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A magnet and a solenoid can be used to generate electric current.

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Floating Trains?

Magnets, Trains, Oh My!

Credit: FuFu Wolf
Source: http://flic.kr/p/bdnrBT
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The iconic bullet train in Japan [Figure1]

The future of the train is already here.  Look no further than to countries such as Malaysia, China, and Japan which have trains for people who need to travel several hundreds of miles to work.  Top speeds can peak as high as 500 km/h, reducing the need for a cross-country airplane trip.  Soon there will be no need to get stuck in traffic on the way to work, since bullet trains will take you there just fine.

Creative Applications

  1. Why doesn’t the train ever have to touch the track?  Explain using the concept of electromagnetism.
  2. Why do you think maglev trains are safer than regular trains?

  3. Is it truly possible for the maglevs to be completely frictionless in real life?  Why or why not?
  4. Will high speed trains be softer or noisier than regular trains?  Explain.



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  1. [1]^ Credit: FuFu Wolf; Source: http://flic.kr/p/bdnrBT; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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