BS in Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering Department
Joseph D. Mello
There is currently a gap in the market of train levitation systems: wheeled trains and MagLev trains exist, but none utilize the low friction and high efficiency aspect of trains levitated by air skates. An air skate, is an air bearing that uses a pressure difference along its annular body to create a thin flow of air which is strong enough to "levitate" the weight of the skate. We have designed a compliant air skate that can glide over 0.04[in] defects in surfaces without touching down. After having made compliant skirts out of fiberglass and silicone, our setup of three air skates was easily capable of levitating 300[lb] while maintaining 3[psi] evenly split at the skates with an equivalent air flowrate of 3 [ft^3/min].