American Superconductor Supply Materials for Japanese Prototype Maglev Train

American Superconductor Corporation, today announced that Central Japan Railway Company ("JR Central")has successfully utilised AMSC's high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire in a prototype electromagnetic coil designed for use as the lifting component in JR Central's magnetically levitated ("maglev") train system.

The maglev train is the vehicle being considered for Japan's Chuo Shinkansen, an alternate route connecting Tokyo to Osaka. Continued economic and technical success will make HTS electromagnets a strong candidate for the maglev train. The total potential HTS wire requirement for a full, commercial maglev train system is expected to exceed 100 million meters.

JR Central designed the HTS maglev coil and specifically chose AMSC's wire for this project for its high current-carrying capability. To optimise the current density, AMSC provided bare wire without the standard strengthening process of stainless steel lamination that is utilized on AMSC's wire for most other applications. Final development and fabrication of the coil was completed by Toshiba Corporation using a new HTS coil manufacturing technique.

Recent improvements in the coil winding techniques made it possible to maximize the current density of this special wire while meeting vibration requirements for the maglev train.

"We are honored to have been able to contribute to JR Central's successful demonstration of HTS coils for maglev," said David Paratore, president and chief operating officer of AMSC. "We are dedicated to working hard and to collaborating with our Japanese colleagues to help make HTS maglev a success in Japan."

JR Central and Japan's Railway Technical Research Institute's (RTRI) current maglev train system, which today must rely on low temperature superconductor (LTS) electromagnets, recently set a world speed record of 581 kilometer per hour (360 miles per hour) for the highest speed attained by a manned superconducting magnetically levitating train while "flying" about 10 centimeters (4 inches) above its "track."

Advantages of switching from LTS to HTS electromagnets include reduction of both capital and operating costs for the Maglev train system, JR Central announced recently.

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