Engineer English Case

In: English and Literature

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Professional English


Cambridge English for



Capsule pipelines

Capsule Pipelines – Essential Facts
Capsule pipelines are underground pipes designed to transport hollow cylindrical containers (capsules). The function of the capsules is to transport things from A to B. Potential applications include carrying items such as mail (letters and parcels), minerals, for example coal, agricultural products, for example wheat, packaged products (in boxes or bags), and waste (household garbage or industrial waste). There are two main types of system: pneumatic capsule pipelines (PCPs) and hydraulic capsule pipelines (HCPs). In PCPs, the capsules are propelled by air, which is blown into the pipeline at one end and flows along it, driving the capsule forward. In order to limit friction between the outside of the capsule and the inside of the pipeline, capsules can be fitted with wheels (see the picture). In HCPs the pipeline is filled with water which is pumped along the pipeline. The capsules are watertight and are immersed in the water. They are driven along the pipeline by the flow of water.

Small-diameter PCPs were popular in the second half of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century, for carrying documents – used mainly by government departments and postal authorities in large cities. Such systems were used in Berlin, Hamburg, London and Paris. A network in Prague is still in use today. A largediameter PCP was built in Russia, for carrying minerals. More recently, PCPs have been used on a smaller scale to carry cash inside banks and large stores. Recent feasibility studies have been carried out into the possibility of using capsule pipelines for transporting waste out of New York City, and also for carrying mail between New York and Washington DC. According to Freight Pipeline Company, an American R&D…...

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