By Dong Yi, Yang Xiao, Yang Zhao
China already possesses the world’s largest high-speed railway network, and it will only expand more ambitiously, according to the country’s new Five-Year Plan. But it’s not just the railroads that are extending. China may also get a major boost in the speed of its bullet trains. A prototype maglev train recently unveiled at Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, Sichuan Province aims to set a new speed record for trains – the current record of 603 kilometers per hour is held by Japan’s SCMaglev. China’s answer to it is 620.
This maglev train deploys what’s known as “high-temperature superconductive” technology, or HTS. It takes advantage of two unique properties of high-temperature superconductors: the “Meissner effect” which allows a superconductor to completely repel the magnetic fields around it to achieve levitation, and “flux pinning,” which keeps the superconductor steady above its magnetic tracks, so it never falls off.
Unlike China’s existing high-speed railway technology and the country’s most iconic maglev line in Shanghai – both technologies which are largely imported, China’s new HTS maglev is 100 percent developed by its own top scientists. It took over 20 years for this technology to emerge from a university lab to become a real prototype.Continue reading… “Tech It Out: What is the future of high-speed maglev?”