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howstuffworks "how maglev trains work" howstuffworks.com     rss  make howstuffworks your homepage | get newsletter search howstuffworks and the web:   explanations  •  auto  •  communication  •  computer  •  electronics  •  entertainment  •  food & recipes  •  health  •  home & garden  •  money  •  people  •  science –  earth science –  engineering –  life science –  military –  physical science –  space –  supernatural  •  travel expert reviews   consumer guide auto   consumer guide products   mobil travel guide opinions   member home checkhswcookie() prices   shop howstuffworks reference   encyclopedia   maps video stuff    featured video   beta    hsw original videos '); document.write('related ad categories'); document.write(''); for(i = 0; i < radlinks.length; ++i) { document.write('' + radlinks[i].term + ''); document.write(''); } document.write(''); document.write(''); } var ads = new array; google_ad_output = 'js'; google_ad_client = 'ca-howstuffworks_radlinks_js'; google_ad_channel = 'science'; google_safe = 'high'; google_num_radlinks = 5; // number of radlink terms to return google_max_radlink_len = 23; google_max_num_ads = '0'; google_prev_ad_formats = ''; // --> reference links main > science > engineering print email how maglev trains work by kevin bonsor inside this article 1.  introduction to how maglev trains work 2.  the maglev track 3.  electrodynamic suspension (eds) 4.  maglev technology in use 5.  lots more information 6.  see all engineering articles if you've been to an airport lately, you've probably noticed that air travel is becoming more and more congested. despite frequent delays, airplanes still provide the fastest way to travel hundreds or thousands of miles. passenger air travel revolutionized the transportation industry in the last century, letting people traverse great distances in a matter of hours instead of days or weeks. photo courtesy railway technical research institute maglev trains can travel at speeds of up to 310 mph (500 kph). the only alternatives to airplanes -- feet, cars, buses, boats and conventional trains -- are just too slow for today's fast-paced society. however, there is a new form of transportation that could revolutionize transportation of the 21st century the way airplanes did in the 20th century. a few countries are using powerful electromagnets to develop high-speed trains, called maglev trains. 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. in this article, you will learn how electromagnetic propulsion works, how three specific types of maglev trains work and where you can ride one of these trains. electromagnetic suspension (ems) if you've ever played with magnets, you know that opposite poles attract and like poles repel each other. this is the basic principle behind electromagnetic propulsion. electromagnets are similar to other magnets in that they attract metal objects, but the magnetic pull is temporary. as you can read about in how electromagnets work, you can easily create a small electromagnet yourself by connecting the ends of a copper wire to the positive and negative ends of an aa, c or d-cell battery. this creates a small magnetic field. if you disconnect either end of the wire from the battery, the magnetic field is taken away. the magnetic field created in this wire-and-battery experiment is the simple idea behind a maglev train rail system. there are three components to this system: a large electrical power source metal coils lining a guideway or track large guidance magnets attached to the underside of the train the big difference between a maglev train and a conventional train is that maglev trains do not have an engine -- at least not the kind of engine used to pull typical train cars along steel tracks. the engine for maglev trains is rather inconspicuous. instead of using fossil fuels, the magnetic field created by the electrified coils in the guideway walls and the track combine to propel the train. photos courtesy railway technical research institute above is an image of the guideway for the yamanashi maglev test line in japan. below is an illustration that shows how the guideway works. in the next section, we'll take a closer look at the maglev track.     next inside this article 1.  introduction to how maglev trains work 2.  the maglev track 3.  electrodynamic suspension (eds) 4.  maglev technology in use 5.  lots more information 6.  see all engineering articles   share this article: (what's this?) more options: please copy/paste the following text to properly cite this how stuff works article:  kevin bonsor.  "how maglev trains work".  october 13, 2000  http://science.howstuffworks.commaglev-train.htm  (october 17, 2007) sendcobrandrequest() advertisement    featured video  beta  freak weather causes tra... added:mar 1, 2007 time:01:06 fastest train in the wor... added:apr 4, 2007 time:01:05 bullet trains hit tracks... added:apr 26, 2007 time:01:58 ecomagination fact sheet... added:mar 18, 2007    var next_innerdiv = document.getelementbyid("tabs_makecategory_1"); if (next_innerdiv) next_innerdiv.style.overflow = "hidden";    related content  explanations how electromagnetic propulsion will work how diesel locomotives work how electromagnets work opinions how will the recent maglev accidents affect future developments?»post your response now. var next_innerdiv = document.getelementbyid("tabs_makecategory_1"); if (next_innerdiv) next_innerdiv.style.overflow = "hidden"; hsw brazil |  home |  company info |  advertise with us |  newsletter |  careers |  privacy |  contact us |  help |  terms & conditions   rss © 1998-2007 howstuffworks, inc. var tcdacmd="dt";
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