What is Levitation: Definition and 116 Discussions

Levitation (from Latin levitas "lightness") is the process by which an object is held aloft, without mechanical support, in a stable position.
Levitation is accomplished by providing an upward force that counteracts the pull of gravity (in relation to gravity on earth), plus a smaller stabilizing force that pushes the object toward a home position whenever it is a small distance away from that home position. The force can be a fundamental force such as magnetic or electrostatic, or it can be a reactive force such as optical, buoyant, aerodynamic, or hydrodynamic.
Levitation excludes floating at the surface of a liquid because the liquid provides direct mechanical support. Levitation excludes hovering flight by insects, hummingbirds, helicopters, rockets, and balloons because the object provides its own counter-gravity force.

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  1. tanmays1

    Does levitation distance increase as Fg increase???

    I'm trying to conduct an experiment where I calculate the magnetic field strength of a magnet, by comparing the levitation distances between two magnets. My experiment involves using different masses to anchor down magnetic repulsion between 2 magnets. Fg = Fm. The formula I am using for this...
  2. F

    B Acoustic levitation: high or low pressure?

    So the video I'm referring to is the second in this webpage. Around time stamp 3:55 mr Wolfgang, the demonstrator, says that the little balls settle down at the high-pressure areas, which are signaled by the bright bands in the Schlieren image. We understand this by noticing that the area near...
  3. sergiokapone

    I How does a rotating magnet create levitation?

    Is any physical explanation of this effect?
  4. Woomir

    I Why is my magnetic levitation experiment not working?

    [Mentor Note -- Two similar thread starts merged into one] Hey all, I have been working on this project for a while now, which features suspending an object midair through the use of magnetic levitation principles. Cool right? And so I have been researching and trying, even finding ground...
  5. S

    Magnetism / Electromagnet Levitation question

    I can make one magnet ‘leap’ up to another magnet and I can push one magnet away with another magnet but can’t figure out how to do both at the same time so the first magnet can essentially be suspended in mid air with the controlling magnet being above. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks
  6. jackiepollock

    B Problems regarding electrostatic forces in everyday levitation

    Hello! I'm reading this part of the A-level physics book and finding a few places that I couldn't wrap my head around. They are underlined. 1) When saying oxygen, is it saying that oxygen is the most abundant element in the shoe atoms? 2)I am not too sure why the force per atom is shared...
  7. H

    Magnetic levitation board not working

    Hi. I'm designing a magnetic levitation board based on schematics attached herewith. However it does not levitate the magnet. Plz note Q1 is P channel MOSFET. Also note that I used coil L1 as X1 & X2 and coil L2 as Y1 & Y2. Where Xs and Ys represents horizontal & vertical directions...
  8. jaumzaum

    Questions about magnetic levitation of a Thompson Ring

    The Thompson jumping ring experiment consists in an AC supply connected to a coil with a metal steel core inside. A metal ring is placed around the core. When the AC supply is turned on, the ring suddenly jumps and after a time it starts levitating in a fixed height. I'm a little confused about...
  9. DennisN

    Gadget: Levitating Earth (magnetic field)

    I bought a fun gadget from China. It's a model of Earth levitating in a magnetic field. I filmed it in operation to share with my friends, but I thought I would share it on PF too :smile:. I bought it online here. Film clip: I speak Swedish in the clip, and what I'm saying is this: "...
  10. A

    Magnetic levitation of a ball within a transparent tube

    Hi, after reading much interesting information on the subject I want to made a small project, the idea is to have a transparent plexiglass tube and a (diamagnetic?) material ball within the tube and to have permanent magnets outside the tube in such a way that I can suspend the ball so that it...
  11. K

    I Difference between electrodynamic suspension (EDS) & quantum levitation?

    What is the difference between electrodynamic suspension (EDS) in maglev trains and quantum levitation? I'm having trouble distinguishing the difference between both.
  12. K

    I Equation for levitation forces between the magnets and superconductor

    How can I measure the levitation forces between the magnets and a type-II superconductor (YBCO superconductor)?
  13. K

    B IB Physics Extended Essay - Quantum Levitation

    I've decided to focus my essay on quantum locking: including superconductors (YBCO), the Meissner Effect. I have access to the materials needed to experiment with this topic (materials from quantumlevitation.com). Could anyone help me formulate an appropriate research question for my Extended...
  14. spareine

    Electrostatic levitation of hair

    If a person with long thin hair touches a Van de Graaff generator, his hair will begin to levitate by electrostatic repulsion. The body is a conductor. Hair is an isolator, so the charge cannot flow through the shaft from root to end. To me it is unclear whether the hair is charged...
  15. R

    Is a diamagnetic levitation engine possible?

    I recently saw the video of the frog being levitated with a big magnet. Would it be possible to flip the magnet over and use it to levitate a vehicle? How much energy would it take to levitate, say, a 1000kg vehicle above a dry lakebed?
  16. J

    Magnetic Levitation (electromagnets?) for an 11th grader

    I don't know if this is the right place to put this, but I am very lost as of right now. I am doing my 11th grade physics project on magnetic levitation. From what I can understand, there are 2 "main" types of magnetic levitation, them being with superconductors and with electromagnets. For the...
  17. M

    Diamagnetism & levitation of pyrolytic graphite explanation

    Hi, This YouTube video shows various shapes of pyrolytic graphite suspended on an alternating polarity matrix of square neodymium magnets. As I understand the principle of diamagnetic anisotropy, the stronger the external magnetic force, the stronger the induced repulsive force in the...
  18. M

    Magnetic levitation with permanent magnets

    so i am literally one step away from producing a floating skateboard powered by permanent magnets, so here's what i wanted to check, to make sure I haven't missed anything obvious vertical lift achieved by using vertical repelling fields rotational motion is controlled by counterbalancing the...
  19. N

    Can a Metal Ball Levitate Using an Electromagnet?

    Hi guys, I am trying to produce a desktop feature for a client which consists of a 3d printed cube with a metal ball at its center. I can suspend the ball in the center of the cube using a support or piece of rod, but I would really like to try and make it levitate using an electromagnet. I...
  20. A.T.

    Experience Hydrodynamic Levitation: A Simple yet Mesmerizing Effect

    Here is a fun effect. I wonder if it has been described previously, given how simple it is to reproduce. I remember seeing similar effects with an empty plastic bag, spinning midair on the side of an air updraft.
  21. jedishrfu

    B How does acoustic levitation use sound waves to make objects float?

    https://curiosity.com/topics/acoustic-levitation-makes-objects-float-with-sound-waves-curiosity/ There's a YouTube video that's shows the effect:
  22. B

    B What does the levitating frog feel?

    If you were suspended inside and iron armor between an electromagnet and the ground it is obvious that you would feel your weight against that armor, but when a frog is suspended by diamagnetic levitation I understand that it feels weightlessness. If this is correct, that means that if it were...
  23. U

    Air Levitation Skis Research: Stability, Optimal Air Funneling

    Are there any good research papers or established theories on using skis with either porous air bearings or an air skirt with holes to send pressurized air out? One of my concerns right now is the stability of a ski (ie any particular shape each ski/section should be and whether we should divide...
  24. Qwerty42

    I Forces applied to a leaning levitating bicycle

    Hi! So I'm building an electromagnetic bicycle where the frame is levitating over the wheels, thus reducing the rolling friction to almost zero by removing the bearings. Magnets have also been placed alongside the wheels to provide side to side stability. Black is the frame, red are the magnets...
  25. KC Kian Chong

    Magnetic Levitation for Fragrance Dispenser | Product Design

    Hi everyone, I'm a student who is currently majoring in product design. Therefore, pardon me for not having any physics knowledge but I'm really appreciate for your help ! I wanted to come out with a fragrance dispenser by using magnetic levitation. I've watched a lots of videos but I don't...
  26. B

    Electromagnetic Levitation for a stationary hoverboard - How can I do it?

    I am University Student currently working on a project to make a stationary hover board. This is just a prototype and does not need to support a human and only needs to support about 1kg but with as much "lift" or distance between the magnets as possible - (100mm?) Ideally we want to be able to...
  27. K

    Could Electromagnetic Levitation Create a Feasible Hoverboard Solution?

    Hi, My name is Kendall. After seeing the Back to the Future again, I have been once again fascinated by the hoverboards, as I'm sure many others are also guilty of. A couple hours of research into magnetism later, and I'm still stuck. I have little to no experience with magnetism, but I figure...
  28. D

    Help artist with magnetic levitation

    Hello all! Im a young sculptor from croatia on my last year of sculpting... I am planning in making this element that will levitate and have a rough blueprint for you to tell me would it roughly work... the setup is ready for experimenting but the basic physics arent clear to me... did i...
  29. Brendan Staley

    Creating an electromagnetic board for levitation

    I am wondering if it is at all possible to create a magnetic board which is capable of repelling magnets. I am looking up magnetic levitation and would like to make a DIY version at home. Any tips/tricks to make this. Thanks in advance!
  30. E

    Ready to try acoustic levitation at home? What equipment do I need?

    Hello everyone, I would like to start playing around with acoustic levitation. Apologies if this is the wrong sub-forum... I psoted in General, as I am not sure where the best place would be for this. My question: What equipment would be needed to start a simple acoustic levitation? I have no...
  31. P

    High electric field / droplet levitation

    Dear All, I know this may sound a bit of a broad approach for a question but I would like to know what equipment I would need to create a very high electric field in order to levitate a non-highly conductive droplet (from water to water + salts but not metallic, in the milli-microscale). I will...
  32. J

    Energy expended during magnetic levitation?

    Two magnets, like poles facing, will "levitate". And they seem happy to do that forever. In common experience, it takes energy to jump, an airplane to generate thrust to convert to lift, or a helicopter to hover. "Hovering" for the local TV newscopter, or a SpaceX rocket is an energy...
  33. ardakaraca

    How does a square shaped magnet act like a ring magnet?

    Hi, I'm working with a magnetic levitron project and I've borrowed a professional levitron to see how it works. When I remove the back cap, unexpectedly I saw a square shaped magnet instead of ring magnet. But it acts like almost a ring magnet. I'll explain the difference with images below. At...
  34. V

    Magnet moving over surface creating levitation

    Hi, I've been doing reading on Halbach Arrays moving over surfaces and generating repulsive forces. From my understanding, the moving magnet induces a circular electric current in the metal track, which gives rise to a magnetic field. However, I'm having trouble understanding why this field...
  35. SteveManPhy076

    Could floating cities become a reality using rocket boosters?

    Could there perhaps ever be floating cities? If we could get the type of technology that sends rockets into space, and have the boosters running at a constant and equal velocity inversely, could this cause anything to levitate? If so, would this even be habitable? Considering that the fumes...
  36. S

    Magnetic levitation - superconductors

    The question I have is rather simple and straightforward so here it is: How much weight can a magnet support and still levitate above a superconductor? We all know about super fast levitating trains and I want to use the same idea for something else. However before looking deeper into magnetic...
  37. pioneerboy

    Designing an Electromagnetic Levitation System: Challenges and Considerations

    Hi there, I am thinking about an electromagnetic levitation project. Imagine a tube of about 13cm diameter with a flat rotation-symmetrical object of maybe 4cm diameter at one of its ends. The object should be oriented always perpendicular to the vertical tube...difficult to explain as I don't...
  38. N

    Calculating Magnetic Levitation Strength for a 1kg Object

    Hi all, Newbie here.. I am interested in making a magnetic leviation display like in this video: My question is what are the necessary setups? I know that I would need a strong magnet like neodymium magnet. But, i have no idea about the formula. Let's say i want to levitate a 1kg object, how...
  39. S

    Magnetic levitation using eddy current

    Hi, I am working on an experiment to investigate the effect of electrical conductivity of the metals on the levitating force produced. Basically the concept is this: when a metal plate is placed on top of a solenoid (but not touching), as the a.c. flows in the solenoid the change in magnetic...
  40. GoldWing

    Magnetic Levitation magnitude of current

    Homework Statement Three long parallel wires are a distance L = 5.71 cm from one another. (Looking at them, they are at three corners of an equilateral triangle.) The top wire has a diameter of 1.8 mm and is made of copper; it is suspended in air due to the magnetic forces from the bottom two...
  41. M

    Magnetic Levitation : Confusion with Lenz's Law

    Considering the above diagram, I am failing to see why the aluminium ring floats upwards rather than oscillates. I understand Faraday's law, but I am struggling with Lenz's law - as there is an alternating current, an alternating magnetic field is produced, similar to a sine wave. Therefore, I...
  42. A

    Magnetic Levitation: Solving for Current I

    Homework Statement A straight 2.34-mm-diameter copper wire can just 'float' horizontally in air because of the force of the Earth's magnetic field B, which is horizontal, perpendicular to the wire, and of magnitude 5 × 10-5 T. What current I does the wire carry? (The density of copper is 8.96...
  43. kelvin490

    Meissner effect and levitation

    In a field less than critical field, decreasing the temperature below the critical temperature will eliminate the magnetic field inside a superconductor and increase the magnetic field around it. (Meissner effect). But does it related to levitation effect of magnet on a superconductor? What...
  44. Spock

    Can centripetal/centrifugal force raise itself

    So my question is, if a laithwaite engine (my attached photo) spins fast enough, will it be able to lift off the ground? And if yes, what's the maths to calculate the speed needed to make it lift?
  45. Troy Barnes

    Why can't we make a space elevator using Quantum Levitation?

    Why can't we make a space elevator out of separate rings that are stacked over each other through Quantum Levitation? You know, have hollow rings that are quantum locked over each other, like in this video That way, the ladder freely moves around and changes shape, but would still be "intact"...
  46. S

    Magnetic levitation using alternating current

    Hi, I have a few questions regarding magnetic levitation achieved by using alternating current to induce eddy current on a non-ferromagnetic conductor plate to provide the levitation force. 1. Can it be stabilized? If yes, in what ways? 2. Are there any equations/formulae or ways to calculate...
  47. Arjang Sh

    Can I Control Electrostatic Levitation with a Power Supply?

    Hello I need some advice about electrostatic levitation concept and am trying to make an experimental setup for that. Consider two parallel plates with the same sign charge and the bottom plate is fixed in place. Therefore there will be a repulsive force which pushes the upper plate...
  48. J

    AC Coil Levitation - Get Expert Help for Science Fair Project

    Hi pf, I am trying to get a fun experiment for a science fair at school and would greatly appreciate some help. I have found the experiment I want to do in the video below (43mins 50seconds in). The school has a large aluminium plate so that is sorted. What I am having difficulty with is...
  49. F

    “Why does gyroscope levitate?” stumps 3 physics profs

    More specifically... question stumps 3 physics profs, PF, textbooks, and entire Internet. It’s easy to find explanations of why a gyroscope precesses. What’s not so easy to find – even after spending, literally, hours thinking about it, surfing the web (including PhysicsForums), reading...
  50. E

    AC electromagnet and aluminium levitation

    Hi all, I'm new to this forum as a member, but have come across some of the topics here via google in the past. I'm trying to build an AC electromagnet levitation device, to levitate a small piece of aluminium. My knowledge in physics is limited to popular science and interest, but I am pretty...