|Image Credit: 2010 Shanghai Expo, org.|
The Beijing Times has announced that China has recently begun constructing Maglev trains, transportation that can go speeds of about 600 kilometres per hour. They have been around for some time and are already in use in Japan, or as everyone else knows it the land of futuristic everything.
Maglev trains, derived from Magnetic Levitation, work on the principle that trains can hover and propel themselves using magnets instead of using wheels, thereby reducing friction substantially and increasing the top speed from one hundred to several hundred kilometres per hour. The science behind their operation is actually quite simple. There are two motors, one to levitate the train and the other one to propel the train. The one levitating the train works like the magnets we all played with back in elementary school; put a magnet close to another magnet and it pushes it away. In the life-sized version the track is one of the magnets, and the other one is on the train. The propelling magnet is nothing but a good old electric motor that's been linearized: stretched out along the train, with the other part of the motor overlaying the side of the track. The ability to float and push itself along the track allows it to go phenomenal speeds.