While I was a kid growing up, I once believed objects floating in the air without any support, in defiance of gravity is a complete magical process. I did try to flip through a pen or paper to see if truly this is happening right in my presence. But now, going by my higher level of academic studies and practical, it’s high time I compromised my belief on such occurrences as magic. Do you know why? It’s simply because what I experienced was pure science and it is called Maglev- Magnetic Levitation, I wish I knew this then!
Magnetic Levitation is a way to suspend objects in the air without any support, in the manner of defying gravity and it works using a magnetic field.
You will agree with me that magnets have two poles, be it natural or electromagnets and according to law of electrostatic forces which states that;
Like charges would always repel each other and unlike charges would attract each other.
This infers that Maglev is just the outcome of the repulsion effect caused as a result of two magnetic fields. It is explained that an object would be levitated, in other words, lifted up when the force created by electromagnetic repulsion is equivalent to the weight of the object. In a more scientific term, what we see is the electromagnetic force counteracting the gravitational force.
However, one factor to be watched for in magnetic levitation is stability and this can only be achieved with Super-conductors. Superconductors are used to inducing a dipole moment opposite to the surrounding field when brought under the influence of a magnetic field and the repulsion creates a levitation. This is as simple as you can imagine but much thanks to science.
More so, there are other ways to generate magnetic levitation of which one is electromagnetism and this method is applied in lifting heavier objects. Who else here is thinking of Maglev trains?
Magnetic levitation trains are used as a modern transmission vehicle. I’m sure you still remember that a magnet has a north pole and a south pole and the law of electrostatic stated earlier. These are just the principles governing the levitation of maglev trains. For instance, imagine that there is a long line of electromagnets which pulls the train from the front and push it from behind. These electromagnets are charged by controlled alternating currents, so as to rapidly alternate their pull and push poles, and in return, propel the train forward continually.
Maglev trains are a famous application of the Magnetic Levitation technology. Besides this, other minor applications can be seen in toys such as the Maglev toy clock, train and the one that caught my fancy while I was growing up was the maglev car. So, let me put this straight to you, while you were growing up, what was your favorite Maglev toy?