Maglev Trains By Ignacio Rios-foster


Maglev trains are the fastest in the world. There are two kinds of Maglev trains. First, there are Electromagnetic Suspension (EMS) trains, which are used in the German Transrapid system, and are based on electromagnets. Second, there are Electrodynamic Suspension (EDS) trains, which are used in the SC Japanese system, and are based on superconductor magnets. Both offer many advantages over normal trains, because by using magnetism they avoid friction between the train and the rail.

Electromagnetic Suspension

German Transrapid Train, Ferromagnetic Rail, Iron Core Electromagnets

Electromagnetic suspension (EMS), is used primarily in the German Transrapid System. It has two essential components: ferromagnetic rails and iron core electromagnets. Electromagnets, with current flowing through them, are placed on the underside of the carriage creating a magnetic field. The ferromagnetic rails are then placed under the guideway, causing an attraction between the electromagnets and the ferromagnetic rails, resulting in a 10mm hover between the stator and support magnets, which allows the carriage to hover 150mm above the guideway. The carriage is propelled by support magnets which work to create a series of attractive and repulsive pulls that result in forward movement.

Electrodynamic Suspension

Japanese SC Maglev Train, Superconductive Magnet, Figure 8 Coils

Electrodynamic Suspension (EDS) is primarily used in the Japanese SC System. It relies on the principal of superconductivity, where superconductive magnets, are cooled to extreme temperatures. The superconducting magnets are placed on the side of the carriage, and interact with figure eight shaped coils on the side of the guideway. The coils experience the change in magnetic field, caused from the superconductor's motion, as the train moves. Two currents are generated that oppose the change in magnetic field. One below that creates a reactive magnetic field that opposes the superconductive magnet, and one above that creates a pull that attracts it. Thus, the two forces work together to achieve a hover of a 100mm above the guideway. Propulsion is obtained by a Linear Synchronous Motor, which consists of additional coils in the guideway that create a current. The magnetic field created by the superconductor then interacts with this magnetic field created by the motor to propel the train forward.

Pros and Cons

There are many advantages of Maglev trains, which all originate from the fact that they lose no energy to friction, unlike normal trains. As a result, they have longer lifetimes, lower operating costs, and are able to travel faster and quieter. Comparing both systems, EMS has a lower magnetic exposure to passengers, meanwhile EDS is safer during power outages. The disadvantages of Maglev trains vary based of the type of system. EMS trains require more expansive computer systems to monitor magnetic separation; while EDS trains have costs associated with cooling the necessary superconductive magnets.


Bonsor, Kevin. "How Maglev Trains Work." HowStuffWorks Science. HowStuffWorks, 13 Oct. 2000. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

Physics of Maglev Trains (EMS & EDS). Prod. Lucas Humbel. Perf. Lucas Humbel. N.p., 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.

"Maglev Suspension Systems." Maglev Suspension Systems. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

21st Century Time Machine. "Maglev Train -The Fastest Train in the World." YouTube. YouTube, 23 May 2016. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

Institute, Tesla. "Electromagnet." Electromagnet. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

HIWIN. "Linear Guideways." Linear Guideways - HIWIN Corporation. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

Parades, Jimena. "Empresa Alemana, Interesada En Construir Tren De LevitaciĆ³n." LaRazon. LaRazon, 24 Dec. 2014. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

"Japanese Maglev: World's Fastest Bullet Train (603 Kph) - JRailPass." Japan Rail Pass Blog. N.p., 27 Feb. 2017. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. "32 Tesla All-Superconducting Magnet - MagLab." The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

"Advancements in Transportation." Advances in Trains, n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.