MISSION


Supersonic Institute is a nonprofit R&D organization (since 2010) that is developing supersonic tunneling as the basis of quiet, efficient, supersonic transport. The Institute’s core activities are concept development, scientific investigation, and engineering design.

SUPERSONIC TUNNELING


A new concept in supersonic transport -- supersonic tunneling -- is to operate a vehicle in a closed, ambient-pressure tube containing an atmosphere more aerodynamically favorable than air (e.g., hydrogen, helium, or methane). If the gas’s sonic speed is higher than air’s, the vehicle can be supersonic with respect to air outside the tube while subsonic inside. Moreover, drag can be reduced at any speed by employing a gas with lower density or viscosity. Theoretical analysis suggests that supersonic tunneling can increase speed up to Mach 3 and reduce power at a given speed up to a factor of 15. Supersonic tunneling and quantum tunneling are analogous in the sense that each creates a lower-energy pathway for a process to occur.

PROSPECTIVE BENEFITS


Supersonic transport can substantially reduce travel time and could produce a new level of interconnectivity to the world. It is widely held that the Internet has revolutionized business and social interactions, but high-speed transportation could be even better: Physical transport would allow people to actually meet in-person and for real objects to be conveyed. Howerver, supersonic transport will be practical only if energy consumption is reasonably low, and this is a challenge for airplanes due to shock waves. The supersonic Concorde, at Mach 2, was not commercially successful because it burned a tonne of kerosene per passenger to cross the Atlantic. While a vehicle underging supersonic tunneling is supersonic in air, the vehicle will not create shock waves.

CURRENT PROJECT


Supersonic Institute is executing the engineeering design of a scientific apparatus that will measure the drag of a small experimental vehicle undergoing supersonic tunneling. The experiments will measure drag in various gases relative to air. Energy and power are calcutated from measured drag.

BIBLIOGRAPHY


A. R. Miller, Hydrogen tube vehicle for supersonic transport: Analysis of the concept. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 33 (2008) 1995-2006.

A. R. Miller, Hydrogen tube vehicle for supersonic transport: 2. Speed and energy. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 35 (2010) 5745-5753.

A. R. Miller, Hydrogen tube vehicle for supersonic transport: 3. Atmospheric Merit. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 37 (2012) 14598-14602.

A. R. Miller, Hydrogen tube vehicle for supersonic transport: 4. Hydrogen propeller. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 37 (2012) 14603-14611.

A. R. Miller, Hydrogen tube vehicle for supersonic transport: 5. Aerodynamic tunneling. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 39 (2014) 12120–12127.

A. R. Miller, Hydrogen tube vehicle for supersonic transport: 6. Density stages. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 39 (2014) 12128–12137.

A. R. Miller and D. A. Lassiter, Hydrogen tube vehicle for supersonic transport: 7. Experimental vehicle. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 40 (2015) 4269-4279.

A. R. Miller (Sept 2013): Supersonic Hydrogen Tube Vehicle. U.S. Patent No. 8,534,197 B2. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

A. R. Miller (pending), “Transportation system and vehicle for supersonic transport.” Patent application, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Filing date: May 26, 2016

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR


Arnold R. Miller PhD commenced his career as an academic researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by University of Illinois-Urbana, University of Denver, and Colorado School of Mines. From 1994 to 1998, Prof. Miller was founding Director of the Joint Center for Fuel-Cell Vehicles at Colorado School of Mines. In 1998, he founded Vehicle Projects Inc. He has published numerous papers in research journals such as the Journal of the American Chemical Society and International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. Dr. Miller was the lead inventor on six US patents on hydrogen-hybrid fuelcell locomotives and was awarded his first patent on the new concept supersonic tunneling in 2013. Dr. Miller holds a PhD degree in chemistry and MS degree in applied mathematics, both from the University of Illinois-Urbana.

CONTACT


Arnold R. Miller, Supersonic Institute, arnold.miller@supersonicinstitute.org, Tel +1-303-484-9522