Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Aerodynamic of shipping contatners on trains

  1. Aug 10, 2007 #1
    I am developing a new transportation system using Industrial Design methology and need to know aerodynamic smoth shipping contatners and capsules moving in ihe form of a train would be (as described in my blog). How does the number of units in the train effect its aerodynamics.http://www.transportation-system.blogspot.com/

    This is a not for profit project and open to anyone.

    Joe Maxwell
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2007 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF, Joe. Your blog does mention that you are an ID consultant, which borders a bit on advertising (which is not allowed per the PF Guidelines). But your project sounds interesting, so I'm not going to delete the link to your blog at this point.

    Also, it's hard to believe that this project is not for profit. Improving the efficiency of the transportation system is going to result in a lot of profit for somebody somewhere....
  4. Aug 10, 2007 #3
    I am retired and my blog is a labor of love. There are enough people in there trying but with our government and their attitude on transportation it will not be easy, too big and too Bureaucratic. There are billions that can be saved, but I have no idea who could put it together even though it could pay for itself while being built. There would also be a huge amount of resistance from all over. Progress is very costly for many people. Check some of the links on the blog to see what is happening.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2007
  5. Aug 10, 2007 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hi, Joe. I don't have time to read more than the 'Concept' section today, but I agree with Berkeman that it's very interesting.
    Forgive me if this is answered elsewhere in the document, but I have a quick question. How do you plan to levitate the platforms before you get up enough speed for your ram-air bearings to work? Are they just on wheels until then?
    Anyhow, I think that you'll end up having to do wind-tunnel testing to determine your aerodynamics. Computer modelling can get pretty close, but there seems to be something always popping up in real life that a programme doesn't foresee.
  6. Aug 10, 2007 #5
    That is covered. Each platform would have a battery run air turbine to keep it afloat. From what I understand it would only take around 8 lbs. per sq. in to hold a loaded shipping container up. It would be somewhat an air conveyer turned up side down.

    I don't need exact figures, only comparative ones. Some idea how much more efficient than individual cars.
  7. Aug 11, 2007 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    That would have to be a big battery, which would seem to defeat the purpose of floating the container.

    8 psi over the areas of large number of containers would seem to represent a lot of work, and one would seemingly need a generator with distribution system in order to provide sufficient power.

    Railroad trains with roller bearings are quite efficient. Rolling resistance and wind resistance (aerodynamics) have been studied extensively.
  8. Aug 11, 2007 #7
    The battery would only be used to get the platform up to speed on the entrance ramp, out the off ramp and encase of a total power failure. at speed air is rammed into the platform through adjustable scoops. Look at my thoughts on wheels in the problem section.

    I still would like to know aerodynamically efficient the capsules and containers would be in the form of a closely coupled train as described in the blog.

    Thanks for the comments,
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2007
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook