The Hyperloop has been in the news a lot over the past months, most of the stories being about the controversial Hyperloop One. Now we know that most news about hyperloop seems to always be either politics or just another competition between the companies who are all doing almost the same thing. But this is where Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is standing out. Amongst all the competition, they chose to pursue a different route: one that depends on vibranium.
Yes, that is what Captain America's shield is made from, though not actually. The material was developed in collaboration with C2i, a Slovakia-based company that manufactures carbon fiber for automobiles and aircraft. Vibranium is a material that is supposedly ten times stronger than steel and 5 times lighter than aluminum.
"Vibranium is a composite material that has some sensor technology as part of it," Dirk Ahlborn, founder and CEO of HTT, said. "Some news outlets think that sensors are just put in there, but in fact they're part of the composite. The material is actually smart; it can sense structure integrity, temperature, pressure, etc."
HTT is borrowing the name "vibranium", as it as an inspiration as a material used to protect. Though having not actually contacted the publishers at Marvel about it, the company has already submitted various trademark and patent applications.
Though HTT's vibranium won't be used to make any superhero shields, it will provide twice the protection for any passengers inside the pods, as a dual-layer coating should anything damage the exterior. Though there aren't many details, what we do know is that you would need to have physical contact with the material in order to obtain sensor readings.
"We can check the integrity of the whole capsule before it departs," Ahlborn added. "If anything happens during travel we can sense that, and there's still the inner capsule that protects you. So you have redundancy."
Unlike their biggest competitor, Hyperloop One, HTT does not raise money or try to secure external funding. HTT was launched by the JumpStartFund, the main idea of which is to let people from around the world work on projects for equity. Despite having many investors express their interest, HTT decided that money was not the concern. Companies that have partnered with HTT get a stock option in the startup proportionate to how much time their employees spend on the project; just like with individual participants and this works for them.