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Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 4:44 AM

Hi

My interest is soley personal - I live in a relatively environmentally friendly set-up in the mountains in southern Spain (wooden cabin, my own water, only solar and wind power - get the picture?) and I would like to know more about the maglev (manetic levitation) technology. I have already read the following links:

http://cr4.globalspec.com/comment/129414 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maglev)

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/2536

http://cr4.globalspec.com/blogentry/5231

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/13170

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/1322

http://cr4.globalspec.com/comment/12376

http://cr4.globalspec.com/comment/227187

My specific questions are:

1. Could maglev technology be used in hospital beds to avoid physical contact between skin and bed (for instance for burns patients or for those with terrible bed sores etc)?

2. How feasible is it that everyday items like washing machines could use this technology to remove the need for bearings and associated parts that normally wear out after a number of years?

3. Whilst I believe cost factors (amonst others) prohibit the implementation of maglev technology in many situations, would be indeed be possible to use solar power to generate sufficient current to run a maglev installation, say within an industrial complex?

4. Finally, what do you see as the practical household uses that maglev technology could be put to?

Thanks

Joe

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#1

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 7:32 AM

Regarding pressure sores ('bed sores' in a missnomer which makes them sound less serious than they are), there are beds which support the patient on a cushion of air, which is probably more practical.

Del

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 8:55 AM

Thanks Del. My father recently died while in hospital. He ws on an air bed for nearly two months and his pressure/bed sores were horrid. Don't actually think they were the full solution.

Could maglev theoretically levitate a person above the bed?

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 1:30 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, doesn't maglev mean magnetic levitation? I thought that only worked with ferris metals. However, I found this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_levitation

I think to levitate a human body would take one really powerful magnet. It's a great idea though.

For many years I was a volunteer at the oncology ward at a local hospital. The bed sores probably killed more people than the cancer. Perhaps, in the future, we could treat such patents in the weightlessness of space.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 2:46 PM

Thanks for that. I thought it seemed like a good idea for bed/pressure sores. Let's say that a hospital was able to get sufficient cheap electricity to power the levitating beds, would there be any health risks to patients or staff with long-term exposure to the strong electro-magnetic fields?

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 2:47 PM

Thanks Bricktop,

Thats a great bunch of info. I should have known Wiki would have it.

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#10
In reply to #7

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 2:59 PM

Shadetree - I believe the same link was already on my initial post!

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 3:09 PM

You're right. My bad. Sorry.

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#13
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Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 3:21 PM

I hope you don't think I was trying to seem "superior"...

It is very rare that it is not me who is the one who is missing the obvious or not noticing something within someone else's post!

Regards

Joe

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 3:35 PM

I missed it too. Seeing that I'm older than most of the dirt in my yard, I miss a lot.

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#15
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Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 3:37 PM

"I'm older than most of the dirt in my yard" - brilliant!

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#3

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 1:06 PM

Joe,

I too wondered about that as my father also died in a similar maner with similar results. I don't think maglev would do any better as the magnets need something to repulse thereby still puting pressure on the body. They had my father in a bed that not only had air but rolled gently from side to side and he still had bed sores. I think they might be on the right track with the movement but if applied externally it doesn't seem to be all that efective. I think it must have something to do with the blood pooling in those areas. Probably when the blood is not moving enough the toxins in it damage the areas where it pools. I am by no means a medical professional but I watch a lot of medical shows on TV.

As to the other uses for maglev I am sure that as the need arises this will be explored - or not. If wear is minimized replacement interval time will be increased and manufacturers want to sell you a new one sooner rather than later. The cost of the item in question might also skyrocket. How would you like to pay as much for a washing machine as a new car? Of course I reserve the right to be wrong.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 1:29 PM

A pressure sore is caused by pressure cutting off the blood supply to the skin (our largest organ) which can then literally die. My son is in a wheel chair and has no feeling below his ribcage he had to lift himself in his wheelchair to allow circulation in his butt. You know that feeling when you are sitting on a hard chair in an interminable meeting...of course if you have no feeling or can't move you miss those signals telling you to fidget and restore the circulation. I've seen the video of what can happen to someone in a wheelchair who had a £1 coin in their back pocket and didn't realise....They ended up with necrosis right down to the bone often a small dark mark on the surface of the skin is the tip of the iceburg... My son carefully checks his skin every morning and has to wake in the night to make sure to turn himself.

Some hospitals which aren't used to this sort of care can be rather remiss about this.

(Sorry if this sounds a bit preachy...it's just a bit close to home)

Del

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#8
In reply to #4

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 2:52 PM

Thanks Del,

"A pressure sore is caused by pressure cutting off the blood supply to the skin (our largest organ) which can then literally die."

I guess I knew that. I was just excersizing my right to be wrong.

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#11
In reply to #4

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 3:01 PM

So Del, could the maglev technology work to help alleviate pressure/bed sores?

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#18
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Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 4:23 PM

Presumably only if you feed the patient on magnets .

I like the Outer space solution...it might cheer the patients up too.

Del

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#20
In reply to #18

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 4:40 PM

I don't know if that would cheer me up.

Doctor: Mr. Brickie, your sick.

Receptionist: Your next appointment, lets see, next Monday, at Cape Canaveral....

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#9
In reply to #3

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 2:57 PM

Mmm, interesting points.

As far as the washing machine is concerned, I suppose that demand would reduce the cost of supply.

Regarding the bed. I noticed on the Wiki link (see my original post) there was a frog levitated. I wonder if tests could be done to evaluate the effect of the pressure caused by the magnetic "repulsion"?

Another thought - if movement and rotation were needed to avoid pooling of blood/toxins, presumably there may be a way of achieving this through rolling/turning the patient within the magnetic fields. Again, research could be done to see if gravity-free side wards could be created so that the patient could have designated periods without the need for the maglev. Once returned to bed, I suppose the patient would require some form of physiotherapy to get some movement and strength back in the muscles.

BTW, my father also died because of the inadequate level of personal care given to him while in hosptial (secondary stuff like MRSA, infections through bed/pressure sores and invasive procedures like catheters and cannulas).

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#16
In reply to #9

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 3:42 PM

Yea Joe, hospital care is pretty bad and getting worse. My father went in for a check-up because he was experiencing some dizziness and weakness. The Doctor he saw told him, after some tests, that he needed a 5 way bypass immediately. Dad took his word for it and didn't bother to get a second opinion. After heart surgery he experienced kidney problems and had to undergo dialysis. The tragedy is that he was one of over 300 patients that, according to a class action suit against that hospital and several doctors, didn't need surgery at all but just some medications. Evidently the doctors actually falsified the tests.

To add insult to injury, the nursing care he received was abominable. They claimed they were short handed (though I saw lots of people in nurses garb seemingly wandering around). Consequently they didn't get him up very often to walk as he was supposed to do. I had taken time off work to be with him and could have helped with his care but they wouldn't have it. One time when I got there in the morning I found a couple of med techs attempting to move his catheter from his arm to his groin (they had already shaved him). When I pointed out that this had already been done the day before they got red faced, packed up their stuff and left his room without so much as a by-your-leave. I went directly to find the hospital administrator but was given the brush-off. I was furious.

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#17
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Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 4:04 PM

I went to the doctor the other day, he told me I was going to die, he just didn't say when.

I don't know, I've never been there, but if they told me I had the big C, or who knows whatever, I might say give me narcotic drugs, goodnight shirt.

My health plan is excellent, as long as I don't get sick.

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#19
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Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 4:32 PM

Sounds very similar to my own experience of how my father was treated at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, north east England - supposed to be the largest hospital in Europe. Whilst I did not take the hospital to court I did complain and, as a result, they have instigated changes in the way they inform patients and visitors about the rights they have to complain about poor care and hygene, etc.

Probably won't make a sod of a difference, but if it helps some poor old hospital victim in the future then it would be worthwhile.

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#21

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 11:23 PM

16.6.2008

Maglev bearings! Now that is definitely an interesting and untapped concept. The closest imagineable at present is air bearings which costs a fortune.

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#23
In reply to #21

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/16/2008 12:37 AM

If you google magnetic bearings you will find they are already in use and available. The ones I saw were for Heavy Industry but give them time and they will make them smaller. Now I remember. Go to SKF.com.

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#26
In reply to #21

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/16/2008 3:32 AM

Perhaps maglev bearings would be possible in large-scale wind farms or in elec-generating turbines. Perhaps the generated power diverted to power the electromagnets could prove cost-effective in terms of reduced fiction (i.e. lost heat = lost energy) and hence reduced maintenance schedules. Might even be able to give an increase in the rate of turn.

I am no physicist and I am sure I deserve to be shot down in flames - but my experience of green energy (as I said, I only have solar and wind along with a thirsty and noisy backup petrol generator) encourages me to push towards further research in integrating maglev in "green" energy production.

Any further thoughts?

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#22

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/15/2008 11:30 PM

I am off topic but here i go. To relieve bed sores a simple solution would be to borrow a old technique from sensory deprivation studies. google it. The body floats in epson salt water mixture. No pressure on the body at all. Good for patients w/o open sores. Yes there are some hurdles but In my mind easily overcome if the results are people given a chance to recover from the illness without being subjected to more life threatening bed sores. my 2 coppers.

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#24

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/16/2008 12:37 AM

Your imagination is very nice.

But, for lavitation, two magnet poles repel. Human body is not magnet. This bed itself need to be magnetic, on which human will be sleeping. Thus, the problem of human body with some sort of bed still remains, so the bed/pressure sores.

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#25

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/16/2008 3:22 AM

Hello Joe,

In answer to #1 I don't think so. Alternating field electro magnets can work in non-ferris metals, but if you could use the eddy currents in the human body to levitate it, the power levels could cook it or cause the nervous system to have serious issues.

Not that it isn't theoretically possible, but not practical or safe.

Brad

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#27

Re: Applications of Maglev Technology

06/16/2008 5:06 AM

As has already been stated levitating non-ferrous materials requires the induction of large eddy currents in the object to create the magnetic repulsion.

At school we built a wide range of 3 phase levitators and linear accelerators. One popular demonstration was to crack an egg over the levitator. The egg would spread out like a fried egg floating a few mm above the machine. It cooked very quickly due to the heating effect of the eddy currents. I imagine the current needed to lift a body would rapidly roast it.

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