General Lab Information

General Rules

There will be two main categories in this year’s competition: Speed (Gravity) and Appearance. All entries must include a vehicle to be tested and a completed Student Design Portfolio (see below to determine which portfolio to use). To be considered for judging in any of the categories, the vehicle must make it down the gravity track at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). This tested will be performed by BNL staff.

Student Design Portfolio

The steps in the Design Portfolio will help you complete your MAGLEV vehicle design. Writing down what you did or found in each step will help you and others learn from your work. It will also help the competition judges understand your design approach. The design process begins with a Problem Statement. Here you should state exactly what your design is trying to accomplish. Next, under Investigation, list the questions you will have to answer to come up with a successful design. The remaining steps take you through the rest of the design process. As you complete your design, fill in your responses to each step. You may add tables, charts, drawings or anything else you think will help you and your readers understand what you did.

Getting Vehicles to Brookhaven Lab

Vehicles and their accompanying design portfolio will be delivered by their teacher to Brookhaven National Laboratory on March 24, 2021 or March 25, 2021 between 3 pm to 5 pm for judging to be completed by BNL staff. If teachers prefer to ship the vehicles to BNL, please email MaglevContest@bnl.gov to get shipping information.

Judging Rubrics

Student design portfolio for speed and appearance categories:

Track Specifications

All tracks 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. The 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 poles facing up. Those on the right will have the reverse polarity.


Figure 1

Vehicle Requirements

The 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 may not use any type of propulsion. All vehicles must be pulled down by gravity alone. The vehicle must operate without being pushed, touched, or otherwise interfered with once in place at the starting position of the track. Any materials hazardous to human health may not be submitted. Any design determined by the judges or contest coordinators to be hazardous or unsafe may not be submitted.