Most "real trains" have "emergency touch-down wheels" for this reason. Maglev will only get faster from here (Luu, 2005). Magnets made from rare-earth elements, however, produce a stronger magnetic field than ferrite (iron compounds) or alnico (alloys of iron, aluminum, nickel, cobalt, and copper) magnets to lift and guide the train cars over a guideway. The Korean Rotem Maglev runs in the city of Taejeŏn between the Taejeŏn Expo Park and the National Science Museum, a distance of 1 km (0.6 mile). The lack of friction between the train and the guideway removes many limits that bound traditional trains. As a result, maglev may be commonplace sooner than you’d think. Therefore it is electrical engineers that are needed to solve the biggest problems this technology faces. The Changsha Maglev operates on an 18.55 km (11.53 mi) long line connecting 3 stations between 7 am and 9 pm running every 15 minutes. However, the introduction of maglev technology has broken that tradition. The propulsion for the EMS is needed from another source, therefore electrodynamic suspension will be focused on instead of electromagnetic suspension. Levitation is the ability for the train to stay suspended above the track. It is the interaction between the original field and the induced field that causes the secondary to be pulled along. It also discusses the importance of electrical engineering in developing maglev, and how electrical engineers can make this technology the next transportation revolution. The greatest obstacle to the development of maglev systems is that they require entirely new infrastructure that cannot be integrated with existing railroads and that would also compete with existing highways, railroads, and air routes. The guideways need to be made cheaper, easier to implement, and perhaps more compatible with existing rails. Collage sources: © Alex Needham / Public Domain and Metropedia. The stator is used to generate a rotating magnetic field. Coates, K., Antlauf, W., & Bernardeau, F. (2004). Hermann Kemper, who many believe to be the father of maglev, was also an electrical engineer. Gieras, J., Piech, Z., & Tomczuk, B. Maglev trains have surprisingly few moving parts. Thus China has quickly become a large player in the worldwide maglev market. And with the help of some electrical engineers, it will become all of these things. The trains need to be made faster and more energy efficient. German and Japanese electrical engineers worked to establish the maglev programs in their respective nations. One is to add electric power, position detection, a control circuit and coils to stabilize the unstable axes (I think that's how the real maglev trains work). The 1986 World’s Fair (Expo 86) in Vancouver included a short section of a maglev system within the fairgrounds. The country plans to continue development of its maglev infrastructure. The line is the first high-speed commercial maglev, operating at a maximum speed of 430 km (267 miles) per hour. Some important topics to the field are electromagnetic fields and waves, circuit theory, feedback control systems, and power engineering. The Maglev is very expensive to construct and there are only three operational commercial Maglev systems -in Japan, China and South Korea. Yadav, M., Mehta, N., Gupta, A., Chaudhary, A., & Mahindru, D. V. (2013). Source: Author, derived from Lee (2006). This lag is a source of energy and speed loss. Figure 2: Diagram of Coils and Supports in the Guideway, Figure 3: Diagram showing the Polars of the Magnetic Fields Before and After Polarity Change. The fundamental ideas behind maglev technology can be traced back to the early 20th century. One is located in Japan, two in South Korea, and three in China. Japan continued development of its maglev technology into the 90s and beyond. The first known commercial use of MAGLEV train was in the year 1984 in Birmingham, England, and the train was named MAGLEV itself. Electrodynamic suspension (EDS) systems are similar to EMS in several respects, but the magnets are used to repel the train from the guideway rather than attract them. Privacy | Electromagnetic suspension (EMS) uses the attractive force between magnets present on the train’s sides and underside and on the guideway to levitate the train. During the 70s and 80s, both countries made great progress in developing these trains. As shown in Figure 3, they have guideways, and they float down these guideways without ever touching them. Both use repulsive magnets. Source: Author, derived from Lee (2006). Uses repulsive magnetic forces. As an alternative to high-speed rail based on traditional flanged-wheel vehicles, the technology of magnetic levitation, or maglev, has... Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. This field induces a rotational force on the rotor, which causes it to spin. And it is only the first. The attraction from magnets present on the underside of the vehicle that wrap around the iron rails of the guideway keep the train about 1.3 cm (0.5 inch) above the guideway. In a Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM), the lag is removed by attaching permanent magnets to the secondary. Maglevs were conceptualized during the early 1900s by American professor and inventor Robert Goddard and French-born American engineer Emile Bachelet and have been in commercial use since 1984, with several operating at present and extensive networks proposed for the future. Going more in-depth on how the levitation and propulsion function together effectively on a maglev train based on electrodynamic suspension is through the use of coils. The trains achieved speeds of over 250 mph (402 kph) on the test track (Luu, 2005). Non-Discrimination | Between 1984 and 1995 the first commercial maglev system was developed in Great Britain as a shuttle between the Birmingham airport and a nearby rail station, some 600 metres (about 1,970 feet) away. Being a superconductor, electricity flows through the them with no difficulty as there is no resistance, the coils produce a magnetic field of north and south forces. Source: Author, derived from Lee (2006). Our latest podcast episode features popular TED speaker Mara Mintzer. This means that fewer materials are consumed by the train’s operation, because parts do not constantly have to be replaced. Transrapid on testing center in Germany near Bremen. However, in 2000, the government shut down the project (Luu, 2005). Guidance is what keeps the train centered over the guideway. Two types of maglevs are in service. A variation on EMS, called Transrapid, employs an electromagnet to lift the train off the guideway. A linear motor is simply an unrolled version of this (see Figure 7). It is the first Chinese developed and built maglev train. These cars are fitted with huge magnets that move above their tracks, reducing the impact of friction and enabling the cars to attain much higher speeds than conventional trains. Source: Author, derived from Lee (2006). Maglevs produce little to no air pollution during operation, because no fuel is being burned, and the absence of friction makes the trains very quiet (both within and outside the cars) and provides a very smooth ride for passengers. Electrodynamic Suspension (EDS). Less impressive with its 100 km/h (62 mph) operating speed, it's the technological base for their 600 km/h (373 mph), ultra-high-speed maglev trains. Maglev systems. EDS trains are slow to lift off, so they have wheels that must be deployed below approximately 100 km (62 miles) per hour. Thus the MLX is both levitated and guided at the same time (Lee, 2006). Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Coils are found on the edge of the guideway and wrapped around them is a superconductor. The system that has been described so far is a Linear Induction Motor (LIM). These magnets are supercooled and superconducting and have the ability to conduct electricity for a short time after power has been cut. So a magnetic field is sent down the guideway and it pulls the train along after it. Most importantly, though, it has brought electrical engineers to the table. In this setting there would be virtually no wind resistance, so a train could easily reach speeds exceeding the speed of sound (Thornton, 2007). The levitation rails on either side of the train are connected to each other. This lack of friction means that they can reach higher speeds than conventional trains. At this time, Germany and Japan began researching the potential of maglev. Instead of a rotating magnetic field, the stator generates a field that travels down its length. Also, unlike EMS, the charge of the magnetized coils of the guideway in EDS systems repels the charge of magnets on the undercarriage of the train so that it levitates higher (typically in the range of 1–10 cm [0.4–3.9 inches]) above the guideway. Maglevs incorporate a basic fact about magnetic forces—like magnetic poles repel each other, and opposite magnetic poles attract each other—to lift, propel, and guide a vehicle over a track (or guideway). Imagine a train without wheels. The New Mode of Transport For the 21st Century. Another problem is that maglev trains travel fast, but they might not travel quite fast enough. The market for these trains just isn’t very large at the moment. Even though guideways cost less than rails over time (Powell, 2003), it is hard to justify spending so much upfront. In Aichi, Japan, near Nagoya, a system built for the 2005 World’s Fair, the Linimo, is still in operation. Photo: A Maglev train using linear motor technology. Comparison of Wheel-Rail versus Guideways. The Japanese have been even bolder and have long hoped to develop a high-speed maglev train that can travel the … All of these issues and more are calling out for an electrical engineer to come unravel their answers. Updates? Several train systems using maglev have been developed over the years, with most operating over relatively short distances. SCMaglev. In the MLX, guidance is coupled with the levitation system. The Inch’ŏn Airport Maglev has six stations and runs from Inch’ŏn International Airport to the Yongyu station, 6.1 km (3.8 miles) away. Electromagnetic suspension (EMS) and electrodynamic suspension (EDS), https://www.britannica.com/technology/maglev-train. This article reviews the history of these trains, how they work, as well as their benefits and drawbacks. Maglevs have several other advantages compared with conventional trains. It has a stationary piece, the stator, which surrounds a rotating piece, the rotor. When describing a linear motor, the standard is to use the term “primary” instead of “stator,” and “secondary” instead of “rotor.” In maglev trains, the secondary is attached to the bottom of the train cars, and the primary is in the guideway. Much work went into laying the groundwork for these trains, including the development of electric motors and research in magnetism. It carries passengers a distance of 19 miles (30km) in 8 minutes, reaching a top speed of over 250 mph (431 kph) (Coates, 2004). Review of Maglev Train Technologies. The most famous commercial MAGLEV train is the Shanghai MAGLEV train … The Changsha Maglev connects that city’s airport to a station 18.5 km (11.5 miles) away, and the S1 line of the Beijing subway system has seven stops over a distance of 9 km (6 miles). A few scientists, namely Robert Goddard and Emile Bachelet, even dared to propose a vehicle that would float using magnets (Yadav, 2013). In Germany, a commercial TransRapid line connecting Berlin and Hamburg was proposed in 1992. It travels over 50 mph (80 kph) faster than the fastest high-speed wheel-rail (320-kph Hayabusa, 2013). However, in this configuration, the secondary always lags somewhat behind the moving field in the primary. Shanghai Maglev has the highest run speed of 431kmph for an operational train covering a 30.5-km distance in 7mins 20secs. And it … 320-kph Hayabusa matches world speed record. Their trains were able to exceed 300 mph (483 kph) (Luu, 2005). Maglev trains use magnetism to levitate above the tracks on which they travel. Because LSMs are faster and more efficient, they are the motor of choice in high-speed maglev trains (Lee, 2006).

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