SEP 06, 2018 11:13 AM PDT

Superconducting Levitation "Roller Coaster"

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

You probably have seen this a thousand times: a liquid nitrogen-chilled, superconducting puck levitates over a large magnet or zooms back and forth on a magnetized track. However, if you flip the position of the magnet and the superconductor, will the puck drop to the floor?

In a demo project shown in the video, a levitating superconductor can be seen traveling seamlessly on a 3π Möbius track (a Möbius strip is a surface with only one side and one boundary) that is made with thousands of pieces of magnets. Despite the drastic twist-and-turn, even 180-degree rotation of track, the traveling momentum of the superconducting puck was not affected at all. What's special about this demo "roller coaster" is that the superconductor generates a magnetic field that is constantly changing as it moves. The gravitational pull on the puck creates an electric current that resists the change of its motion, which allows the puck to either hover on top of the track or "hang gliding" underneath it.   

Source: The Royal Institution via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
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