By Mark Frauenfelder at 12:43 pm Fri, Jun 26, 2009
Fun video of a toy train that floats about the track using a liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductor. (Via Evil Mad Scientists)
Thank you, BB, for showing me one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.
PS: Science is badass.
Look Around You!
That is pretty awesome. But I think the Blue Comet may still beat it.
After they flipped the track over all I could think is how close this technology is to producing F-Zero cars.
And still people say that a Maglev connection from LA to SF is unfeasible.
This is so…cool!
Thank you for showing me the awesomest thing ever! And, yes, I thought of ‘Look around you’ (search for it on youtube, you will love it) too…
“And still people say that a Maglev connection from LA to SF is unfeasible.”
Ha ha.. yeah.. a frictionless douche exchange system.
I live in SF, so I can say that. .. :)
Tall, open topped, container of liquid nitrogen.
No gloves or protective clothing.
Clowning around above said container, knocking it over and freezing off your own testicles…. priceless.
I really hope youre just laying it thick for troll-fun =P Its not IMPOSSIBLE… but still unfeasible in the sense its unreasonable.
Ive done this in the lab before with liquid nitrogen and a lil cube. We’ve yet to engineer a material that could reach a superconductor state at a high enough temperature for it to be economically reasonable for use. It’ll be ages, so until then, so dont think about it yet.
though TBH when i hear of that proposed project i think they mean a regular maglev train, not a superconductor based mag lev train =]
^ Large containers of cryogenic liquids NEED to be open topped, if you seal them, expect a violent explosion soon. You really don’t need any protective equipment when dealing with small quantities of LN2 like this. If you’ve ever worked with it, you know that it’s SAFER to deal with these small quantities without any PPE at all, just roll your sleeves up. The cryo-gloves typically provided for working with stuff like this are often (bafflingly) highly absorbent and when you spill the LN2 on them, it soaks in immediately and is kept close to the skin, potentially burning you if you can’t fling the glove off in time. You’re better off just relying on the leidenfrost effect for protection. You have roughly 2-3 seconds of hairless skin contact with the liquid before burning becomes an issue, 5-6 seconds before severe deep burns are a risk, less time if the liquid is in contact with hair. If you’re touching objects that have been cooled by the LN2, especially metal or glass, that’s a different story and obviously you need gloves for that (goggles too, if you’re cooling glass). LN2 is much less dangerous than people commonly believe.
Ive done this in the lab before with liquid nitrogen and a lil cube. We’ve yet to engineer a material that could reach a superconductor state at a high enough temperature for it to be economically reasonable for use. It’ll be ages, so until then, so dont think about it yet
Liquid nitrogen’s cheap and the Japanese have a test track up and running and are gonna build a commercial line by 2025.
Just thirding (fourthing?) the Look Around You comparison. I kept expecting some surreal truth claim to be made – “magnetic levitation using superconductors is often used in applications like Michael Jackson’s moonwalking and long distance kitten posting. The levitation effect can be enhanced by introducing lions’ tears. This farm in Wolhamstoneshire farms lions commercially for the maglev industry. Note that down in your copybooks now.”
Look around you! Look AROUND you! Have you noticed what we’re looking at yet? That’s right, it’s Germans.
#10, yeah I was being sarky. It’s so funny when people say “$10bn for 800miles of regular train? The Chinese have a 5mile test track! Why can’t we do that instead?”
Nice to see my research institute here at boing boing. Greetings from Dresden, Germany. The model train is on public display at serveral occasion through the year (open door day, long night of science…). You are welcome to look at it and play with it. We even have a bigger that you can ride.
Submit a tip
The rules you agree to by using this website.
Who will be eaten first?
Jason Weisberger, Publisher
Ken Snider, Sysadmin