The design and analysis of a 1/5-scale model high-temperature superconducting (HTSC) magnet test facility for electrodynamic suspensions (EDS) Maglev is discussed. Although the science of low-temperature superconducting magnets is well developed, high-temperature superconductors present unique electrical and mechanical design challenges for magnetic suspensions. The design, analysis, and test of a scale-model magnetic suspension suitable for electrodynamic suspensions is the topic of this thesis. The test fixture allows low-friction motion of the levitating magnets, simulating the vertical movement of a Maglev train under external disturbances.

A new low-cost, multiple-loop guideway has been built and tested, and resultant lift, drag, and guidance forces have been measured at operating speeds approaching that of an actual high-speed train. These results are compared to predictions based on simple circuit models with good results. Scaling laws have been derived and the circuit models have been used to size a full-scale system.

The test fixture has also been used to validate the concept of lift generation at zero velocity by AC excitation of the main magnet coils. Scaling laws have been applied and predictions made for a full-scale HTSC suspension. Further work in this area may help overcome one of the fundamental limitations of EDS Maglev --- zero levitation force at zero train velocity, requiring a mechanical suspension for slow speeds.

A novel magnetic secondary suspension has been designed and tested, where vertical position has been monitored and damped in operating conditions that mimic actual Maglev train operating conditions. Results from these tests show that it may be possible to design an active secondary magnetic suspension based on high temperature superconductors, thereby removing the cost and additional complexity of a mechanical secondary suspension from the Maglev train design.

Thesis Supervisor: Professor Richard D. Thornton, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems

Thesis Committee: Dr. Yukikazu Iwasa, Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory and Professor Steven Leeb, Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems

Research supported by:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Transportation Studies
  • Charles Stark Draper Laboratory
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railway Administration
  • Intermagnetics General Corp.

Contact Information:

Contact Information:

Marc T. Thompson, Ph.D.
Thompson Consulting, Inc.

9 Jacob Gates Road  Harvard, MA  01451
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Email: marctt@thompsonrd.com
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