Magnetic Levitation

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Magnetic levitation, maglev, or magnetic suspension is a method by which an object is suspended with no support other than magnetic fields. Magnetic pressure is used to counteract the effects of the gravitational and any other accelerations. Earnshaw's theorem proves that using only static ferromagnetism it is impossible to stably levitate against gravity, but servomechanisms, the use of diamagnetic materials, superconduction, or systems involving eddy currents permit this to occur. In some cases the lifting force is provided by magnetic levitation, but there is a mechanical support bearing little load that provides stability. This is termed pseudo-levitation. Magnetic levitation is used for maglev trains, magnetic bearings and for product display purposes. Superconductors may be considered perfect diamagnets, as well as the property they have of completely expelling magnetic fields due to the Meissner effect when the superconductivity initially forms. The levitation of the magnet is further stabilized due to flux pinning within the superconductor; this tends to stop the superconductor leaving the magnetic field, even if the levitated system is inverted. Maglev, or magnetic levitation, is a system of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles, predominantly trains, using magnetic levitation from a very large number of magnets for lift and propulsion. This method has the potential to be faster, quieter and smoother than wheeled mass transit systems. The technology has the potential to exceed 6,400 km/h (4,000 mi/h) if deployed in an evacuated tunnel. If not deployed in an evacuated tube the power needed for levitation is usually not a particularly large percentage and most of the power needed is used to overcome air drag, as with any other high speed train. The highest recorded speed of a maglev train is 581 kilometers per hour (361 mph), achieved in Japan in 2003, 6 km/h faster than the conventional TGV speed record. This is slower than many aircraft, since aircraft can fly at far higher altitudes where air drag is lower, thus high speeds are more readily attained. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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