Interaction of Ferromagnetic and Superconducting Permanent Magnets: Superconducting Levitation

author: Ludwig Schultz, Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research (IFW) Dresden
published: Jan. 6, 2016,   recorded: December 2015,   views: 1957


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New means of urban transportation and logistics will become realistic with superconducting magnetic bearings using bulk high-temperature superconductors. The advantage of super­con­ducting magnetic levitation is that it is passively stable without any electronic control, but with attracting and repelling forces to suspend a vehicle pendant or standing upright from zero to high speed. These are perfect conditions for a rail-bound, individual transport with cabins for 4 to 5 passengers, requested call by call. They will levitate without noise over a track made of rare-earth permanent magnets, saving energy and travel time. A big step forward in this vision has been made in Dresden. The world largest research and test facility for transport systems using bulk high-temperature superconducting material in the levitation and guidance system, in combination with a permanent magnet track, was put into operation. A vehicle for 2 passengers, equipped with linear drive propulsion, a noncontact energy supply, a second braking system, and various test and measurement systems is running on an 80 m long, oval driveway. In the presentation, the principle of superconducting levitation by flux pinning in high-temperature super­con­ductors will be described and experimentally demonstrated with different model railway systems. Based on this, an over­view of the SupraTrans II research facility and future directions of super­conductivity-based magnetic levitation and bearing for automation technology, transportation, and medical treatment under enhanced gravity will be given. Also the superconducting hoverboard, recently presented by Lexus, will be discussed.

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