Marc T. Thompson and Anthony Kondoleon

"Test Results from a Large Scale, High Speed EDS Maglev Wheel Test Facility"

Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Magnetic Suspension Technology
NASA Conference Publication, 1997


The Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, for the past few years, have been testing an innovative Electrodynamic Suspension (EDS) system for Maglev applications on their large scale, high speed wheel test facility. Magnetically-levitated high-speed ground transportation technology is a potential solution to increasing highway and air corridor congestion. The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1992 (ISTEA) mandated the development of a prototype Maglev demonstration system. In 1993, a team of MIT, Draper, Bechtel, Hughes Electronics, and General Motors completed one of four System Concept Definition studies of Maglev systems in the National Maglev Initiative (NMI). This team concept was based on Electrodynamic Levitation and Guidance (EDS) using superconducting magnets and a special arrangement of electrical conductors on the guideway.

The magnetic suspension system was the most important, but least understood part of proposed EDS Maglev systems. Thorough understanding of such systems, with verified analytical design techniques, were essential to formulating improved designs for successful full scale systems. Since the original NMI study, a new "flux-canceling" Maglev geometry has been developed, and the test fixture described in this paper experimentally confirms the predictions and models derived in the course of this study. New design and analytic techniques for Maglev guideway structures have been developed. The test wheel has been successfully run at speeds simulating that of a full-scale Maglev system and resultant data has been taken at speeds significantly higher than the Maglev drag peak

A full listing of Dr. Thompson's Maglev-related publications is given here.

Contact Information:

Marc T. Thompson, Ph.D.
Engineering Consultant
Adjunct Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering
25 Commonwealth Road, Watertown MA  02472
Phone: (617) 923-1392
Business website: 

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Last modified: July 20, 1998