4, NOVEMBER 1990
AbstractOne result of specialization in finalyear electrical engi is assumed. The analysis is supported by an experiment,
neering degree courses is that it is sometimes necessary to cover par
and is suitable for a three or fourhour laboratory assign
ticular topics in detail only as short laboratory experiments or in tu
torials. To fully appreciate the theory behind many practical ment.
engineering artifacts, computerbased analysis is required, and in a In the paper, two theories are described to obtain ana
short exposure, care must be taken to avoid loss of physical apprecia lytical solutions which are used to predict the perfor
tion. In this paper a scheme is presented for teaching the principles of mance of a simple Maglev (EDS) arrangement. The first
electrodynamic levitation. The theory, using analytic solutions with
theory, based on Maxwells equations and vector force
suitable approximations, is verified by a laboratory experiment. A
three or fourhour study period with the material will be sufficient to relationships, is for a simplified model allowing for a fi
gain a good appreciation of both levitation theory and the problems of nite thickness track conductor. The second theory is for a
its practical implementation. thin plate track and is a straightforward calculation of the
lift and drag forces for a particular EDS geometry, in
volving solution by onedimensional integral equations.
I. INTRODUCTION
The magnetic flux source travels at constant velocity and
M AGNETIC LEVITATION (Maglev) technology and
linear machine theory have now matured with prac
tical systems applied in several areas of science and en
is derived from a sinusoidallydistributed current sheet
which in practice may be derived from windings or per
manent magnets. Edge and end effects are neglected in
gineering [ 11, [2]. Currently, Maglev transportation sys both cases, which is equivalent to assuming infinite iron
tems are in public service in Europe in Birmingham and above the excitation surface and below the conducting
Berlin, are being tested in Japan, and are under construc plate.
tion in Las Vegas, NV. Of the two principle levitation The simplified theory is illustrated quantitatively by a
schemes, electromagnetic attraction (EMS) and electro laboratory experiment in which a tray of permanent mag
dynamic repulsion (EDS), the latter is inherently more nets is suspended over a rotating conducting plane. Gap
suitable for high speed ground transportation since vehi magnetic field and drag force are measured as functions
cles may be operated at larger levitation heights with flux of velocity. The theoretical approach allows the following
produced by superconducting magnets. aspects to be investigated: the magnetomotive force and
Maglev and linear electrical machine theory has evolved physical dimensions to produce suitable field magnitudes
over a number of years from simple twodimensional layer and measurable forces, the effect of harmonics by prac
analysis of infinite iron topologies, to the present use of tical measurement of field profiles, and the effect of skin
threedimensional magnetostatic finite element computa depth and conducting plate dimensions.
tional software, with transient analyses using timestep
ping techniques [3]. Teaching at University level requires 11. ANALYTICTHEORY
a specialist finalyear or postgraduate course. To provide A. General Analysis
students with a full appreciation of appropriate analytical
The physical arrangement under study consists of a
and design methods, indepth consideration of the various
conducting plate moving parallel to a sinusoidallydistrib
modeling techniques using stateoftheart computer
uted current sheet. Rectangular Cartesian coordinates are
packages must be used. This approach is viable only in a
used with the plate traveling in the positive x direction
long specialized course, for which the necessary software
and the y = 0 plane corresponding to the plate bottom
resources are available.
surface (Fig. 1). The problem is considered in twodi
This paper presents a straightforward analytical ap
mensions only, so the z component of the magnetic field
proach to EDS theory, with emphasis on the physical
and all derivatives with respect to z are zero.
identification of phenomena. The objective is to give a
Maxwells equations
quick appreciation of Maglev principles to students who
are familiar with lowfrequency electromagnetic field the V . B = O (1)
ory, but have a limited amount of time to spend on the
subject. No prior knowledge of Maglev principles as such and
V x B = p0J (2)
Manuscript received January 17, 1989.
The author is with the School of Electrical Engineering, University of with Ohms law
Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, United Kingdom.
IEEE Log Number 9034919. J = aE (3)
@ @ @ @@
I@@
Currentsheet JZJo cos L equations (9) and (IO) give
(A)
t
+4Ezm Conducting plane
B, is obtained from ( 5 ) as
i x(;
i
Fig. 1. Coordinate system for general EDS Maglev theory
B, = BX exp (  a y )
 b sin
[
+ by)].
Physically, a is a decay length function and b is a phase
a cos
(;+by)
a2 = 
1 + b2
h2
F, =
=
au,
B2au,
ss
Bf dV
exp (  2 a y ) sin2 (: + b y ) dx dy dz
and
~

Bav,
2
j: exp (  2 a y ) dy per unit area ( 2 1)
h
where d is the plate thickness.
The skin depth in the plate is Hence
B2
(TU
F, =  X [1  exp ( 2ad)I per unit area. (22)
4a
In terms of Bl , using (1 8), this is
and since
au,B: [ 1  exp (  2 a d ) I .
F, =  (23)
w = UJ, 4aX2(a2+ b 2 )
The lift is evaluated the same way and is
fy = uv,B,By (24)
Introducing a wavelengthskin depth parameter
per unit volume, so
au,B2Xb
F =  [ l  exp (  2 a d ) ] (25)
4a
348 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON EDUCATION, VOL. 33, NO. 4, NOVEMBER 1990
=  WbB:
[ 1  exp (  2 a d ) ] . (26) Wavelength Skin Decay
+
4a!(a2 b 2 ) Speed Skin Depth Depth Length Phase Change
U, Parameter k 6 (Y Function b
b with velocity. Table I gives the low and high speed con
ditions for k and 6 and limiting values for a and b in terms Also, from (16) and using the high velocity limits,
of k, X, and 6. The decay length a is the larger of the IB,I + BAR exp (  a y ) = B , exp (  a y ) . (31)
function k, and the reciprocal of the wavelength ( 1 / A ) .
The phase change function b changes with depth and is a The drag force per unit area is then
nonlinearly increasing function of velocity. B:d
From (18), using the above limiting values of a and b,
F , = 
2LLO A
the field component B, increases with velocity from the
applied field generated by the current sheet at low speeds and the lift force per unit area is
(B). Although the theory predicts an increase without
limit, B1 + B J 2 / 6 , physically this cannot happen and
the maximum is 2B, when the field cannot penetrate the (33)
plate at all. The theory in fact makes simplifying assump
tions about the invariance of the field at the plate surface The maximum drag force, assuming the x component of
( B ) , which in practice are untrue. B, may be calculated the surface field (B,) is constant, may be evaluated by
exactly by considering the sum of the applied and induced substituting for b and U, in terms of X and a, and evalu
fields. ating the differential of F, with respect to the variable a,
using (23). However, because in practice B , will be con
C. Lifl and Drag Forces stant only at low velocities, the determined value using
this equation will be inaccurate. Therefore, evaluation of
Limiting cases for low and high speed operation, with FXmxis best undertaken for specific conditions and ge
both thick and thin plates, compared to the skin depth, ometries. In general, it is found that for thin plates, max
will be considered. In general, B, and By are functions of imum drag occurs when the skin depth is approximately
bothx andy. At low velocities, U, 0, k 0 , a
+ + 1/X,+
equal to the thickness, and for thick plates when the skin
and b +0. Substituting these limits into (8) and (16), and depth is approximately equal to the wavelength. Thus for
setting B, +B, a practical system with an accelerating vehicle, there will
be two critical velocities, and the shape of the drag curve
will vary according to whether the thickness of the plate
is less or greater than the wavelength.
For thin plates, 2 a d << 1, and the drag force per unit 111. QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS
area, using (23), is In order to gain an engineering appreciation of the
physical dimensions of a practical machine and to derive
values for the constants of integration, a quantitative anal
ysis must be made. Fig. 2 shows the variables involved
in the analysis. For convenience, the height coordinate
Similarly, from (26) the lift force per unit area is has been altered to obtain a datum corresponding to the
sheet surface rather than the conducting plane as in Fig.
B2av bd 1.
Fy = 2= 0. (29)
2a2 A. Magnetic Field Produced by Current Sheet
At high velocities, a k/d2, b
+ (  k / d 2 ) , so the
+ The system is represented by a current sheet with si
phase lag increases, and from (18), B, + BXk. Hence, nusoidal conductor density with each conductor carrying
HILL: TEACHING ELECTRODYNAMIC LEVITATION THEORY 349
\I/
I
I
x=o
Xl : P I
I
I
x=n@
Y
portional to the square root of velocity from (13). Fig. 3
shows the plate moving at velocity U, at constant distance
yo below the current sheet. Eddy currents now flow in the
plate due to the changing magnetic field H),,. To calculate
the current density Jpz, it is assumed that the plate is suf
Fig. 2. Magnetic field produced by sinusoidally distributed current sheet. ficiently thin such that Jpz is a function of x only, i.e.,
independent of depth. The current density in the plate will
the same constant dc current. The theory again restricts then be in the form
the magnetic flux variation to two dimensions by extend
ing the current sheet to infinity in the ,z direction, and Jpz = Jo sin (x+)
considering unit conductor length.
The current sheet has conductor distribution
with the phase shift x a function of velocity U , and the
(x) 2a(x1 x )
2a(x1  x )
TI
J,, =  cos (35) Hence
AY
where I is the current in each conductor. a sin [ ( x  x ) / X ]
Hpy =  h. (44)
To calculate the magnetic field at a distance y from the
sheet, consider the contribution at the point P ( x I) from
the increment of current in the sheet at position x . Hence, This integral is evaluated by substitution and expansion
(Appendix B). The result is
6 H =61  =J L 6x 6y
2fr 2ar

TZcos ( x / X ) 6x
2 7 4 y2
The field at P in the x direction is then
+ ( X I  41. (36)
H,, = 2 cosdJ0 t+).
The flux density at P is given by
TZy cos (./A) 6x
6Hx = 6H COS 0 = (37) B, = PoH = PO(ljy0 + Hpy)
2a[y2+ (XI  x)?]
and the electric field by E = v X B , or
so
E, + Hpy).
v,B, = U,/.LO(H~,,
Using E, = JPza,and using (41), (42), and (45),
Hy = 2
?exp (T) @). sin (41) J 
 dJ(u,2 + w) exp
TZU, (7). (49)
350 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON EDUCATION, VOL. 33, NO. 4, NOVEMBER 1990
x=o Force.
[per unit)(
Sheet 0 mm0 0 0 0 8
I I
Jpz = dJ(vz
TZv,
+ w) exp (7)
(7) sin x XI (50) with the result
with
F= s J X BdVp
where dVp is a volume element in the plate ( = d 6x per
(51)
similarity to the characteristics found from the exact anal
ysis, (23) and ( 2 6 ) , for the case of thin plates ( d + 0 ) or
high speed operation ( U , >> w). For high speeds, (54)
and (57) give
unit length in the z direction). The drag force is then kuT1d w
FD
P ah VX
and
per pole per unit conductor length. Using (41) and (50), FL + poaT2Z2d. (59)
The plate surface magnetic field phase change is also
quantifiable with an upper limit of a / 2 for very high speed
operation.
(53) IV . EXPERIMENTAL VERIFICATION
A. Equipment
This integral is evaluated using ((2.5) after expanding the
first sine term, with the substitution U = x/A. The result Simplifying the geometry to two dimensions enables
is some useful theoretical conclusions to be drawn. How
ever, the presence of end and edge effects will preclude
F D =  ~OAKTZ
2 (U:
v,w
+ w) exp (2). (54)
the exact quantitative confirmation of theory by experi
ment. For the design of suitable experimental apparatus,
careful consideration must be given to the relationships
The lift force is between skin depth, current sheet wavelength and ampli
FL  F Y =  1ah
 ah
JpzPoHxd (55)
tude, plate thickness and velocity, and airgap depth.
The test equipment used to illustrate the analysis con
sists of a circular conducting plate, driven at variable ve
per pole per unit conductor length. Using (39) and (50), locity, and with a nonmagnetic tray of cylindrical per
this becomes manent magnets suspended above in an arc (Fig. 5). This
set of permanent magnets produces a flux distribution
similar to that of a sinusoidal current sheet if the magnet
diameter is much greater than the length, For an accurate
* sin (
x (F)
x)
XI cos a!x
calculation of the surrounding field distribution, an inte
gration throughout the magnet interiors is required. How
ever, it can be shown that if the second quadrant demag
HILL: TEACHING ELECTRODYNAMIC LEVITATION THEORY
35 1
I
X
e
:?*
> Hall probe slots
\
Airgap ( Z o ) = l O ,
at 2O intervals 12.5 or 15 mm
Fig. 5 . Experimental equipment schematic.
Permanent
magnets B k$4 H
variation
Current
sheet x xw x x * a x xmxx x 0 
? fix Y
Magnetic
flux densitv I
0:oz
I
0.04
t
0.06
0 081
1 Flg 7 . Expenmental magnetlc flux density distnbutlon.
' 0
Drag Force FD
(per unitl
T
1
Z, = 10mm
12.5
12 5 mm.
mm
 .
Rotation
L 
I 15mm speedW(rev/mln)
1000 2000 3000 4000
Fig. 8. Experimental drag force as function of velocity.
from a magnetizing field of 12 T, at 77 K, with an energy Jpz increases) and a phase shift (as x' increases) with in
product of 1.8 MJ * m3 [4]. The required current density crease of speed. The amplitude attenuation is most easily
and generated field may thus be increased by a factor of seen at x = 0 and 40 mm and the phase shift by comparing
about 45. the standstill curve with the others at B, = 0. The phase
In a real Maglev system, the effect of increasing the shift appears approximately independent of speed for the
field is to increase the airgap at which levitation occurs. range of speeds shown because of the persistent currents
For example, the Japanese MLU002 EDS system has a in the plate, which decay at the same time rate but have
field magnetomotive force of 700 kA and gap of 110 mm larger space constants with increasing velocity.
to levitate a vehicle of mass 17 t at an operating speed of The results also show the presence of harmonics on the

420 km h' using a pole pitch of 2.1 m [5]. fundamental sinusoidal flux profile. There is a flatter flux
The remaining curves of airgap flux on Fig. 7 are for distribution at speed because the plate eddy currents tend
yo = 10 mm and demonstrate the change of eddy current to oppose the rate of change of flux at the edges when the
density near the surface with increasing plate motion. As magnets pass by. At the center, the profile dips because
expected, there is both attenuation of field amplitude (as the flat profile does not give rise to rapid flux changes.
HILL: TEACHING ELECTRODYNAMIC LEVITATION THEORY
353
w=
2
WOd
 14.1 m s 700 r/min. H, = 
TI exp
2
(T) 6). cos (39)
The experimental result shows the drag force to be a max APPENDIXB: PLATEFIELD DUE TO PLATEEDDY
imum at about 1300 r/min, independent of airgap. Al CURRENT
though this velocity differs by a factor of two from theory,
it is considered reasonable due to the inaccuracies detailed
previously, such as assuming a thin plate and ignoring
edge and end effects. Since the skin depth is equal to the
plate thickness at a velocity of
Hpy = 
2~
dJo s O1
m
sin [(x  x)/h]
x) (XI
dr. (44)
d ~ Jm
, sin [U + (xI  x)/h]
Hpy =  du (Bl)
21i m U
H, = 
27r
Sm
OD [y
Y Os
+ (XI  x)]
&. (38)
354 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON EDUCATION, VOL. 33, NO. 4, NOVEMBER 1990
cos (C5)
J(U?
Jnw
+ w) = v x p o a
TI exp
2
(F)  Jod
WJ(U2 + w)
R. John Hill received the B.Eng. degree in 1969
and the Ph.D. degree in 1973 from the University
of Liverpool, UK.
He then joined the Signal Engineering Depart
ment of London Underground Railways, where he
was involved in the design and development of
automatic train control systems. In 1981, he be
came Lecturer in Engineering at Cambridge Uni
versity and Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge,
UK, and in 1986, he was appointed Lecturer at
the School of Electrical Engineering, University
of Bath, UK. His present research covers rail transportation traction, sig
ACKNOWLEDGMENT nalling, electrification, control and communication systems. He has pub
The author would like to acknowledge his former col lished approximately 45 conference and transactions papers on power elec
tronics, drives and railway system modeling.
leagues at Cambridge University, UK, notably Dr. P. P. Dr. Hill i s a member of the IEE (Britain) and Institute of Physics (Brit
Acarnley, Dr. A. Campbell, and Dr. P. G. McLaren, for ain).