PROBLEM The Meissner Effect has been widely used as a demonstration for the levitation of objects through magnetivity. Although MagLev is much more common, for example, the MagLev subway train in Shanghai, the Meissner Effect can give the same effect, and without the issue of incorrectly staggered magnetic fields. The Meissner Effect can fix the problem by only using one magnetic field, reducing friction and eliminating the bumps. Another type of similar levitation includes Flux Pinning, where a superconductor is locked in place and can move only by symmetry in magnetic fields with the absence of friction. The purpose of this experiment is to show the applications and influences that the Meissner Effect and Flux Pinning can give by searching for advantages and disadvantages of each system, for example, by finding how much weight it can repel or how efficient the process is. QUESTION The Meissner Effect and Flux Pinning are two very underused effects only shown in demonstrations. What are the advantages in using them, and what are possible applications could be exploited using either one of these phenomenon? RESEARCH There are two types of superconductors, named Type 1 and Type 2. The Type 1 superconductor can demonstrate the Meissner Effect, but not Flux Pinning. For this experiment, I used a Yttrium based superconductor and a neodymium magnet. In order to levitate the magnet, the superconductor must be cooled by using liquid nitrogen. When cooled, the superconductor will give an electrical current that the magnet will repel with its magnetic field. The magnet will lay horizontally on its north-south axis, allowing the magnet to spin on the axis while keeping the magnet in place. Type 2 superconductors are different than type 1. For this experiment, the type 2 superconductor shows how it is different as it is able to produce both the Meissner Effect and Flux Pinning, where the superconductor is “completely locked into space.” I used a Yttrium barium copper oxide coated with sapphire crystals. As a wire, the sapphire is able to carry an electrical current 40 times more efficient than a copper wire, as researchers from Tel Aviv University has discovered. The extremely thin Yttrium barium copper oxide, when cooled to a very cold temperature, produces an electrical current; when coated with the sapphire crystals, the electrical current becomes stronger. To demonstrate flux pinning, the superconductor compound is placed above the neodymium magnets. Virtually, Flux Pinning is an upside down version of the Meissner Effect with the exception of the type 2 superconductor, but is presented in a much different manner since since Flux Pinning involves holding the superconductor in place due to magnetic fluxes piercing through it. Therefore, Flux Pinning holds the superconductor in place without wobbling. CONCLUSION Currently, the Meissner Effect and Flux Pinning has only been shown in demonstrations. In some applications, for this example, trains, they can be made to “float” on strong superconductor magnets, eliminating the friction between the train and the tracks. This makes the train more efficient since there is not an opposing force to prevent it from losing speed. Using conventional electromagnets would be too big and waste much of the energy as heat. From my observations, the Meissner effect is simply another way of demonstrating MagLev, but it and Flux Pinning are both more efficient and effective. The uses of superconductor technology seems only limited by the inventiveness of the researchers looking at new applications. This emerging technology has the potential to revolutionize many applications in transportation, energy conservation, biotechnology, space travel, and eventually can be used to design frictionless bearings. APPLICATIONS The applications of this experiment show how the project impacts the daily life and re-concludes how the Meissner Effect and Flux Pinning can be applied to more than just demonstrations of scientific breakthroughs. An example of an application includes plastic gearing. This is very plain logic: 2 gears are adjacent; one gear is powered, the other gear is not, but is connected via the Meissner Effect. This allows for nearly zero friction while rotating against a gear. With gearing that prefers friction, this is obviously not useful, but for with R/C car racing this may help shift gears quicker without losing speed while shifting due to friction. Another example is vibration cancellation. Both the Meissner Effect and Flux Pinning are able to perform this task, although the Meissner Effect is less strict in holding an object in place, making vibration cancellation much easier. For a bridge in the progress of being built, Flux Pinning can help travel a car across a bridge without a road underneath. As long as the magnets are in place and there are cooled superconductors under the car, the car would be able to travel a far distance as the superconductor will slide almost frictionless-ly across the empty platform. So while builders are busy fixing the bridge, cars not only are able to cross the bridge, but they are able to save gas since they don’t need to rev the engine to move. FUTURE USES The future uses of the Meissner Effect and Flux Pinning relate similarly to the applications section, but a bit more far-fetched. Researchers at Cornell University thought and designed a futuristic plan for multi-part space stations and satellites. This allows for spacecrafts to be locked into each other without breaking apart through space travel. Similarly, they can also be used as transportation similar to the vehicles in the new version of the movie “Total Recall,” where vehicles are transported both above the road and below the road without ever having touched the road physically. With upside down tracks, vehicles would have to use Flux Pinning, but while on the top road, vehicles can use the Meissner Effect in combination with hovercraft propelling.
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