Not Fast, Super Fast! Maglev Train Technology

white and green train on train station

Magnetic Rail Train Technology is based on the train moving on superconducting electromagnets. Although this idea was initially proposed over a century ago, it was not possible at that time to generate the high electric currents required to create a sufficiently strong magnetic field to bring it to life. Gordon Danby and James Powell got together at Brookhaven National Laboratory and started working in this field. The duo took over the patent for the magnetic rail train technology in 1968. In 1979, the participants who came to the transportation fair held in Hamburg, Germany, could take a short test drive on the Transrapid Maglev Train.

Maglev train technology has not yet been widely used, as it is mainly under development. Currently, Germany and Japan are working on maglev train technologies. The first example of maglev trains in daily life began to be used in Shanghai, China. Magnetic levitation trains connecting Shanghai’s international airport to the city subway line speed up to 430 km/h.

This is one of the fastest passenger trains in the world. It transports passengers from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport to the city subway line. The train runs on a 30 km line and can cross this distance in 7 minutes and 20 seconds.

The magnetic levitation (MAGLEV) train, also known as the magnetic rail train, slides on a rail system; Since there is no wheel friction, it can accelerate more.

How Does the Maglev Train Work

Ice bullet train at the subway station

There is a simple scientific logic behind this system. In a magnet, a positive and negative terminal attract each other, while two positive terminals (or two negative terminals) repel each other. This thrust is used in the magnetic levitation system, and the train wagons are pushed forward rapidly with electromagnets.

Maglev trains also basically work on this principle. Maglev trains have magnets under them. At the same time, there are electromagnets on the train tracks specially produced for maglev trains. An electromagnet is a magnetic field created by an electric current flowing through a wire. When no current flows through the wires, the magnetic effect disappears, or the poles of the magnet can be changed by controlling the direction of the current. Thanks to these magnets, the train moves on the rails at the height of 10 mm. Since there is no contact with the rails, friction is significantly reduced. The shape of the train is also designed to minimize friction with the air.

  1. Electromagnetic Suspension
  2. Supporting Magnets
  3. Magnetic Lever
  4. Router Magnet
  5. Router Section
  6. Router Rail
  7. Suspension
  8. Battery
  9. Stator

Despite all these positive aspects, maglev trains also have negative aspects. For example, magnetic rails are a costly process, and magnetic rail trains cannot switch on standard rails while they are in motion. To provide this transition, a magnetic rail system can be laid in the middle of the already applied rails, but this transition must be installed by calculating very well. However, this cost can be considered as the technology that develops with the passing time increases the advantages of maglev trains. Therefore, such trains may replace air transport in the future, especially in domestic passenger transport.

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