During the 2018-2019 academic year, I was on the Magnetic Levitation subteam of NYU Hyperloop, mostly working on finite element analysis for electromagnetic field with different possible magnet arrays, including alternating polarity and Halbach, and calculating levitation force. The team designed a pod for participation in the 2019 SpaceX Hyperloop competition, coming in the top 5% of participating teams. In summer of 2019, I was appointed subteam lead for Magnetic Levitation and managed team members designing tests for verifying the simulation data and researching possible alternate methods of pod levitation.
The image is a rendering of the 2019 pod design, with the mounted alternating polarity magnet arrays visible at the bottom center alongside the track as the blue and black strips.
The final design for the array included six neodynium bar magnets arranged in an alternating polarity formation to maximize the possible lift at high speeds while minimizing the magnetic drag.
Finite Element Analysis Simulation
Our team used a program called QuickField to analyze the strength of the magnetic field at different distances from the array, and used MATLab to graph that data and the corresponding lift and drag to determine the optimal layout of the magnets.