Inductrack


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Inductrack

[in′dək‚trak]
(engineering)
A magnetic levitation concept for trains and other moving objects that uses special arrays of permanent magnets to achieve levitation forces, and is inherently stable.
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Conceived by physicist Richard Post at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Calif., the Inductrack Magnetic Levitation System uses a new type of maglev technology to create its levitating fields.
Unlike other maglevs, no on-board power is required to generate Inductrack's levitating magnetic fields because it uses permanent magnets.
Capable of rapid acceleration, the Inductrack can operate in all weather conditions and varied terrain, requiring little maintenance.
Invented at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, Inductrack relies on permanent magnets arranged in a Halbach array on the underside of a maglev vehicle.
(The application of the system for launching spacecraft was discussed in an article in the February 2000 issue, "Induction for the Birds," page 66.) The Inductrack maglev does not levitate while it's standing still.
Richard Post, the Livermore physicist who invented Inductrack, said a turbofan could propel it beyond electrified territory.
The other critical element in the "Inductrack" (as the new maglev system is called) is track "embedded with closely packed coils of insulated wire." When the train cars move forward, the magnets arrayed beneath them induce currents in the track's coils, which in turn generate an electromagnetic field that repels the Halbach arrays, lifting the train.
A 1997 study concluded that an Inductrack system would be cheaper than the German maglev, and "proved that the concept is workable," Post says.
A system recently developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, called Inductrack, uses a Halbach array of magnetic bars and shows promise, but is still in the experimental stage.
The Livermore team has developed a maglev design it calls Inductrack, which uses an arrangement of permanent magnets in a pattern called the Halbach array.
According to Richard Post, the Livermore physicist who invented Inductrack, it is this concentration that makes the use of permanent magnets practical.