Maglev deployment in winter climate

University essay from KTH/Skolan för teknikvetenskap (SCI)

Author: Axel Thorstrand; [2020]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: As of year 2020, maglev train systems are not in service in areas with harsh winter climate. Compared to conventional railway, the technology is relatively new and untested in conditions of low temperatures, icing and snow. If maglev is to be deployed in areas of cold climate, the effects on the technology under these conditions must be investigated. Low temperature pose problems for materials in general as material properties change. One example is dampers, whose damping constants can change drastically with temperature. Icing on the train vehicles cause increased turbulence and drag and chunks of ice can come loose of the vehicle and cause great damage to both the rolling stock and the guideway around it. These issues are especially problematic at the high speeds that maglev trains can reach, as aerodynamic forces often increase faster with greater velocities. Atomized snow in the air caused by the train’s turbulence can pile up on the bogies and around sensitive areas like ventilation inlets. It is found that many solutions that are used for railway trains can be applied to the maglev technology as well. However, there are some unique challenges for maglev trains. High speed forces, advanced guideway switch management, and frost wedging of the guideways are a few examples. Japan is the leading country in the maglev technology as of 2020, and they have some suggested solutions for cold climate issues for their superconductive maglev. For example, much of the guideway is lead through tunnels, as to not expose the vehicle and guideway to snow. In outside portions, water sprinkler systems and protective hoods are utilized to keep the guideway clear of snow.

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