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Without rails nor wheels

Magnetic Levitation

Prototype of the train at the laboratories of the UFRJ

coppePrototype of the train at the laboratories of the UFRJcoppe

Without the need of railroad tracks or wheels, a Brazilian-made magnetic levitation train will run for a 100-meter stretch during the testing phase on the Ilha do Fundão campus of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro/UFRJ. Named “Maglev-Cobra,” design on the vehicle began in 1998 by researchers from the Laboratório de Aplicações de Supercondutores laboratory of the Coordenação dos Programas de Pós-graduação de Engenharia/Coppe post-graduate programs center, in partnership with the UFRJ’s Polytechnic School and Institute of Physics.  The vehicle runs on a technology based on the formation of a magnetic field of repulsion between the tracks and levitation modules, made of superconducting chips comprised of ittrium, barium and copper. To create this field that makes the train levitate, the researchers cool the superconductors to a temperature of minus 196ºC, using liquid nitrogen. Coordinated by professor Richard Stephan, from Coppe, the R$ 4 million project is funded by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Rio de Janeiro/Faperj research funding agency.