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Physics/Magnetic levitation used to reduce wheeled vehicle ground pressure


Hello, and thanks for being willing to answer questions.

I have been studying several weight classes of potential future armored vehicles, and it occurred to me how very often one hears:

"It is impossible to build an armored vehicle, wether it be wheeled or tracked, of greater than [value X] in its all-up loaded weight. Otherwise, the ground pressure will be much too high and the surface under the tank will subside and collapse, rendering the tank immobile and virtually useless."

I have read that this was why the Nazi tank known as Maus was only on the extreme margin of practicality, and why the Nazi tank known as Ratte was never even built.

Now I wonder wether someday it might be be practical to use a magnetic levitation system built into the lower chassis of an armored vehicle -- analogous to the trackbed for a maglev train -- and then have permanent magnets beneath the turret of the tank, holding the turret a tiny distance from the remainder of the chassis, then dynamically self-correcting even while the chassis beneath was moving on its conventional wheels or tracks? Might this also help with recoil mitigation?

I am sorry for the unusual question, and thanks once again for your time.

Basically the force on the ground will not be reduced (ala Newton's laws).  So you still have the same fundamental problem of weight on the ground supporting the tank.  "levitation" still requires something to levitate from, unless you're Harry Potter.  


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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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