Magnetic Levitation and Other Tech

Something alongside my Planet Project, inspired by some of my summer research, that I am exploring is levitating objects using electromagnets. I have found couple of DIY articles  which show various different methods for creating magnetic levitation.

After reading through them my tutor and I can identify a couple of main components the are used to achieve the levitation-

  • The use of a strong electromagnets which usually consists of a magnetic core and many coils of specific electromagnetic wire.
  • The use of either a hall effect sensors which sense magnetic field, or a IR emitter and receivers which can sense when something is in front of it. We have worked out that these are basically used to sense when the object to be levitated enters the magnetic field. This in turn tell the electromagnet to increase its power if the object is below a certain point in the magnetic field, or increase the power if it is getting too close the electromagnet. So the sensors are used to constantly adjust the magnetic field to keep the object in levitation.
  • A microcontroller to achieve the above.
  • Some sort of indicator to say whether the sensors are reviving anything in the magnetic field. This is usually a LED.
  • A on/off button to turn the electromagnet on or off.
  • Some sort of magnet, usually a neodymium, inside of the the object you are trying to levitate to attract it to the electromagnet (unless the object is already magnetic, such  steel)

From this research I want to begin experimenting with electromagnets. To begin with it would be good to make and electromagnetic and try controlling the power of it using electricity. I could the move on to trying to move things with it and potentially begin to use sensors and a Arduino to control the objects and electromagnet.

I have also been looking at Tesla coils and how they can be used to transfer electricity wirelessly. Tesla coils are simple are coil of thin wire, coiled many many times around a round object such as a PVC tube. High voltage electricity is put through this coil which create a electromagnetic field. This can then induce a current in a external coil when it enters the field, powering it without touching any of the wire. This could be really interesting when combined with electromagnetic levitation.

Furthermore, the University have managed to buy an OLED panel so I was able to experience it in person. I am still amazed by the quality of light they emit and how thin they are, oping up a wealth of possibilities with how they might be integrated.


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