21st July, 2021 Science and Technology
- China has unveiled a high-speed maglev train with a designed top speed of 600 kms per hour.
- As per Chinese official, it is stated to be the world’s fastest ground vehicle.
- Maglev, also called magnetic levitation train or maglev train, is a floating vehicle for land transportation that is supported by either electromagnetic attraction or repulsion.
- Maglevs incorporate a basic fact about magnetic forces—like magnetic poles repel each other, and opposite magnetic poles attract each other—to lift, propel, and guide a vehicle over a track (or guideway).
- Maglev propulsion and levitation may involve the use of superconducting materials, electromagnets, diamagnets, and rare-earth magnets.
- Because of magnetic levitation technology, the trains are capable of running about 10 cm above the ground.
- Maglev system has no wheels, axles, transmissions, and overhead wires.
- At present maglev technology has produced trains that can travel in excess of 500 km (310 miles) per hour.
Pros and Cons of Maglev Trains
- Extremely fast speed upto 500 km/hr.
- Really quiet operation.
- MagLev uses less energy upto 30% than normal trains.
- Due to lack of physical contact between train and track, very efficient for maintenance.
- Moving parts are missing. Hence, wear and tear of parts is minimal, and that reduces the maintenance cost by a significant extent.
- Environment friendly, as they don’t resort to internal combustion engines.
- Weather proof, which means rain, snow, or severe cold don’t really hamper their performance.
- These trains are a lot safe than their conventional counterparts as they are equipped with state-of-the-art safety systems, which can keep things in control even when the train is cruising at a high speed.
- Expensive tracks compared to the railroad tracks.
- Not compatible with railroad track, and therefore require whole thing to be rebuilt for their entire route.
- High cost incurred on the initial setup.
- Maglev trains are seen as relatively safe. But because of their detached nature, any accidents that could occur on a maglev train could be significantly more severe. The train does not attach to the tracks, so it doesn’t have anything to hold on to should there be a malfunction.
India and Maglev Trains
- BHEL in 2020 entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SwissRapide AG for Maglev Train projects in India.
- This will expand India’s footprint in the urban transportation sector.