Electromagnetic & Electrodynamic SuspensionIn Mechanics
Electromagnetic Suspension (EMS) is the magnetic levitation of an object achieved by constantly altering the strength of a magnetic field produced by electromagnets. In most cases the levitation effect is mostly due to permanent magnets; since they don’t have any power dissipation, with electromagnets only used to stabilise the effect.
A charged body cannot rest in stable equilibrium when placed in a pure electrostatic field or magnetostatic field. In these kinds of fields an unstable equilibrium condition exists. Although static fields cannot give stability, EMS works by continually altering the current sent to electromagnets to change the strength of the magnetic field and allows a stable levitation to occur. Usually, a feedback loop which continuously adjusts one or more electromagnets to correct the object’s motion is used to cancel the instability.
Many systems use magnetic attraction pulling upwards against gravity for these kinds of systems as this gives some inherent lateral stability, but some use a combination of magnetic attraction and magnetic repulsion to push upwards.
Magnetic levitation technology is important because it reduces energy consumption, largely obviating friction. The application of magnetic levitation is most commonly known for its role in Maglev trains.
Electrodynamic suspension (EDS) is a form of magnetic levitation in which there is relative motion between two objects that creates a repulsive magnetic fields to hold the two objects apart. In most cases, one magnetic field is a permanent field, such as a permanent magnet or a superconducting magnet, and the other magnetic field is induced from the changes of the field that occur as the magnet moves relative to a conductor in the other object. Electrodynamic suspension can also occur when an electromagnet driven by an AC electrical source produces the changing magnetic field.
EDS is used for maglev trains, such as the Japanese JR-Maglev. It is also used for some classes of magnetically levitated bearings.