Quantum locking levitation - the future of transportation?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by daiquiri, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
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    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Perhaps boats and ships will become history sooner than we would expect...
    An amazing video about quantum locking levitation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ws6AAhTw7RA

    I was unable to find a theoretical explanation of this stuff. So if someone has a link to share, it will be appreciated. The main things I'd like to learn are:
    1) what is the temperature necessary to obtain this effect
    2) what is the external force necessary to change the position of that disc? Evidently it has to be bigger that it's own weight, or otherwise it wouldn't stand still above the magnets.​


    Found these pages which mention this possibility, the Meissner Effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meissner_effect
    and the one about topological insulators: http://physics.about.com/b/2011/01/08/quantumlev2.htm
    Which one is involved in what we see in that video?
  2. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    marshmat Senior Member

    At a cursory glance, it looks like a Meissner effect demonstration, most likely with a neodymium magnet in either the levitating disc or the base, and a high-temperature superconductor, probably yttrium barium copper oxide or similar, in the other component.

    They're great for getting kids hooked on physics. They're also fun to play with in a lab. The operating temperature is around 77 kelvin and can be maintained with liquid nitrogen. Using it for transportation would be tricky: One half of the system is a magnet that, enlarged to car size, could squish you to a pulp if you drove too close to anything made of steel; the other half of the system is cold enough to liquefy air. You tell me which half you'd rather install an inch under the road.

    Same video, plus a second one explaining the effect:
  3. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    philSweet Senior Member

    Another video by the same bunch with some more details.


    If I'm not mistaken, this is the same reason mayonnaise behaves the way it does. Thixotropy and pseudoplasticity are bulk effects, but the individual effect is kept very small and short range unless superconductors are used. The samples have to be extremely precise with regards to thickness and doping, and three inch monocrystaline saphires take time to grow. My hiking partner got his Phd studying high temp superconductors at Oak Ridge.
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