The pace at which the world is growing makes people intolerant of delays and transport systems have to evolve to keep up with the growing pace of the modern world. Air travel has always been regarded as the fastest mode of transport and to compete with its safety and speed, Maglev (Magnetic levitation) trains have entered the scene.
Understanding Magnetic levitation
The underlying principle behind the working of Maglev trains is magnetic levitation and as the name suggests, this modern technology in transportation levitates the objects without any support other than magnetic force. The basic process of magnetic repulsion whereby like poles repel each other governs the levitation process.
Magnetic levitation trains
To levitate an object even by a few millimeters from the ground, the gravitational pull has to be overcome and in magnetic levitation, the job of overcoming gravitational attraction is done by magnetic repulsive force between the track and the train.
The guidance track of maglev trains is made with magnets and the repulsion between the track and the vehicle facilitates its forward movement. It is not natural magnet but electromagnet that is usually used in Maglev systems.
How does Maglev trains work?
The train floats about 10 millimeters above the magnetic guidance track and it does not require an engine. As the train starts off, the switching method brings changes in the magnetic fields propelling the train forward along the track.
What are the advantages of Maglev trains?
- Low maintenance cost- Maglev trains do not have any moving parts because there is no contact between the train and the guidance track, reducing the wear and tear of the parts.
- Reduction in noise-Maglev train does not have any wheels and it is called train just because it is a series of vehicles suiting the definition of train. The absence of running wheels reduces the noise by wheel motion but the noise due to air disturbance would still exist.
- High speed- The train lacks frictional contacts with the track and this contributes greatly to its speed.
- Provision to make the guide way thicker- In places like uphill locations and after train stations, the guide way can be made thicker which helps in increasing the speed of the train further.
- Environment friendly- When compared with conventional types of train, maglev trains are more environment friendly and has a slightly greater energy efficiency.
The phenomenon of magnetism has been discovered before very many years and modern applications try to explore the potential of magnetism in the best possible way. Technology and transportation have always evolved by complementing each other and maglev train is the resultant of this complementary relation.