On the day of the contest, every contestant must give a completed Student Design Portfolio (Appearance | Speed) to the track start judge. Your portfolio will be returned to your teacher after the contest.
The contest allows you to investigate either of two key features of MAGLEV:
To deal with these design tradeoffs, an engineering Figure Of Merit (FOM) may be used to determine the best design. The higher the FOM, the better the design in terms of cost-effectiveness.
In the Category 5, you must build a model MAGLEV vehicle which has the most cost-effective combination of speed, passenger capacity, and cost as signified by the highest FOM.
To calculate the FOM, the following variables will be used:
The number of pennies carried (P) and the number of magnets used (N) are up to the designer. All vehicles will be timed over test tracks with D=12 feet. In the fourth category.
Individual FOMs are then calculated from the number of pennies, magnets, and the elapsed time for each vehicle.
There are five categories for the contest. You may build only one vehicle for each category, but you may enter all the categories. Vehicles in categories 1, 2, 3, and 4 use different types of propulsion systems. Vehicles in categories 5 and 6 use gravity as the propulsion system.
Construct a vehicle that travels the length of the track powered by wind. The wind will be provided by a "Whole House Circulator" 12,500 CFM three-speed fan. The fan will be run at the highest speed level. The fan axis shall be parallel to the track centerline, and the front surface of the fan shall be located 18 inches from the first “start time measuring device” or mark. In addition, a “starting line” shall be marked on the track 2 inches upwind of the “start time measuring” device or mark. Vehicles will be place on the track with the fan on, their front end at aligned with the “starting line” and then released from this stationary position. No “flying starts” are allowed; the wind must supply the force to accelerate and propel the vehicle. The vehicle should travel the length of the track in the shortest possible time.
Construct a balloon-propelled vehicle that travels the length of the track. No other external energy source is permitted. The vehicle should travel the length of the track in the shortest possible time.
Construct a vehicle that travels the length of the track under its own power. No external energy source is permitted. Power sources can include, but are not limited to: propellers, rubber bands, motors, springs, batteries, etc... The vehicle should travel the length of the track in the shortest possible time.
Construct a vehicle that uses an electrified track for power. The side rails of the track will be energized with a 2 amp 12 volt direct current (DC) power supply. As seen looking down the track from the starting point, the right-hand rail will have positive (+) polarity. The vehicle should travel the length of the track in the shortest possible time.
Construct a vehicle that travels the length of the track under the force of gravity. The track slopes downward with a vertical drop of 2 feet over its 16 foot length. The vehicle's travel time down the track, number of pennies carried, and number of magnets should give the highest figure of merit (FOM), calculated by the formula posted on the design brief.
Construct a model which clearly shows a design concept for a MAGLEV vehicle. It does not have to be self-propelled or carry pennies, and there are no length or height restrictions. It must levitate and travel down a standard track which slopes downward with a vertical drop of 2 feet over its 16 foot length. Vehicles may be entered either as (a) Scale Model , or (b) Futuristic, as follows:
Design brief should discuss how the model relates proportionately to a full-scale MAGLEV design, and explain the design concept, that is, why the vehicle looks the way it does.
Design brief should explain the design concept, that is, why the vehicle looks as it does. The design need not be obviously related to a useful commercial mass transit vehicle. If not, however, then it should clearly illustrate some special feature(s) of MAGLEV systems.
All tracks (see Figure 1 at right) used in the competition are 16 feet in length, having two parallel lines of 1 inch long by 3/4 inch wide ceramic magnets (Kelvin 640092, Radio Shack 64-1875 or equivalent). The two lines are spaced 1 inch apart, forming a magnetic track 2 1/2 inches wide. Sides are 1 inch aluminum angles, spaced 2 9/16 inches apart and centered on the magnetic track. As seen looking down the track from the starting point, all magnets on the left will have their north-seeking poles facing up. Those on the right will have the reverse polarity.
NOTE: the north-seeking pole is the one that points to the Earth's north magnetic pole when the magnet is suspended by a thread.
Vehicle suspension must be 100% magnetic levitation. Vehicles must be 16 inches or less in length. There is no height restriction. Magnets on the vehicles should be two parallel lines of 1 inch long by 3/4 inch wide ceramic magnets. Magnetic polarity and vehicle width must be compatible with track specifications. Vehicles in the category 4 must carry pennies in such a way that they can be seen individually or easily removed for counting.
* Note: Use of a balloon shall not be construed as compressed air
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000