Magnetic levitation (maglev) or magnetic suspension is a method by which an object is suspended with no support other than magnetic fields. Magnetic force is used to counteract the effects of the gravitation force and any other forces.
Some of our favourite Modern Innovation products use magnetic levitation, providing very cool floating and spinning gadgets that serve as a great focal point for any room.
Check out some of our levitating gadgets below.
Modern Innovations Levitating Products
1. Floating Cities
he Magnetic Levitation Technology has been taken to consideration in order to create cities at a level far above the earth. This thinking has been initiated due to decreasing availability of ground on earth. Also, Magnetic Levitation technology can allow us to stay in an island floating on atmosphere quite far above the ground where the air is free from any kind of pollution or impurity. This architecture incorporated with Maglev technology or Magnetic Levitation Technology has been proposed by a Chinese architect named Wei Zhao who was an honorable winner in Skyscraper Competition in eVolo’s 2012. This concept was named as Heaven and Earth. Magnetic field generated, repels the gravitational force created by earth and allows the floating island to remain suspended in air. The island will keep rotating or spinning its platform which in turn will be responsible to generate energy required to maintain stability while on suspension. The entire concept is based on theoretical assumption. Practical application has not been initiated till date. But with the pace at which technology is advancing we will surely find a floating city on earth in near future. Experiments are conducted on atmospheric conditions of other planets to initiate building suspended islands. The ground atmosphere of these planets may not be suitable for life to persist. But the atmosphere above the ground may have enough potential for life to survive.
2. Super High-Speed Rail
Regular high-speed trains can travel at up to 180 miles per hour, but they generate enormous amounts of friction and heat as they screech down the rails, leading to mechanical wear and energy loss. By contrast, maglev trains reach speeds faster than 300 miles per hour while hovering a few inches above the rail. By eliminating friction, maglev trains use less energy and can significantly reduce costs. For example, while every high-speed rail passenger pays one dollar for each mile traveled, maglev passengers could pay as little as 5 cents per mile, says James Powell, director of the company Maglev 2000 and a co-inventor of superconducting maglev trains.
A handful of maglev trains already exist in Asia and Europe, and several new projects may be in the works. Japan’s MLX01 clocked in at 361 mph in 2003—the highest speed yetfor a Maglev train—but China is reportedly developing a train that will double that speed. And by operating within airless tubes, maglev trains could potentially reach speeds of several thousand miles per hour. Speeds like that could make commuting effortless … that is, if the acceleration and deceleration don’t squash you first.
3. Flying Cars
SkyTran pods promise to bring maglev transportation to the skies. Each private pod, suspended from an elevated guideway, could carry three passengers and would use maglev technology to reach speeds of up to 150 mph. Theoretically, SkyTran could bring passengers anywhere they wanted to go along the route of the guideway, without making unnecessary stops for other passengers. On a practical front, the advantages are enormous. Firstly, these are the greenest of the green cars. Since they fly, these cars do not have to counter road friction. As a result, they become very fuel efficient. This benefit alone is the strongest driving force and motivation for scientists – who want to save the world from environmental degradation – to work on it.
The range of movement that you can enjoy on these crafts is stunning. In fact, you can have the capsule spin on a needle tip. Also, Maglev cars could solve some amount of road traffic congestion. In addition, the development potential is enormous. Special integration with solar power could make the car work on solar power, thereby making it tremendously good on the world ecology. Heat emission from these cars could also be reduced with reduction in exhaust amounts.
Considering the enormous potential of Maglev cars, there is no doubt that these are definitely the future of automobile industry. However, making it work is a Herculean task and not economically feasible with the available technology. Since cars hover on a bed of magnetic bed, roads need to be magnetized to hold the cars up. If roads are magnetized, they might not be suitable for cars which run on them and not hover. The costs involved in these things are huge.
4. Efficient Wind Turbines
Standard wind turbines convert only 1 percent of wind energy into usable power, and part of that glaring inefficiency stems from the loss of energy due to friction as the turbine spins. Researchers at the Guangzhou Energy Research Institute have estimated that magnetically levitated turbines could boost wind energy generation by as much as 20 percent over traditional turbines.
The researchers proposed using a colossal turbine with vertical blades that are suspended above the base of the turbine using neodymium magnets. Because the moving parts wouldn’t touch, the turbines would be virtually frictionless and could capture energy from winds as slow as 1.5 meters (5 feet) per second. Maglev turbines could lower the price of wind energy to less than 5 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is on par with coal-generated electricity and only about half the typical cost of wind power.
The researchers say that a 1-gigawatt maglev turbine would cost $53 million to build and may require 100 acres of land, but it could supply electricity to 750,00 homes. In comparison, it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build a wind farm of similar capacity using traditional turbines, and it would require 64,000 acres of land to house the 1000 turbines.