The maglev train of Japan breaks the world speed in a test run with 603km per hour
Will this train be able one day to break through the sound barrier?
In some fields Japan is few years ahead of the rest of the world and this Maglev train is the conclusive proof.
This magnetically levitated train of the Central Japan Railway Company, broke Tuesday, April 21 the world speed with 603 km/h having several passengers on board, it maintained this pace for 10.8 seconds, while crossing a tunnel. The test took place in the center of Japan beating his previous record, set at 590 km/h.
Specifically, this magnetically levitated train can travel at a speed of over 10 kilometers per minute or 170 meters per second.
This kind of trains overcomes most friction by floating above an aluminum guide way which is not technically a rail. According to the BBC, during the eight days of testing, the Central Japan Railway Company will give the opportunity to 2,400 passengers to take this magnificent ride. And by 2027, if all goes according to their plan, this kind of trains will connect Tokyo to Nagoya in just 40 minutes.
So let’s discover how does this technology work? What will it change? Take a look below and learn a little more about this incredible invention.
1What is the electromagnetic levitation?
Electromagnetic levitation is a physical phenomenon that is generated through two electromagnets. The interaction between the magnets creates a magnetic force that compensates the gravity and allows the levitation.
2How does electromagnetic levitation work on a train?
The magnets are placed on board and along the chosen path. The action of the magnets will push the train up and ensure the existence of a gap between the “rails” and the train. It is through this phenomenon that the maglev is powered.
This technology offers a distinct advantage. Without frictional contact with the rails, the train avoids any loss of speed due to frictions between the rail and the wheels.
This type of trains can go faster and even faster than we imagine. A team of scientists in the university of Jiaotong have built in May 2014, a maglev train prototype who is theoretically capable to reach 2,900 kilometers per hour.
However, this train must travel through a tube, where the air pressure is ten times lower than the atmospheric pressure so that it can move at this speed. The air resistance is significantly reduced same as the energy consumed.
342.5 billion Euros of investment
In Japan, the project is colossal. Trains, lines and tests included, Central Japan Railways company plans to invest itself all of the required amount which is about $ 5,523.6 billion yen ( 42.5 billion Euros ) for the first line between Tokyo (east) and Osaka-Kobe via Nagoya (center).This line will start operating in 2027.
The speed should be up to 500 km/h to cover the distance of 286 kilometers in only 40 minutes. The line, called “Linear Chuo Shinkansen,” will be subsequently extended of 153 miles to Osaka. The total cost of the entire project is estimated at just over 9,000 billion yen (70 billion Euros).
4The Maglev trains around the world
Until this moment, only three commercial lines are using maglev trains:
• The Shanghai Transrapid: A line of 30 km that was opened in January 2004. The trains travel at maximum speed of 431 km/h. The journey takes about 7min20. This is the first commercial maglev train in the world.
• The Aichi High-Speed Transit Tobu Kyuryo Line, Japan: A line of 9 km opened in 2005. The maximum speed is 100 km/h. The journey takes about 17 minutes with an average speed of 31 km/h.
• A long line of 1 km was created in 2008 in South Korea exactly in the Daejeon Exhibition Centre.
Central Japan Railways company hopes to export its Maglev in the USA to build a Washington-New York line with the financial assistance of the Japanese government and the support of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
5Pros and cons of the Maglev
Advantages or Maglev
• During the journey, the train is not in contact with the rails, so passengers undergo little vibration.
•The absence of a motor allows more space allocated to passengers in the train.
• The maglev train has very little chance of derailing.
• The Maglev train can reach almost 500km/h while the TGV does not exceed 300km/h.
• The acceleration of maglev trains is much higher than the acceleration of normal trains.
• The absence of friction between the tires and the rails results in little maintenance which will lead to many savings.
Disadvantages of Maglev
• First major problem is the cost of the train. The high cost is due to two causes: the Incompatibility with the rail network and the price of the installation which consists in a significant number of electromagnets.
• The price of the construction of the Maglev trains is very high because it uses superconductors made from rare metals such as titanium and niobium and it also uses liquid nitrogen.
• These trains are not suitable to transport heavy objects. Indeed, this will require more powerful electromagnets. But the train cannot provide such power.
• A strong magnetic field 2.7 tesla, can be very harmful to humans. It causes dizziness, nausea and many other problems and that is because the body has cells that contain iron, so these cells are disrupted. Apart from that no other effects are known.