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Rising Force: The Magic of Magnetic Levitation

Rising Force: The Magic of Magnetic Levitation

by James D. LivingstonJames D. Livingston
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From Peter Pan to Harry Potter, from David Copperfield to levitating toys, there is magic in conquering gravity. In this first-ever popular introduction to "maglev"-- the use of magnetic forces to overcome gravity and friction--James D. Livingston takes lay readers on a journey of discovery, from basic concepts to today's most thrilling applications.

The tour begins with examples of our historical fascination with levitation, both real and fake. At the next stop, Livingston introduces readers to the components of maglev: gravitational and magnetic forces in the universe, force fields, diamagnetism and stabilization, superdiamagnetism and supercurrents, maglev nanotechnology, and more. He explores the development of the superconductors that are making large-scale levitation devices possible, and the use of magnetic bearings in products ranging from implanted blood pumps to wind turbines, integrated circuit fabrication, and centrifuges to enrich uranium. In the last chapters, we arrive at the science behind maglev transportation systems, such as Chinese trains that travel 250 miles per hour without touching the tracks.

Packed with fascinating anecdotes about the colorful personalities who have "fought friction by fighting gravity," the book maintains accuracy throughout while it entertains and informs technical and nontechnical readers alike. With so many new applications for magnetic levitation on the horizon, Rising Force is sure to retain its own magic for years to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674055353
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 05/30/2011
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 639,988
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

James D. Livingston is a former physicist at General Electric and lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Levity vs. Gravity 1

Fictional and Illusional Levitation 1

Wingardium Leviosa! 9

Mystical Levitation 10

Physical Levitation without Magnets 13

2 Gravitational and Magnetic Forces 19

Forces of the Universe 19

Magnetic Forces 23

Magnetic Materials 29

3 Maglev-A Balance of Forces 33

Poles Apart 33

Force at a Distance 36

The Floating Island of Laputa 38

Stability and Degrees of Freedom 42

4 Spinning the Levitron 48

Only a Toy 48

Toy Story 50

The Super 56

5 Inducing Uplift 64

Mutual Induction 64

Flinging Rings and Things 72

Eddy-Current Heating and Levitation Melting 78

Fields of Force 80

6 Flying Frogs 83

The Ig Nobel Prize 83

Diamagnetism and the Moses Effect 85

Diamagnetic Levitation and Stabilization 89

Froglev 95

7 Super-Levitation 101

Superdiamagnetism and Supercurrents 101

Higher Fields 107

Higher Temperatures 111

8 Feeding Back 120

Brief Recap 120

Floating Globes 121

Floatin' in the Wind 131

Snowball in Hell 135

Microbots and Pigs 139

9 In a Spin 143

Bearing Up 143

Enriching and Proliferating 146

A Few Words about Energy 151

Flying Wheels 154

Pumping Blood 158

Floating Rotors 162

10 The No-Spin Zone 167

Flying Broomsticks 167

Flotors and the Maglev Touch 169

Maglev Nanotechnology 174

Sub-Nano: Angstroms and Atoms 180

Maglev Rocket Sleds 183

11 Flying Trains 188

Emile Bachelet 188

Kemper and Electromagnetic Levitation (EML) 194

Powell/Danby and Electrodynamic Levitation (EDL) 200

The Competition 204

12 All Aboard! 210

Urban Maglev 210

Permanent-Magnet Maglev 214

Transrapid Trials-and Tribulations 217

Sin Express to Vegas 224

Maglev Deployment Program and ARRA 227

13 Keeping It Up 231

Up with Magnets! 231

Magnetic Personalities 237

Ben Franklin's Vision: Levity over Gravity 240

Sources and Suggested Readings 249

Acknowledgments 259

Index 263

What People are Saying About This

Fred Fickett

This book is an extensive compendium of everything you might want to know about levitation of things both animate and inanimate. James Livingston is a master of this genre in that he presents quite difficult concepts with humor, history, and detail while always maintaining technical accuracy.
Fred Fickett, Chief, NIST Magnetic Technology Division (Ret.)

Ralph Hollis

A well-written, factual account of magnetic levitation and accompanying lore over the ages, Rising Force is a welcome addition to Livingston's previous books on magnetics.
Ralph Hollis, Research Professor, The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

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