Ramón Albiol.
The team that has developed this technology is completed by UPV professors; José Luis Bonet, director of the Construction Engineering and Civil Engineering Projects Department; professors and researchers of UPV’s Concrete Science and Technology Institute (ICITECH) Miguel Ángel Fernández Prada and Pedro Miguel Sosa; Higher Technical Building Engineering School director Fernando José Cos-Gayón; two ZELEROS co-founders, Daniel Orient and David Pistoni; and Jaime Lozano, former student of ETSIE Polytechnic University of Valencia.