China unveils first suspended maglev train
Smoothly floats on a cushion of rare earth magnet resistance Metal Tech News – August 24, 2022
Last updated 4/16/2023 at 7:04am
Without any outside forces, a sky train levitates 30 feet above the ground in China's Jiangxi Province, thanks to the powerful forces of rare earth permanent magnets.
Unlike magnetic levitation trains that float on a cushion of magnetic resistivity below, the world-first air train effortlessly floats from a rail above. With permanent rare earth magnets on both the rail and an arm above the "Red Rail" train resisting each other, the train can levitate above the ground below, even if the electricity was shut off.
With the repelling magnetic forces creating a frictionless ride and no moving parts needed for propulsion, it only takes a small amount of electricity to whisk up to 88 passengers along an 800-meter (2,625 feet) elevated single track, according to the Jiangxi University of Science and Technology team that developed the train.
This maglev test train is designed to travel at 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour but can reach a top speed of 75 mph (120 kph).
The research team that designed and developed Red Rail says the use of permanent REE magnets not only provides the power to levitate the fully loaded metro-style test train but can continue to do so for a very long time due to the magnetic power and durability of the rare earths used. Neodymium, the rare earth element most commonly used in rare earth magnets, would maintain essentially all of its train lifting power after a century of use.
Being suspended on a cushion of magnetic resistance also provides passengers with a smooth and quiet ride, a benefit that would also be enjoyed by those living or working along the route of future suspended maglev trains.
"The permanent magnet maglev train offers personalized and intelligent transportation that can complement metro and light rail," Long Zhiqiang, a professor with the National Defence University in Changsha who was involved in developing Red Rail, told Chinese media. "In the future, it will also help create a new engine for the high-tech equipment industry and give China a new advantage in global rail transport."