Uses of Electricity & Magnetism in further transportation

Society has transformed to a more better and advanced form and transportation is no different as it has come a long way since the past century. The technological innovations in various ways had promised to take transportation to a next higher level. Since the invention of the motor vehicle we have never looked back when it comes to creating innovative new designs and creating more efficient automobiles. Automobiles have been using the concepts of magnetism and electricity on various scales.

Fossil fuels have been playing an important role in running of various kinds of automobiles since the past. The disadvantage of using them is emission of harmful gases during the combustion of fossil fuels inside the vehicle. This has led the research department of automobile manufacturers globally to consider the other methods to overcome this effect on environment. Therefore, the future of transportation aims at reducing the emissions and the amount of people in individual vehicles. Energy experts and historians of energy agreed to build ultra-capacitors to replace lead-acid batteries which are heavier and have one tenth of energy density than ultra-capacitors. Another surprising development is permanent magnet powered motors. By electrifying the transportation, there would be less impact on the environment. Research has indicated that the role of technology is meant to increase day by day when it comes to transportation systems and its impact on the environment (Chapman, 2007). This is because more and more people are going to travel and use different forms of transportation which, if not managed properly for environment safety, would create wastes that are extremely dangerous for the environment. Technology can well be called a cause of pollution but it can also be used as a tool to decrease pollution in the environment. The use of renewable energy and other means of energy that has less environmental implications is must in the future for transportation purposes.

Electric trains are used around the world mostly for transportation of people instead of goods. Their electric motors are powered from a receiver that remains in contact with a wire supplying the electricity that runs parallel with the train. Electric trains are more efficient, cheaper to run, and they can accelerate much faster than their previous predecessors. Another possible future power source for cars and many other things is fuel cells. Fuel cells produce electricity from chemical reactions like a battery. A battery uses chemicals stored inside it, but a fuel cell has an external fuel supply. It can produce a lot of power quickly, just like a car engine but it is much more sufficient.

One promising application of electromagnetic technology is its use in MAGLEV trains, also known as magnetic levitation trains. The concept is to utilize the principles of electromagnetism by levitating and propelling a train along specially designed tracks (Funk & Getsla, 2005). These use the concept of “magnetic levitation” instead of running on wheels. The main force that is required to run a train and other transportation means is to overcome the friction that exists the medium the transportation is carried out and the wheels of the train or vehicles. Magnetic levitation eliminate the friction between the train cars and track. The trains will be accelerated and slowed down by “a travelling magnetic field” instead of motors or any other propulsion devices. In order to supply such a large magnetic affect, “constant electrical energy” is needed. Maglev trains have already become a reality with a highest recorded speed of up to 603 km/h according to Wikipedia. This speed is a lot more than the conventional trains and other transportation means. With less energy consumption and great output, the price to travel these trains would come down with time. Thought this may require a huge amount of initial financial investment on these trains. They could even replace air travel if cities far away can be connected through these trains.

The start of superconductivity in 1960s made it possible for electromagnets of extremely strong force. Superconductivity is the use of extremely low temperatures, which help the transfer of electrical currents through a conducting material with virtually no resistance. Researches began building magnetic levitation train prototypes using superconducting coils with strong currents to create a powerful magnetic field. The electric field in turn created a repulsive force capable of lifting a train several inches above a railroad track. Electrical currents were sent through guide way coils on the track which then allowed for enormous propulsive forces, which would then begin to push the trains forward at speeds up to and beyond 250 MPH.

Another type of train system, “high speed string rail”, is much cheaper and more effective than other methods. This uses steel or concrete rails which are positioned high above the ground by support towers. The rails are reinforced by hundreds of high-tension wires running through the middle of the rails. Also since the train will be up off the ground it will be much cheaper to produce this form of transportation because the train can easily be made to go over tough terrain, mountains, or water. The train cars will be small cars that are extremely aerodynamic, and the cars will be propelled by small electric motors that will easily push the car over 220mph. With the use of the small motors and ultra-efficient track that will be supported on towers the “high speed string rail” will hopefully become a major form of travel around the world.

Another most exciting innovation which has been evolving is a Hyperloop train. Alternatively known as vac-train has been proposed by a man named Elon Musk after reviving an old science fiction idea. It would carry passenger in a tube like car inside a vacuum-sealed pipeline elevated off the ground. The train would travel at the speed of 1200kph which got its power to push from the combination of magnetic levitation and the use of solar power. To create the levitation, if magnets were used instead of wheels, the speed would hike to 1600kph. The train will be propelled by linear induction motor. The first Hyperloop may be built between San Francisco and Los Angeles as a starter and as proposed by Elon Musk (Brown & Duguid, 2017). . Apart from this idea, Elon Musk is also the founder of Tesla motor which are fully electric cars that are already in the market in the US and used by many people. They are among the most environment friendly cars in the world.

Magnetic poles of like direction (either both north, north-north or both south, south-south) repel one another so that it is possible to keep one magnet suspended in the air over another magnet. Actually it is impossible to produce these results with simple bar magnets, because their magnetic force is too small; but an electromagnet can create a magnetic field powerful enough that, if used properly, it exerts enough repulsive force to lift extremely heavy objects. Specifically, if one could activate train tracks with a strong electromagnetic field, it might be possible to levitate and lift an entire train. If they could get this to happen, in turn it would make it possible for a form of transport that could move large numbers of people in relative comfort. This would decrease the environmental impact of automobiles, and it would do so at much higher speeds than a car could safely get to.

Solar-powered airplanes, electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, “Super buses” are the comeback of the rail system in countries with severe traffic problems. Super buses are buses that can travel over the highway in major cities. This will allow cars to still pass underneath them, which will decrease the amount of vehicles on the roadways therefore decreasing the amount of pollution emitted from each individual vehicle. Unfortunately a project started by China for super busses that could travel over the roads in busy cities have not achieved the desired and expected results but future is bright for such ideas.

In case of repair to an electric vehicle, a man with conventional automobile mechanics knowledge would not be enough. An electrician would be required for many problems that the electric vehicle may face as the batteries in the motor run with the electric power. Hence, there will be a shift in traditional mechanic demand as an electric vehicle replaces a traditional gas burning automobile. Automobile companies have been putting efforts to automate their vehicles and connect them with mobile and computer application software. This is really helpful in pin-pointing what exact problem might a vehicle have if it has problems in its functionalities. It also helps the mechanics of electric cars resolve vehicle issues efficiently. Another point to be noted with electric vehicle is that they are not as fast as conventional vehicle. Lastly, these are not so good with respect to recharging the batteries than filling up the car with fuel. However this aspects may be solved gradually in the near future. Lithium-ion battery is looked at as one solution. They have been tested in some of the electric cars like Tesla Roadster, LMO and Nissan NEC JV but these experiments have not had 100% success due to the complexity of the energy storage in Lithium-ion batteries (Lu, Han, Hua & Ouyang, 2013).

Day by day, we are not only interested in knowing the method of reaching our destination, but also how efficiently and how faster we reach. Many technologies are evolving to make such concerns possible. Various researches have been conducted globally by various emerging manufacturers to implement them the day to day usage vehicles by keeping the cost lower. Electricity and magnetism are two things that can greatly impact the future means of travel. Due to some drawbacks with vehicles run only on electric power, hybrid vehicles which use electricity party are manufactured. Nevertheless, time is not too far for the fully electric vehicles to pave their way after these hybrid vehicles and also they will be with ultra-efficient batteries to increase their driving range much farther than the electric cars in today’s standards. There will also be thousands of recharge places for the vehicles around the world to make it easier to charge the electric car. Some vehicles would also run off solar power to propel their electric motors.

Train travel may not be real big in America, but in other countries it is the formal way of getting around. In the future, trains will use electricity and magnetism in new ways that nobody has ever imagined of. The “String Rail” will become a great method of travel only using electricity to its motors to transport people over 200 miles an hour across some of the roughest terrain at a lower cost. Other electric trains will be able to transport people from cities hundreds and hundreds of miles apart in minutes rather than hours. More futuristic versions of the transportation will be methods like the “vac-train” which is also known as “vacuum tube train” that will use a vacuum sealed tunnel with train cars propelled by “linear-induction motors”, and “magnetic levitation” instead of wheels. Vac-train is an updated version of Maglev. It would be more efficient than present Maglev as it would have even less resistance to face than Maglev as it would be travelling through a vacuum. All of these methods of travel will be extremely efficient and beneficial to society. These inventions will help cut down on emission produced by cars and other forms of transportation that uses combustible engines. As technology advances our means of transportation have to keep up with the demand of new ideas and means of efficiency. Electricity and magnetism are going to play a large role in the future of our transportation and supply us with extremely efficient means of travel. These means of transportation would also be environment friendly and help reduce the negative effects of climate change that is happening all around us.

Overall, the future of transportation relies deeply on electrical and magnetic currents. The future not only holds the drastic change but also better the environment. Hence, the future of transport, to the great extent depends on the engineers’ ability to create these vehicles. Innovative leadership is also a must for such projects to be initiated and concluded. Adding speed, efficiency and environment friendliness to all means of transportation would require out of the box thinking and a resentment to using fossil fuel as a starting point. Then can the innovative engineers and leaders of the present and future focus on solution like electric trains, Hyperloop, string trains, Maglev and other creative solutions that has no or minimal environmental implications.  

References

Brown, J. S., & Duguid, P. (2017). The Social Life of Information: Updated, with a New Preface. Harvard Business Review Press.

Chapman, L. (2007). Transport and climate change: a review. Journal of transport geography15(5), 354-367.

Funk, D., & Getsla, K. (2005). Magnetic Levitation Train.

Lu, L., Han, X., Li, J., Hua, J., & Ouyang, M. (2013). A review on the key issues for lithium-ion battery management in electric vehicles. Journal of power sources226, 272-288.