Rights: The University of Waikato Published 9 April 2010 Download

Dr Nick Strickland, a research scientist working in the field of superconductivity at Industrial Research Limited (IRL), describes some of the properties that superconductive materials show. He explains an effect known as the Meissner effect and discusses its application to levitated transport systems.

Point of interest
Who discovered superconductivity?


The Meissner effect is related to the absence of resistance. This is a where a superconductor will expel a magnetic field from its interior, and this has the result that you can levitate a permanent magnet above a superconductor, which you couldn't normally do with 2 permanent magnets.

Well, this could be very useful, for example, in extremely high-speed trains. If you can levitate a train above its rails, then you can make it go much faster with no friction against the rails, and there are demonstrations of this type of train already in existence.