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The magnetic levitation technology, popularly known as maglev, is one that uses magnetic fields to lift an
object as required. The fields of the magnet counteract the gravity and causes the object to be suspended
in air without any physical support. The technology is friction-less, thus efficient.
In this paper, we will discuss our project where we worked with the magnetic levitation technology to
design a low cost ball bearing system that can be completely controlled. Though we aimed for complete
control of the levitating object, which is the metal ball in this case, we have achieved partial success in
levitation. However, the system is not able to elevate or lower the ball or control the desired height (stable
position) of the ball at any given point. The major force that implements the partial levitation is the
electromagnetic force created by the current through the systems electromagnet. The system continues
to operate until the power source is discontinued or removed.
The system is divided into two subsystems, namely electrical and mechanical subsystems. The input to
our system is a normal DC voltage (V) which generates a current (I) in the electromagnet which
eventually levitates the object at a height (h) from the electromagnet. The vertical position of the levitating
ball is measured using a Hall Effect sensor and the current in the electromagnet is controlled using an
Arduino microcontroller. This controller mainly generates a PWM signal, which supplies a frequency to the
electromagnet through an N-channel Power MOSFET.
Though levitation was partially achieved, our calculations and simulations prove that the distance of the
ball from the electromagnet is inversely proportional to the applied voltage. Further research and
development in this technology can ensure a complete control of the magnetic levitation system, and can
even lead to magnetic propulsion.