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Magnetic Levitation is a technology in which an object as a whole is lifted up from the ground by inducing some magnetic force which counteracts the gravitational force or any kind of acceleration. It can also be termed as Maglev or even magnetic suspension. In this magnetic levitation technology, the body remains stable after elevating from the ground and do not slip or slide back on the parent platform. The technology involves two primary techniques.

maglev technology maglev technology

  1. Magnetic Suspension or lifting technology applied on the object.
  2. Stability in suspension which allows the object to stay in air without slipping down.

Theory behind Magnetic Levitation technology:

When we confront with such a technology, we are always keen to learn the mechanism which persists behind this Magnetic Levitation advancement. While discussing about the technology involving this mechanism we need to have a wide understanding of the techniques involved in both lifting as well as maintaining stability.

1. Magnetic rise:

   We know that magnetic materials attract or repel each other depending on the amount of magnetic field created around them and the area of the materials. If two dipole magnets are placed facing their like poles, then a repelling force will act between them. This dipole magnet technology is used to move lifts. For magnetic levitation various kind of magnets are used which comprises of

  • Electromagnetism
  • Permanent magnets
  • Diamagnetism
  • Ferromagnetism
  • High conducting magnets
  • Magnets with induced current in conductors

Whichever magnetic technology is used for the purpose of suspension, before     conducting the experiment, developers firstly calculate the magnetic pressure required for lifting the object.

For calculating the magnetic pressure of a highly conducting magnet, following representation is considered

    Pmag = B/ 2 µ0

In the above formula Pmag represents the magnetic pressure in Pascals, B is the magnetic field in Teslas and  µ= 4π×10−7 N·A−2 which is the premeability of vacuum.

2. Stability:

Suspension of the object is controlled by various magnetic fields, but the stability after suspension of the object in air cannot be eventually controlled by using any kind of magnetism. Only servomechanism technique can result to a positive result. This technology is initiated by conducting Eddy Currents through any kind of magnetic material. Sometimes load is used for stable suspension of the object. This technology is called pseudo-levitation. Stability acquired after rising from the ground level consists of two categories.

  • Static Stability where any kind of slight displacement on the suspended object will create a repulsive force which will bring it back to its equilibrium position.
  • Dynamic stability is the condition derived by a levitated object when it can easily face the vibrations or movements of the body by using damping technology. This helps the body to keep-up its motion and allow it to leave its position of equilibrium even in the mode of suspension.

Magnetic Levitation-Future application levels:

Floating Cities: The Magnetic Levitation Technology has been taken to consideration in order to create cities at a level far above the earth. This thinking has been initiated due to decreasing availability of ground on earth. Also, Magnetic Levitation technology can allow us to stay in an island floating on atmosphere quite far above the ground where the air is free from any kind of pollution or impurity. This architecture incorporated with Maglev technology or Magnetic Levitation Technology has been proposed by a Chinese architect named Wei Zhao who was an honorable winner in Skyscraper Competition in eVolo’s 2012. This concept was named as Heaven and Earth. Magnetic field generated, repels the gravitational force created by earth and allows the floating island to remain suspended in air. The island will keep rotating or spinning its platform which in turn will be responsible to generate energy required to maintain stability while on suspension. The entire concept is based on theoretical assumption. Practical application has not been initiated till date. But with the pace at which technology is advancing we will surely find a floating city on earth in near future. Experiments are conducted on atmospheric conditions of other planets to initiate building suspended islands. The ground atmosphere of these planets may not be suitable for life to persist. But the atmosphere above the ground may have enough potential for life to survive.

maglev floating city

Personal Rapid Transit: This is an idea which is being derived form old era where they wanted transportation system within small circle at a considerable speed. To serve the purpose, a linear motor was designed which used to move without creating any contact with the track. It used a single motor which lifted it above the ground and forced for forward movement. The first linear motor was designed as a single coop shuttle which ran from Birmingham airport to Birmingham Railway station at a very low speed of 26 mph. It was later closed because it had some reliability issues. Later with further researches and technological enlightenment, the Magnetic Levitation Technology was improvised to create long trains and moving vehicles within cities which accommodated huge numbers of passengers. These high speed automated Magnetic Levitation Technology vehicles / Maglev Trains were frictionless, free from any bump or vibration and even noiseless.

maglev train

Future Application: 

Thinking about the future and collaborating with the Maglev technology, researchers will enforce new ideas in the field of transportation. Automated moving vehicles can be constructed with advanced technology and varied possible way so that it can carry huge number of passengers at a speed higher than 360 km/h. So high speed-efficient transportation facility provided in the future is one of the primary aim of the Maglev technology.

maglev cars

Review - Advantages and disadvantages of Magnetic Levitation Technology / Maglev Technology:

Technological developments have both advantages as well as disadvantages.

Advantages of Magnetic Levitation / Maglev Technology:

  • Maglev transportation with high speed technology is used in the automated magnetic levitated vehicles for efficiency.
  • Magnetic Levitation Technology will provide noise free environment.
  • All the systems of these Maglev automated machines do not require any control station because they are controlled with the help of computers.
  • Maglev vehicles are mainly light weight machines with its weight evenly distributed throughout the vehicle creating an easier mechanism.
  • Maglev vehicles have very low maintenance cost.

Disadvantages of Magnetic Levitation Technology / Maglev Technology:

  • The speed of a Maglev vehicle or train cannot be related to the speed of an aircraft. Though the maximum speed level has reached to 360 km/h which is far more than the traditional trains with tracks, yet the speed does not exceed the speed of an aeroplane.
  • Maglev vehicles have low level gradient and they are suitable for direct routing.
  • Unlike traditional trains, Maglev trains are not adjustable to any weather condition like snow or rain because of its no-contact mechanism.
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