How Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) Trains Actually Work

With an impressive operational speed of 270 miles per hour, The Shanghai Maglev currently holds the title for being the fastest commercial electric train in the world. The train can cover the 18-mile distance from Shanghai to the Pudong International Airport in just 7 minutes and 30 seconds. However, it falls short in comparison to the fastest train ever tested, a Japanese Maglev train that can reach the incredible speed of 374 miles per hour! What sets these trains apart from their conventional counterparts? The power of magnets, of course!

By harnessing the power of magnets and employing advanced rail systems, Maglev trains revolutionize the concept of railway travel by eliminating friction and pushing the boundaries of speed. Presently, two prominent Maglev technologies dominate the scene. The first one is EMS, which stands for electromagnetic suspension trains. In this system, the train cars are equipped with electromagnets that create a repulsive force, propelling the car away from the ferromagnetic track.

The second one, EDS (Electrodynamic Suspension Trains,) present a more complex design. These trains incorporate superconductive magnets that are securely affixed to the train and cooled using liquid helium. The guideway structure comprises two sets of magnets, with one layer responsible for suspension and the other for guidance. Both EMS and EDS technologies possess the remarkable capability of surpassing the speed limits of traditional trains, making them hopefully likely to be widely adopted in the future.

[Interesting Engineering]

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