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Name: A. J.
Status: student
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2001-2002


Question:
A friend and I are doing a science experiment on levitation. We are trying to build a small levitating machine for class. I have read that it can be done using electro magnetism or using superconductor. Is this true? Where can we find instructions on how to build it? How long does the levitation last? Is it minutes, hours, days, years, etc.?


Replies:
I believe that this demonstration is available from Edmund's Scientific Inc. You can find their Web site on the Internet.

Vince Calder


Hi, A. J. !!

A class of materials named superconductors block the passage of a magnetic field. Just suppose you have a magnetic field and - over it - a superconductor. As the superconductor does not accept the magnetic field, the superconductor will be repealed and "fluctuates" in the air, or "levitates". And this last forever, assuming that these conditions maintain.

I am not sure about the process it is used to get the superconductor, but I believe it is used liquid nitrogen or - better - liquid helium (-270 C).

Sorry, but I am not in conditions to give you tips on how to build it !!! Look for information about this on :

http://www.webcom.com/cfsc/scpart1.html

Here you will find instructions on how to produce and use a ceramic high temperature superconductor based on Ytrium-Barium-Copper-Oxyde or also :

http://www.chemsoc.org/exemplarchem/entries/igrant/making_noflash.html

Regards

Alcir Grohmann


Levitation can be done with electromagnets, permanent magnets or superconductors. One has to generate a magnetic field such that the poles are similar, ie; N-N or S-S. A superconductor is ideal since it mirrors the magnetic field of anything that it "feels".

I am not familiar with any instruction booklet on the construction of a levitating device, however several years ago many of the scientific supply houses sold superconductors and magnets which provided a nice levitation experiment. One required liquid nitrogen so that the superconducting material would actually be in a superconducting state.

How long does levitation last? As long as you want, if you provide the energy in the form of current to the electromagnets or liquid nitrogen to the superconducting material, then the levitating device can last forever.

Dr. Harold Myron



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