Technical description


For being able to levitate the vehicle uses so called cryostats instead of wheels. These are rectangular containers made of stainless steel with superconducting material on the bottom inside. The superconductors used consist of massive YBa2Cu3O7-δ, a ceramic material which is able to memorize the magnetic field of the track when being cooled down below minus 196°C. As long as the material is cold enough the vehicle inherently sustains height and vertical position. The cryostats are filled with liquid nitrogen to cool the superconductors. One filling allows the vehicle to levitate up to 24 hours without refilling. For the purpose of continuous levitation an electrical cooling system is feasible, too. The propulsion of the vehicle (acceleration, deceleration, backward drive) is achieved contactless by means of an electric linear motor.

The transport system is highly environment-friendly. It virtually makes no sound, does not emit any pollutants and is energy efficient. It is insensitive to water and ice on the track because it does not need any friction to move. Dust or sand on the track do not matter either. The rail can easily be protected with a thin cover without affecting the ability to levitate. The vehicle levitates about 10 mm above the rail. It has a payload of 240 kg and is individually steerable along the track.  The vehicle‘s energy necessary for acceleration and deceleration is supplied continuously by the track without any contact.


Vehicle without fairing (front view)Vehicle with fairing (side view)



The track consists of plane modular easy addable magnetic segments which are adaptable geometrically with little expenditure to the special requirements of the driveway course.


Magnetic track segment (bend)Rail segment (straight)View towards the track



Driveway branch (Turnout switch)

As turnout switch actually a mechanical switching sliding switch in flat construction method is used.

Turnout switch, curve positionTurnout switch, straight position


Propulsion drive

The propulsion of the vehicle occurs by means of a three-phase current asynchronous linear motor with short stator arrangement whereas the primary part is fastened below the vehicle. The accompanying secondary part is arranged as a passive reaction rail along the middle of the track. The propulsion drive is controlled onboard the vehicle. The drive concept enables an independent use of several vehicles on the track at the same time.


Principle of  propulsion drive and energy supply


Energy supply

The energy supply of the vehicle is realised by means of an inductive transmission system which is integrated in the track and transfers the required energy continuously and contactless to the vehicle. For this purpose easily mountable linear conductors are fastened along the track which couple the energy over an air gap into an acceptor onboard the vehicle.


Control system

The supervision and if necessary influencing of driving data relevant for security belongs to the duties of the control system, e.g.:

  • Detection of position and direction of motion
  • Observance of allowed maximum speeds of the vehicle or the track segment
  • Reaction according the driving behavior of other vehicles

Vehicle control of SupraTrans II is possible in two operation modes:

Automatic mode

  • In this mode an operation of the vehicle without driver is possible

Manual driving mode

  • Control of the vehicle by a driver within the scope of the track segments and track parameters released by the control system.

Research Group Info

Dr. Ruben Hühne

Phone: +49-351-4659-716
Fax: +49-351-4659-9716