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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Maglev train breaks its own record ... runs at 603 kmph !!

The distance between Chennai to Hyderabad by road  is around 625 km – the rail route is around 715 km and it would take not less than 13 hours by Express train at an average speed of 55 kmph.  As the crow flies, it would be around 500 km and a direct flight could take more than an hour !  - air travel is by far the fastest – but many a times, the travel to the airport, the time delay there including security check-up, landing, coming out and reaching the destination by another mode of transport all would add up more time – and in someways travel by train would be preferred, especially when it is overnight.

Heard of ‘Meissner effect’? ...... levitation –is the process by which an object is held aloft, without mechanical support, in a stable position. Levitation is accomplished by providing an upward force that counteracts the downward force of gravity, plus a smaller stabilizing force that pushes the object toward a home position whenever it is a small distance away from that home position. A few countries are using powerful electromagnets to develop high-speed trains, called maglev trains.

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 gravitational and any other accelerations. Maglev is short for magnetic levitation, which means that these trains will float over a guideway using the basic principles of magnets to replace the old steel wheel and track trains.  The two primary issues involved in magnetic levitation are lifting force: providing an upward force sufficient to counteract gravity, and stability: ensuring that the system does not spontaneously slide or flip into a configuration where the lift is neutralized.

The Shanghai Maglev Train, also known as the Transrapid, is the fastest commercial train currently in operation and has a top speed of 430km/h. The line was designed to connect Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the outskirts of central Pudong, Shanghai. It covers a distance of 30.5 kilometres in 8 minutes.  Maglev trains move more smoothly and more quietly than wheeled mass transit systems. They are relatively unaffected by weather.  Compared to conventional trains, differences in construction affect the economics of maglev trains.  Maglev systems have been much more expensive to construct, offsetting lower maintenance costs.

During a non-commercial test run on 12 November 2003, a maglev train achieved a Chinese record speed of 501 km/h (311 mph)..... now that record stands broken by a Japanese magnetic levitation train hitting 603km/h (374mph) in a test run near Mount Fuji. The train beat the 590km/h speed it had set last week in another test.

Central Japan Railway (JR Central), which owns the trains, wants to introduce the service between Tokyo and the central city of Nagoya by 2027. The 280km journey would take only about 40 minutes, less than half the current time. However, passengers will not get to experience the maglev's record-breaking speeds because the company said its trains will operate at a maximum of 505km/h.

The government is also hoping to sell the maglev train technology overseas. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting the US where he is expected to pitch for a role in building a new high-speed rail line between New York and Washington.

What a speed and what sort of travel it would be !!!

The Meissner effect is the expulsion of a magnetic field from a superconductor during its transition to the superconducting state. The German physicists Walther Meissner and Robert Ochsenfeld discovered this phenomenon in 1933 by measuring the magnetic field distribution outside superconducting tin and lead samples.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st Apr 2015.

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