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Maglev Trains

Maglev Trains

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Did this aeons ago for school... probably irrelevant by now.. still uploaded in case someone needs help! ^_^
Did this aeons ago for school... probably irrelevant by now.. still uploaded in case someone needs help! ^_^

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Neerja Bakshi-Sharma on Jun 30, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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If you've been to anairportlately, you've probably noticedthat air travel is becoming more and more congested.Despite frequent delays,airplanesstill provide the fastestway to travel hundreds or thousands of miles. Passenger air travel revolutionized thetransportation industry in the lastcentury, letting people traversegreat distances in a matter of hours instead of days or weeks.The only alternatives to airplanes-- feet, cars, buses, boats andconventional trains -- are just tooslow for today's fast-pacedsociety. However, there is a newform of transportation that couldrevolutionize transportation of the 21st century the wayairplanes did in the 20th century.A few countries are using powerfulelectromagnetstodevelop high-speed trains, called
maglev trains
. Maglev isshort for magnetic levitation, which means that these trainswill float over a guideway using the basic principles of magnets to replace the old steel wheel and track trains. Inthis article, you will learn how electromagnetic propulsionworks, how three specific types of maglev trains work andwhere you can ride one of these trains.
Electromagnetic Suspension (EMS)
If you've ever played with magnets, you know that oppositepoles attract and like poles repel each other. This is thebasic principle behind electromagnetic propulsion.Electromagnets are similar to other magnets in that theyattract metal objects, but the magnetic pull is temporary. Asyou can read about inHow Electromagnets Work, you canPhoto courtesy RailwayTechnical ResearchInstitute
Maglev trains can travelat speeds of up to 310mph (500 kph).
easily create a small electromagnet yourself by connectingthe ends of a copper wire to the positive and negative endsof an AA, C or D-cellbattery. This creates a small magneticfield. If you disconnect either end of the wire from thebattery, the magnetic field is taken away.The magnetic field created in this wire-and-batteryexperiment is the simple idea behind a maglev train railsystem. There are three components to this system:
A large electrical power source
Metal coils lining a guideway or track
Large guidance magnets attached to the undersideof the train
 The big difference between a maglev train and aconventional trainis that maglev trains do not have anengine-- at least not the kind of engine used to pull typicaltrain cars along steel tracks. The engine for maglev trains israther inconspicuous. Instead of usingfossil fuels, themagnetic field created by the electrified coils in the guidewaywalls and the track combine to propel the train.Photos courtesy Railway TechnicalResearch Institute
Above is an image of the guideway for the Yamanashi maglev test line in
Japan. Below is an illustration thatshows how the guideway works.
The magnetized coil running along the track, called a
, repels the large magnets on the train'sundercarriage, allowing the train to
between 0.39and 3.93 inches (1 to 10 cm) above the guideway. Once thetrain is levitated, power is supplied to the coils within theguideway walls to create a unique system of magnetic fieldsthat pull and push the train along the guideway. The electriccurrent supplied to the coils in the guideway walls isconstantly alternating to change the polarity of themagnetized coils. This change in polarity causes themagnetic field in front of the train to pull the vehicle forward,while the magnetic field behind the train adds more forwardthrust.Maglev trains float on a cushion of air, eliminating friction.This lack of friction and the trains' aerodynamic designsallow these trains to reach unprecedented groundtransportation speeds of more than
310 mph
(500 kph), or twice as fast as Amtrak's fastest commuter train. Incomparison, a Boeing-777 commercialairplaneused for long-range flights can reach a top speed of about 562 mph(905 kph). Developers say that maglev trains will eventuallylink cities that are up to 1,000 miles (1,609 km) apart. At 310

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