Maglev Trains

Trains that fly on air.

Presentation Outline
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How Transrapid works. Application information about Transrapid magnetic lift trains. Transrapid magnetic lift projects. How Chuo Shinkansen works. Application information about Chuo Shinkansen works. Summary

How Transrapid Works
Support System
•The electromagnets on the underside of the train pull it up to the ferromagnetic stators on the track and levitate the train. •The magnets on the side keep the train from moving from side to side. •A computer changes the amount of current to keep the train 1 cm from the track.

This means there is no friction between the train and the track!

Levitation System’s Power Supply

Batteries on the train power the system, and therefore it still functions without propulsion. The batteries can levitate the train for 30 minutes without any additional energy. Linear generators in the magnets on board the train use the motion of the train to recharge the batteries. Levitation system uses less power than the trains air conditioning.

Propulsion System
•The system consists of aluminum three-phase cable windings in the stator packs that are on the guideway •When a current is supplied to the windings, it creates a traveling alternating current that propels the train forward by pushing and pulling.

•When the alternating current is reversed, the train brakes. •Different speeds are achieved by varying the intensity of the current. •Only the section of track where the train is traveling is electrified.


Application Information
Safety •The trains are virtually impossible to derail because the train is wrapped around the track. •Collisions between trains are unlikely because computers are controlling the trains movements. Maintenance • There is very little maintenance because there is no contact between the parts.

Comfort •The ride is smooth while not accelerating.. Economic Efficency •The initial investment is similar to other high speed rail roads. (Maglift is $20-$40 million per mile and I-279 in Pittsburg cost $37 million per mile 17 years ago.) •Operating expenses are half of that of other railroads. •A train is composed of sections that each contain 100 seats, and a train can have between 2 and 10 sections.

•The linear generators produce electricity for the cabin of the train.

Speed •The train can travel at about 300 mph. (Acela can only go 150 mph) •For trips of distances up to 500 miles its total travel time is equal to a planes (including check in time and travel to airport.) •It can accelerate to 200 mph in 3 miles, so it is ideal for short jumps. (ICE needs 20 miles to reach 200 mph.)

Environment •It uses less energy than existing transportation systems. For every seat on a 300 km trip with 3 stops, the gasoline used per 100 miles varies with the speed. At 200 km/h it is 1 liter, at 300 km/h it is 1.5 liters and at 400 km/h it is 2 liters. This is 1/3 the energy used by cars and 1/5 the energy used by jets per mile. •The tracks have less impact on the environment because the elevated models (50ft in the air) allows all animals to pass, low models ( 5-10 ft) allow small animals to pass, they use less land than conventional trains, and they can follow the landscape better than regular trains since it can climb 10% gradients (while other trains can only climb 4 gradients) and can handle tighter turns.

•Noise Pollution •The train makes little noise because it does not touch the track and it has no motor. Therefore, all noise comes from moving air. This sound is equivalent to the noise produced by city traffic.

Magnetic Field: •The magnetic field created is low, therefore there are no adverse effects.

Transrapid Projects

China is building a 20 mile system between Shanghai Pudong and Pudong International Airport. It will open in January of 2004, and it will reach speeds of over 250 mph. If the project is successful, then China will build a system from Beijing to Shanghai, a journey of over 800 miles.

•The United States Congress is planning to spend $1 billion for a test project that either connects Pittsburgh’s suburbs with its airport or Baltimore to the Washington International Airport. •Germany was going to build a magnetic lift system between Berlin and Hamburg (200 miles) in 1996, but never did because a new political party came in and decided that the improvements over ICE was not worth $7 billion dollars.

How Chuo Shinkansen Works
Type of Magnet Uses •This train uses superconducting electric magnets in the vehicle to levitate and propel the train. These magnets are cooled by liquid helium or liquid nitrogen. This means that once electrified these magnets do not require additional energy.

Propulsion •An alternating current is ran through electromagnet coils on the guide walls of the guide way. This creates a magnetic field that attracts and repels the superconducting magnets on the train and propels the train forward. •Braking is accomplished by sending an alternating current in the reverse direction so that it is slowed by attractive and repulsive forces.

Levitation •The passing of the superconducting magnets by figure eight levitation coils on the side of the tract induces a current in the coils and creates a magnetic field. This pushes the train upward so that it can levitate 10 cm above the track. •The train does not levitate until it reaches 50 mph, so it is equipped with retractable wheels.

Lateral Guidance •When one side of the train nears the side of the guideway, the super conducting magnet on the train induces a repulsive force from the levitation coils on the side closer to the train and an attractive force from the coils on the farther side. This keeps the train in the center.

Application Information

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This system is not ready for use now, but it should be ready in a few years. It’s top speed with people aboard is 350 mph. The super conducting magnets create a strong magnetic field that could be a problem for some passengers.

•The train is earthquake proof because the greater space (10 cm) between the track and the train leaves more room for track deformation •Linear generators will produce all the electricity needed in the train’s interior. •Only the part of the track that is used will be electrified so no energy is wasted.


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Maglev trains use magnets to levitate and propel the trains forward. Since there is no friction these trains can reach high speeds. It is a safe and efficient way to travel. Governments have mixed feelings about the technology. Some countries, like China, have embraced it and others like Germany have balked at the expense.

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