5G50.50 Superconducting Train
Induction, superconductivity, magnetic fields from currents
A pair of superconducting slugs embedded in a styrofoam train will float above a magnetic track when the slugs are cooled to the boiling point of liquid nitrogen. The train moves around the track with only air friction slowing it down.
-  Superconducting train
-  Magnetic track
-  Small dewar of liquid nitrogen
-  Styrofoam cup
-  Aluminum plate
-  Sheet of paper
-  Safety goggles
-  Safety glove
- Place the track somewhere visible and away from ferromagnetic objects.
- Put the aluminum plate on the magnetic track.
- Put the superconducting train on top of the plate.
- Liquid nitrogen can cause frostbite, blindness, and asphixiation. Handle with care in well-ventilated areas.
- Cooling the train at a slightly elevated position is essential.
- These magnets may demagnetize credit cards.
- The heavy barium metal in the superconductor likely makes it poisonous. Wash your hands afterwards.
- Put on your safety goggles and gloves.
- Pour some liquid nitrogen from the dewar to the cup.
- Use the styrofoam cup to cool the superconductors with liquid nitrogen until rapid boiling in the train stops.
- Top up the liquid nitrogen level in the train.
- Give the train a gentle tap to make it go around the track.
- Remove the aluminum plate.
- Place a sheet of paper underneath the train to show it is floating on the track.
- PIRA 5G50.50
- Don't attempt this at home!
- The superconducting material is probably an yttrium barium copper oxide, or YBCO.
- Eddy current tubes
- Eddy current ramps
If you have any questions about the demos or notes you would like to add to this page, contact Ricky Chu at ricky_chu AT sfu DOT ca.