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Superconductor dust levitation in the Earth's magnetic field

  1. Nov 17, 2011 #1


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    In the wake of recent metallic hydrogen news, and the fact that metallic has long been thought to be a room temperature superconductor, I began to ponder about the age old question of superconductor levitation. Now that we are no longer restricted by temperature requirements, perhaps levitation on Earth won't be a pipe dream any longer.

    There are still many issues with metallic hydrogen, notably metastability, but lets assume that we've solved those issues and can control metallic hydrogen's state at will.

    I don't know how dense metallic hydrogen are but they are the lightest metal in the known universe, and to simplify this problem we will restrict ourselves to powder superconductors, metallic hydrogen that has been shaved into the finest grains of metal possible. Picture each grain as microscopic flat thin metal sheets.

    Given these criteria, the weak magnetic field on Earth should be able to create lift on the powder. Assume that this experiment is being carried out in a closed container, so air currents won't affect the powder. I did some rough calculations, and it seems to show that this type of lift is possible.

    However, the magnetic fields would exist on all sides of the superconductor and create opposing force that would essentially nullify each other. It's not like the lab experiments where a magnet and superconductor are placed together. My question is, how can you control the directionality of the force when there are conflicting magnetic fields on opposite ends?

    I was considering that the powder particle have some kind of distinct shape that allows for greater lift in one direction in contrast to another. But I'm not sure if this is feasible or makes sense. Any ideas would be appreciated!
  2. jcsd
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