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Superconducting maglev

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Superconductors

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Maglev FAQ



Superconductorssuperconductors in use today

Superconductors and superconducting magnets, while not in use in everyday homes and work places because of their need for low temperature refrigeration, are widely used in particle accelerators, and medical imaging devices. Figure 5 shows a medical MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) unit that uses a large superconducting magnet to image the interior parts of the human body to very fine detail. Thousands of these superconducting MRI units are already in use around the World.

Also in use are many miles of superconducting magnets for high energy particle accelerators employed for physics research into the structure of matter. The existing superconductors in these accelerator magnets, if they had been used for maglev, would provide the magnets for thousands of vehicles - enough to carry a large fraction of US intercity passenger and truck traffic.

In addition to maglev, other applications of superconductivity are also developing rapidly, including lossless underground transmission lines, windings for large motors and generators and superconducting energy storage. Such devices will become major users of superconductors in the coming decades.


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