China unveiled a futuristic maglev train that has a top speed of 620 km per hour. The researchers at China’s Jiaotong University released a 69-feet-long prototype for a maglev train that will run on a 165-meter test track. Initially, the creators of the train claimed a jaw-dropping top speed of 800km/h but now they claim the train will run at a top speed of 620 km/h. Maglev is short for “magnetic levitation.”
The New Maglev Train
The new maglev train is created by researchers at the Southwest Jiaotong University. The train makes use of a high temperature superconducting (HTS) maglev technology. This tech makes the train faster and lighter compared to the other trains.
The Southwest Jiaotong university in its statement said that, “Superconductivity occurs where electrical resistance approaches zero when cooled to a very low temperature. The superconducting state would be key to support faster and more efficient maglev vehicles.”
Not only does this new train run without any wheels, but it is also designed to be run without a driver on board. The train is completely driverless and will also stabilize on its own. If one sees the overall design of the train, it can be easily observed that the train is designed keeping the laws of aerodynamics in mind.
The train is supposed to run at 385 mph (620 kmph). To put this into perspective, a journey between Delhi and Amritsar which is approximately 450 km, can be completed in less than 45 minutes. As of today, it takes close to 12 hours if one takes a bus ride between the two places.
Superfast! A domestically developed maglev train prototype has been unveiled in Chengdu, China. The superconductor technology the train employs could make it faster and lighter than its peers pic.twitter.com/51waWPX66E
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) January 16, 2021
The new maglev train will connect using a rail link between Chengdu and Chongqing in the Sichuan province in China. However, the train will take a long time to be fully operational. The developers of the new train are hoping to make the train fully operational by the next 3-10 years.
What is maglev technology?
The maglev trains are trains that run on Magnetic Levitation. Maglev trains are similar to the concept of bullet trains popularized by Japan in the last century. Contrary to the traditional engine propelled trains that have wheel-on-steel, maglev trains are suspended in the air and propelled forward by the magnets. The trains are known to float approximately 5 inches above the magnetic guideway. This creates a zero-friction moving experience for the train and the passengers.
Thanks to no friction approach, high speeds are also achieved without the burden of vibration and noise. And since there are no traditional engines in these trains, they don’t play part in releasing active emissions.
The magnets on the maglev guideways not only help the train to hover above the ground but also help to propel it forward. The developers of maglev trains leverage on the simple law of magnetism which states that opposites attract. The developers of these trains use this law to push and pull the train in one particular direction.
China has been a pioneer in adapting the magnetic levitation tech for their trains since the past decade. With the new train developed by the Chinese research team, the world has a new super-fast train to take inspiration from.