Science & Technology

Magnetic Train

The magnetic levitation train is a way of enhanced transportation which consists of two different magnetic systems, one for the levitation and the other for the movement. Bonsor wrote for How Stuff Works in 2011, “In Aichi, Japan, near Nagoya, a system built for the 2005 World’s fair is still in operation”. This feature makes the train easier to reach a higher speed because it does not have an opposing force usually known as friction acting on it. Firstly, a repelling force is produced by magnets when they are collocated in a specific direction making the train levitate, meaning magnetic trains will never be in contact with the rail way, even if the train is moving. Magnets are constructed by neodymium, iron boron, samarium, alnico and ceramic which naturally come from the Earth.

This system is more efficient for the reason that the friction forces do not act on the train and thus do not diminish its velocity, that is to say the forces exerted on the train will be the levitation and propulsion force that enhance the proficiency of the train’s movement.  Nevertheless, only special magnets called superconducting magnets are able to support such huge amounts of levitation force. These magnets have two poles, north and south, and if they are facing each other with the same pole, a repelling force will be created between them. It is important to consider that magnets under the influence of the repelling force tend to be in constant movement, making it difficult to have a fixed system as magnetic trains have. In addition, magnetic trains are powered by both electromagnets and electricity. The power system of magnetic trains consists of three important sources, the first one is a station that provides enough quantities of electric power, so that electromagnets can be able to create an electromagnetic field around the iron core. Hence, the train can have either electromagnetic suspension (EMS) or electrodynamic suspension (EDS).

EMS technology is based on the levitation principle in which magnets with identical poles repel and contrary poles attract each other. On the other hand, EDS principle consists of electromagnetic induction and it is focused on the speed that a magnetic train can support. According to McCurry’s article int he Guardian in 2015 ,“In April 2015, a manned superconducting Maglev train broke two previous land speed records for rail vehicles. The train was clocked at 603 kilometers per hour or 375 miles per hour.”

Electromagnets are a branch of magnets that are able to create a magnetic field when an electric current is passing through them. The propulsion system uses forces of attraction and repulsion so that the current produced on the coils can accelerate the train with the help of the superconducting magnets located in both the train and the railways. The propulsion coils mentioned before are also used for guiding the train with EDS principle, but the difference is that it depends on the train’s displacement. As a result, the force exerted on the train will be directly proportional to the distance. In conclusion, magnetic trains are a great engineering invention that improve the transportation system in a city by using an effective technique with magnets. Although the implementation costs are elevated, the investment is worthy and reliable for its durability, mechanical design, and efficiency.


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