Dynamic analysis and stability study of the electromagnetic suspension levitation system of the hyperloop

Hyperloop case

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The Hyperloop is a high-speed means of transport, consisting of a bullet-shape vehicle travelling in a quasi-vacuum tube, electrically powered and moving through an electromagnetic levitating system. This allows the reduction of air resistance and wheel-rail contact friction, which translates in higher speeds for smaller power inputs. In the Netherlands, the Dutch company Hardt Hyperloop, has developed a new design concept of such technology, by means of electromagnetic suspension systems, unlike the most commonly applied levitating techniques.

The main aim of this project is to investigate the stability of the electromagnetic suspension levitation system, study the effect that the implementation of an error-based closed-loop control system has on the system dynamics and investigate the vehicle-structure interaction once a control system has been applied to the system.

Along these lines, the overall infrastructure-vehicle system is modelled through an equivalent two degrees of freedom system. In this manner, the inherent instability of the electromagnetic system is confirmed and the initial vehicle dynamics are highlighted. Afterwards, an error-based closed-loop PD-control system that applies to the system definition and reacts on the uncontrolled system dynamics is implemented and the effect of the control parameters on the dynamics and the stability of the system is studied. A certain stability region in the parametric space is derived, which ensures the stability of the system for significant perturbations of the vehicle from its equilibrium point. Besides, the existence of a subcritical bifurcation with respect to the parameter combination is demonstrated. The safety margin in the time delay of the controller response is studied, so as to define a slack time that accounts for not only processing and sampling delays, but also unforeseen events. Finally, the vehicle-infrastructure interaction is studied and its stability is ensured, by means of the previously defined control scheme.