What is Maglev: Definition and 49 Discussions

Maglev (from magnetic levitation) is a system of train transportation that uses two sets of magnets: one set to repel and push the train up off the track, and another set to move the elevated train ahead, taking advantage of the lack of friction. Along certain "medium-range" routes (usually 320 to 640 km [200 to 400 mi]), maglev can compete favourably with high-speed rail and airplanes.
With maglev technology, the train travels along a guideway of magnets which control the train's stability and speed. While the propulsion and levitation require no moving parts, the bogies can move in relation to the main body of the vehicle and some technologies require support by retractable wheels at speeds under 150 kph. This compares with electric multiple units that may have several dozen parts per bogie. Maglev trains can therefore in some cases be quieter and smoother than conventional trains and have the potential for much higher speeds.Maglev vehicles have set several speed records, and maglev trains can accelerate and decelerate much faster than conventional trains; the only practical limitation is the safety and comfort of the passengers, although wind resistance at very high speeds can cause running costs that are four to five times that of conventional high-speed rail (such as the Tokaido Shinkansen). The power needed for levitation is typically not a large percentage of the overall energy consumption of a high-speed maglev system. Overcoming drag, which makes all land transport more energy intensive at higher speeds, takes the most energy. Vactrain technology has been proposed as a means to overcome this limitation. Maglev systems have been much more expensive to construct than conventional train systems, although the simpler construction of maglev vehicles makes them cheaper to manufacture and maintain.The Shanghai maglev train, also known as the Shanghai Transrapid, has a top speed of 430 km/h (270 mph). The line is the fastest operational high-speed maglev train, designed to connect Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the outskirts of central Pudong, Shanghai. It covers a distance of 30.5 km (19 mi) in just over 8 minutes. For the first time, the launch generated wide public interest and media attention, propelling the popularity of the mode of transportation. Despite over a century of research and development, maglev transport systems are now operational in just three countries (Japan, South Korea and China). The incremental benefits of maglev technology have often been considered hard to justify against cost and risk, especially where there is an existing or proposed conventional high-speed train line with spare passenger carrying capacity, as in high-speed rail in Europe, the High Speed 2 in the UK and Shinkansen in Japan.

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  1. jaketodd

    B Any limit on how fast a Maglev can go?

    When using magnetism to accelerate the Maglev, and neglecting the usual frictions, and also relativistic effects, is there any limit how fast it can accelerate to? Or is there any sort of increasing "drag" of any sort native to magnetism, which would get in the way of acceleration, as it goes...
  2. D

    I Lunar Slingshot Maglev: NASA's Energy Savings for Mars & Beyond

    Has NASA considered building a maglev on the moon so we can use the lunar mass and momentum to gain higher energy savings for missions to Mars and beyond? A spacecraft can be catapulted toward the destination with its rocket engines off and only turn them back on to course correct or slow down...
  3. P

    Can Maglev Trains Be Used for Exercise?

    Hi everyone, I'm an Italian High Schooler and I need a problem about maglev trains for the final exam. I apologize in advance if my english is bad or if I didn't follow some rules. I'm not native and new to this forum.
  4. B

    Simulating a MAGLEV train with COMSOL

    So I am currently trying to model a MAGLEV train using COMSOL (high school research project). My project uses AC and DC motors as alternatives to the current maglev infrastructure and transportation. I first created a prototype through CAD Onshape, then created it in real life and applied my DC...
  5. R

    Why does the Japanese Maglev train use superconducting magnets

    My little home made air-core solenoid makes 1.5T, why is it that superconducting electromagnets often aren't stronger than one would expect. Take the japanese maglev train for example: http://www.supraconductivite.fr/en/index.php?p=applications-trains-maglev-more According to this article the...
  6. P

    Why do maglev trains use attraction vs repulsion

    I'm trying to find out why EMS maglev trains use magnetic attraction instead of repulsion. Given that the attractive force diminishes with distance it seems the forces would have to match exactly or else one of the two forces would win out and the train would come to a grinding halt. But with...
  7. DreadyCrocker

    I Maglev experiments and questions that could be answered

    Hey all, I have a group project for a Physics II course and the group I ended up with is wanting to do maglev as the focus of our project. I thought the girl that decided to do the maglev project had an idea of what questions she wanted to answer and experiments to perform based on her time in...
  8. D

    Maglev Train and Earth's Rotation

    Homework Statement Will a maglev train beginning at rest slowly drift or accelerate due to the rotation of the earth? Homework EquationsThe Attempt at a Solution The Earth is a rotating reference frame, with points on the equator moving at approximately 1000 miles per hour. If the maglev is...
  9. Rebekah Barker

    What speeds could a maglev train reach in a vaccum?

    What would happen?
  10. totomyl

    Equations used in Maglev technology

    I need to find an equation that i can make a word problem out of. This has to be able to be used at the grade 11 level and it is for my Stse project. I tried looking in my textbook for problems to calculate something that has to do with magnetic levitation or electromagnetic but i have had no...
  11. Hanarchist

    Creating a Maglev Track using Electromagnets?

    Hi All, I was wondering how I would go about creating a circular maglev track using electromagnets? The idea is to have more control over it and to eventually write a piece of code that would allow changes in the strength of the magnetic field potentially? I was just wondering how it would work...
  12. H

    Mechanical Engineering Personal Statement

    hi, I am applying for mechanical engineering course. The research part of my PS is about Maglev train. I choose it because i like the it works. So, i wrote about how the gap is maintained, how superconducting magnets are used and how researchers tried halbach array. know Mechanical engineering...
  13. U

    Ib extended essay about magnetic repulsion (maglev trains)

    I have been trying to come up with a good question for my Ib extended essay which is a 4000 words essay about any physics topic of my choice. However, with this topic I need to come up with an experiment to further investigate this topic and write up an analysis and conclusion. I am really...
  14. W

    How big does a magnet need to be to move X amount of KGs

    Hello all, I'm working on a little side project to build something close to a Mag-lev system. I've researched loads around the magnets and have the info' on what conditions I need, current, Field strength, etc. But I'm having issues in finding how that relates to the movement of an external...
  15. D

    Why isn't there any friction in magnet trains?

    Hi there, first poster here. Something has been boggling me and I cannot seem to find the answer anywhere. I really hope that you will help me =) A magnet train in vacuum has no friction whatsoever, right? Then what about electron interactions between the 'rail' and the train itself due to...
  16. P

    Buoyancy of a vacuum-filled "space tower"?

    Hello everyone, I am thinking of a thought experiment about a so-called "space tower" but don't have enough information to estimate the numbers. I understand the material strength needed for such high structures is huge, because of the weight of the structure. But what if the "tower" would be...
  17. R

    What is the detailed physics of the EMS maglev levitation system

    Homework Statement I have to complete a detailed essay on the physics of an electromagnetic suspension (EMS) Maglev train. Using physics concepts and showing equations i must explain how a) the train levitates, and b) how it is propelled along the guide way. Homework Equations...
  18. V

    How bright is the future of Maglev Cars?

    Hey guys, I made a topic similar to this earlier, but after I was informed that my ideas has several flaws that would prevent it from working, I revised it and researched more about my topic. This is my original idea with several concepts that has changed. I am planning on making a mini-model...
  19. D

    How powerful can a compact maglev system be with neodymium magnets?

    How small can a maglev propulsion system be? What's the relationship between the size/strength of the magnets and the load capacity of a maglev vehicle?
  20. L

    Maglev Conveyor Help: Need Assistance With Labview Simulation

    Hi all, I am doing a maglev conveyor for my final year project. I need to run a simulation program to do some analysis. The program I chose to do this simulation is Labview. however I am having problems with the mathematical formulation on how to control the airgap and linear motion. I would...
  21. L

    Maglev Conveyor Help - Control Airgap and Linear Motion

    Hi all, I am doing a maglev conveyor for my final year project. I need to run a simulation program to do some analysis. The program I chose to do this simulation is Labview. however I am having problems with the mathematical formulation on how to control the airgap and linear motion. I would...
  22. Z

    MagLev train energy requirements

    In class I've built a Maglev train. In the report we should also cover the theory behind the Maglev train though. I came across the Transrapid train in Germany. I have a question concerning a formula we used in the report. Homework Statement We used the following formula: P =...
  23. H

    Building a Maglev Train Prototype

    1. Hi, I am currently doing a project which the main objective is to build an miniature Maglev Train Prototype and compare its performance with a Conventional Train. 2. I am having a big problem in the propulsion system of the Meglev Train which is the long stator linear synchronous...
  24. R

    How can I improve the stability of my DIY maglev train model?

    Good night, I'm trying to do a model of the maglev at small scale, but I'm having a lot of problems to levitate and have stability. I have already read Earnshaw theory, but in youtube i see many models working, but when i try do replicate doesn't work. Now i have a rail way with...
  25. N

    Youtube maglev toy train demonstration

    Interesting four minute video with a magnetic levitation superconductor train http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5el1A5B-h3Q&feature=player_embedded Perhaps a good demonstration for teachers
  26. B

    Building a Maglev Model: Step-by-Step Guide

    Homework Statement To design a working maglev model... in steps and phases. I m working on creating a working maglev model for college electrical engineering project. I am building this from scratch and I am currently working on a 4-5 section of track to start with levitation. Homework...
  27. W

    Can someone explain the physics behind maglev trains?

    I've done some research on maglev trains, but the equations are too complex for me to solve, etc. I haven't taken calculus nor studied magnetism yet, can anybody explain just the basics of physics concepts used in a maglev train? thank you!
  28. J

    Maglev Proto Model: How to Get Started

    i wanted to do maglev proto model, can u pls suggest me how to do it...
  29. C

    Model Maglev Train starting motor help

    OKay i am a high school student making a model maglev train like the Inductrack design. I haven't started building yet but i know how I am going to make it and since i am using permanent magnets, the cart will not levitate right away. It will have wheels on the sides of the cart on rails to...
  30. C

    Explaining Eddy Currents in Maglev & Levitation Expts

    Can someone explain the role of eddy currents that produce levitation such as in the floating tube expt or the jumping ring? How is the jumping ring altered to achieve stability? i.e raising the ring a fixed distance above the coil? Like in maglev transportation...or is it just dependant on the...
  31. M

    Alternative Propulsion Methods for Maglev Models Using DC Motors

    Hey there! I need to build a working model of a maglev-train, which will hover over permanent magnets on a track, and which will have to have a propulsion system. My question is whether there is a way of getting an accelration not using a propellar? As part of the project, I've been given...
  32. K

    A National Maglev Infrastructure?

    A particular pet idea of mine is that of implementing a nationwide Maglev intercity transportation system. Essentially what I would like to see is a brand-new infrastructure program - - - not totally unlike the interstate highway program of the 1950s. In fact, the maglev guideways would not be...
  33. V

    Propelling a model maglev train

    Hey, I have managed to make model maglev train that uses permanent magnets and metals for levitation. It levitates all right but i need ideas to propel it forward. I have attached a picture showing how the model works. Please reply if you have any ideas. Thanks.
  34. N

    Electric Motors and/or Maglev Texts

    I'm trying to learn about electric motors, and I would eventually like to learn about how the maglev trains work beyond the general descriptions. I have found these two books so far: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0750647183/?tag=pfamazon01-20 by Austin Hughes...
  35. J

    What is the original maglev car experiment equation

    Homework Statement what is the original maglev car experiment equation Homework Equations v1=0.07/tp The Attempt at a Solution
  36. L

    Exploring the Application of Superconductors in Maglev Train Development

    Hello, I have a problem connecting an answer to the question Describe how superconductors and the effects of magnetic fields have been applied to develop a maglev train. I have the information on the superconductors, but i don't have the information of the maginetic field how it is applied. I...
  37. J

    Researching Physics of Maglev Train Systems

    Hi, I was wondering if i could gt anyhelp with some research i was doing? I'm looking at the Maglev train systems used in Japan, and some of the developing ideas in the USA and Germany. What i was wondering is if anybody would be able to help me compile a list of all the physics concepts...
  38. Z

    Maglev Train by 10 kilometer Permanent magnets

    I want know that can we build a long Permanent magnet for a Maglev way ? Please say that its possible ? (i attached one picture , with that you can understand that what is my question and what is a long Maglev way by a Permanent magnet)
  39. R

    YBCO & Maglev Trains: Superconductor Properties & Levitation

    I'm interested in the superconductors they use to levitate trains. One of the most talked about high-temp-superconductors seems to be Ytriuum Barium Copper Oxide. I know this has a critical temperature of around 90-93K. Does anyone know any of its mechanical properties, such as Young's Modulus...
  40. S

    Maglev Train Engineering Report: Braking Systems

    Hey guys could some one give me a link to an engineering report on maglev trains. I am doing an assessment on braking systems and have chosen magnetic brakes from the maglev train. So i need a full on complex engineering report on them and info on Hydro-Aire Brakes, Aerodynamic Brakes, Linear...
  41. M

    I to build maglev train model

    I am working on a project of maglev train and want to build its physical model(as simple as it works) just to give an idea that this project is in working condition and also some mathematical modeling that will help me in my research paper So please if anyone can help me in this project I will...
  42. F

    Designing a Maglev Train: Feasibility and Stability

    I am doing a project for my physics course...I have to design a device that uses electromagnetism. I'm thinking of doing something "different" rather than the boring bells/radios etc.. Would a small-scale model of a maglev train be feasible in everyone's opinion? I am planning to build a...
  43. R

    Force/ enegry equations for maglev (electromangetism)

    i am having a few problems with a project I am doing for university. The basics of which are force/energy/field size needed to lift magnets. Basically, i need to show some calculations for the repulsion/attraction forces etc and my knowledge on electromangetism is limited. For the first...
  44. M

    Building a Simple Maglev Model: Design Recommendations and Tips

    I'm building a fairly simple maglev demonstration, I am not currently worried about propolsion since more is required there then is necessary for this. Im looking for recommendations on designs, websites etc where you've seen models done...Not ones with all permant magnets, and not sites...
  45. L

    Build a Maglev= (Magnetic levitation) train for a science project

    Hi there, I need to build a Maglev= (Magnetic levitation) train for a science project. I already build a track with coils and permanent magnets, but unfortunately my teacher doesn't know which computer program is suitable to switch the current whenever it's needed along with the north and...
  46. M

    Maglev launcher for suborbital space tourism?

    Hi, I'm not an engineer nor a scientist, but I'm fascinated by maglaunchers and I have a few questions about them which maybe you could answer. -I read that maglaunchers are being studied to accelerate spacecraft in a first phase, in order to reduce or get rid of the first stage of the...
  47. L

    How does a maglev train get on-board power?

    Greetings, I'm a physics newbie with a simple (?) question. If it's free-floating, where does the energy come from to power the lights, controls, etc. inside a moving maglev train? Another related question, if data needs to be transmitted to a moving maglev train, can it be done through...
  48. wolram

    Construct a maglev launch system on our moon

    if were posible to construct a maglev launch system on our moon how much energy would be required to launch shutle sized space craft?
  49. L

    Maglev Coaster: Exploring the Possibilities

    Maglev Coaster I posted a thread regarding this concept in PS 2.0, but I'm going to bring it up again in hopes of getting additional feedback. First, to those who are unfamiliar with the inductrack concept, there is a brief explanation http://www.skytran.net/press/sciam02.htm . The motion...