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Physics/Maglev Train


In order to make a maglev train, for a science fair project, do you have to use liquid nitrogen and a superconductor? My track is made of magnets and all, but do I have to use liquid nitrogen and a superconductor for my "train"?

Not at all, you can use various arrangements of permanent magnets or magnetic coil designs. There are examples on the wikipedia page alone:  But you're building something that's really complex for a science fair project.  Even small-scale maglev tracks require a lot of magnetic coils and either superconductors or a other coils.  There are some that are really stable but have to get up to speed before they levitate magnetically.  They don't require superconductors, but they still require permanent magnets in large supply or a lot of coils and a power supply.  What grade level is this for?  Unless you're a very determined upper-level high school student, a maglev train would take at least a year to build and a lot of help from experienced people if you were to hope to do the construction of it yourself.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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