Experimenting with a Superconducting Levitation Train
The construction and operation of a prototype high-Tc superconducting train model is presented. The train is levitated by a melt-processed GdBa2Cu3Ox (Gd-123) superconducting material over a magnetic rail (track). The oval shaped track is constructed in S-N-S or PM3N configuration arranged on an iron plate. The train bodies are constructed with FRP sheets forming a vessel to maintain the temperature of liquid nitrogen. The superconductors are field-cooled on the magnetic track, which provides a large stability of the levitation due to strong flux pinning of the melt-processed superconductors. The setup enables to test parameters like stability, speed, and safety, of the superconducting train for various gaps (ranging between 1 mm to 15 mm) between the train and the magnetic track. The experimental results indicate that trains with 1 to 2 mm gaps cannot run properly due to the friction applied to the track. The trains with 10 or 15 mm gaps do not run stable on the track. Our results confirm that a gap of 5 mm is the optimum distance to run the train showing also stability to run fast on the track. The present results clearly demonstrate that the stability of the superconducting trains depends on the gap between the rail and train, which is an important parameter also for the real Maglev trains.
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