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Levitation Technology Could Revolutionize Transportation

By Hyperloop Transportation Technologies / www.supplychain247.com / May 10th, 2016

 

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, says it has licensed technology that is safer and cheaper than what conventional high-speed trains use.

Jumpstartfund’s Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc. (HTT) announced today a base technology of the Hyperloop™ System: passive magnetic levitation, originally developed by Dr. Richard Post and his team at Lawrence Livermore National Labs (LLNL) as part of the Inductrack system.

HTT and LLNL have been working together over the past year to develop and build test systems using passive magnetic levitation and HTT has exclusively licensed the system from LLNL for their Hyperloop™ application.

Hyperloop levitation system
“I had the honor of meeting with Dr. Post in 2014 prior to his passing,” said Dirk Ahlborn CEO of Jumpstartfund and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc. “He saw the Hyperloop transportation system as the perfect fit for this technology and was excited to see it become part of the project.”

Passive magnetic levitation, which was was developed at Livermore National Labs over a multi-year study that culminated in the successful construction of a test track, is a cheaper, safer alternative to an active magnetic levitation systems like MagLev.

Inductrack Passive Magnetic Levitation

Called the Inductrack, the new system is passive in that it uses no superconducting magnets or powered electromagnets. Instead it uses permanent room-temperature magnets, similar to the familiar bar magnet, only more powerful. On the underside of each train car is a flat, rectangular array of magnetic bars called a Halbach array. (It is named after its inventor, Klaus Halbach, a retired Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory physicist.)

The bars are arranged in a special pattern, so that the magnetic orientation of each bar is at right angles to the orientations of the adjacent bars [see top illustration on this page]. When the bars are placed in this configuration, the magnetic-field lines combine to produce a very strong field below the array. Above the array, the field lines cancel one another out.

The second critical element is the track, which is embedded with closely packed coils of insulated wire. Each coil is a closed circuit, resembling a rectangular window frame. The Inductrack, as its name suggests, produces levitating force by inducing electric currents in the track. Moving a permanent magnet near a loop of wire will cause a current to flow in the wire, as English physicist Michael Faraday discovered in 1831.

When the Inductrack’s train cars move forward, the magnets in the Halbach arrays induce currents in the track’s coils, which in turn generate an electromagnetic field that repels the arrays. As long as the train is moving above a low critical speed of a few kilometers per hour-a bit faster than walking speed-the Halbach arrays will be levitated a few centimeters above the track’s surface.

Source: Scientific American - from January 2000

“Utilizing a passive levitation system will eliminate the need for power stations along the Hyperloop™ track, which makes this system the most suitable for the application and will keep construction costs low,” said Bibop Gresta, COO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.

“From a safety aspect, the system has huge advantages, levitation occurs purely through movement, therefore if any type of power failure occurs, Hyperloop™ pods would continue to levitate and only after reaching minimal speeds touch the ground.”

HTT’s crowdsourcing model is working with organizations, universities and students to develop on top of their existing IP.

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