MAGNETIC LEVITATION TRAIN MODEL AND ITS PROPULSION SYSTEM
September 2008 - December 2009
Awarded Best project of Ecole Centrale Lyon in 2010
Sustainable development is nowadays inseparable from public transport issues. Indeed, globalization brought new behaviours: we are always trying to travel faster with less energy consumption and lower economical costs.
Through this 15-month project at Ecole Centrale Lyon where I was the group leader of our five-person team*, we had the opportunity to break new ground in public transports issues. We addressed a complex and still controversial subject totally in keeping with actual scientific issues by designing a magnetic levitation train model and its propulsion system called the train of the future.
Magnetic pressure is used to counteract the effects of gravitational force. When a superconductor is cooled above a magnetic track (on-field cooling), it adopts specific electromagnetism properties - an electrical resistance of exactly zero and no interior magnetic field (the Meissner effect).
From all the technical requirements deduced from the superconductors parameters and also the need to clear slopes and spirals, I designed the shape of the train using CAD. We chose a light and workable material, then produced the train on a CNC machine.
The propulsion system consists of a self-controlled linear motor that we designed entirely from a mathematical model to hand-made production. The component presented above is the off-board inductor that produces the magnetic field required to propel the train. A thin aluminium sheet is attached on the side of the train to create the interaction. Optical sensors detect the presence of the train, activating the linear motor.
The train was now ready to go.
The project was successfully concluded with the title of best study project of our year.
The first version of the project exhibited in November 2008 at the National Science Fair “Fête de la science 2008” in Lyon. It consisted of a flat oval track and manual propulsion.
The final version exhibited in November 2009 at the National Science Fair “Fête de la science 2009” in Lyon. The fully completed project had two different tracks, the most spectacular one integrating slopes, spirals and bends where the trains levitates upside down.
* Romain Petinot, Guillaume Monsegu, Camille Flament, Géraud Lacaille.
Ⓒ 2011 Luc Fusaro
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