Superconductive Magnets; How Do THEY Work?on October 24, 2011 at 12:00 am
So there was this video of some researchers at the Tel Aviv University of this really cool science trick, it went up on Youtube, and, of course, the internet went bonkers over it! Almost 5 million views in about a week! Craziness! And the science community just finds this hilarious. Well, that is, because it’s a relatively simple trick that most of us have probably seen in our science classes (maybe now… I don’t remember getting to witness anything that awesome in class).
But yeah, guys, science is darn cool! Literally! See, this trick is pulled off by taking a material (in this case, a thin sapphire disk) that is coated with something (a ceramic layer of yttrium barium copper oxide) that when chilled with a splash of liquid nitrogen, makes it a superconductor. Now, normal magnets give off a field (probability field) that would ordinarily just pass right through the disk. But when it goes superconductor, it bends this field around it, allowing it to levitate! That’s called the Meissner Effect. Now, the real trick is to get Quantum Locking to work (and no, not those Weeping Angels from Dr.Who). That’s where it holds its place in 3 dimensions. How this works, is that because the special coating is so super thin, it has little imperfections, magnetic soft spots if you will, that create “flux tubes” allowing bits of that magnetic field to pass through and “lock” the object in place!
Neat trick huh? Of course… if we were to see the stuff that’s a little more advanced, we’d either have our minds blown apart by the wow or think it’s just a bunch of CG effects. >)