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Maglev Testing to Resume Dec. 19 Near Tennis Courts

Testing of magnetic levitation (maglev) technology on a section of the guideway on the Old Dominion University campus is set to resume.

ODU researchers, along with Massachusetts aerospace company MagneMotion Inc. (MMI), will oversee the installation of track on a 300-foot portion of the guideway near the tennis courts at Powhatan Avenue. Delivery and installation of the track and test vehicle will occur during the week of Dec. 19-23.

In 2010, MagneMotion received a $7.9 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to test its patented maglev technology at ODU. University researchers, led by Thomas Alberts, professor of aerospace engineering, have been an integral part of the MMI effort.

The installation of the new track and test vehicle will require closing off the pedestrian walkway on the west end near the tennis courts and using a crane. A temporary fence will be erected along the pedestrian walkway, which will remain in place through June 2012.

The fence will close off the pedestrian walkway during periods of working and testing. Following the tests, the ends of the fencing will be opened to allow pedestrians to use the walkway. When the walkway is closed off, pedestrians will be able to walk to the north side of the walkway (near the Student Recreation Center). Signage will direct pedestrians to the alternate path.

It is expected that work/testing will go on for many days during the week of Dec. 19-23 and through the following month, requiring the closure of the walkway. Then testing will continue less frequently from February to June 2012. It is anticipated that the fencing will be removed after June.

If there are any questions or concerns related to this testing, call the Facilities Management/Maintenance Support Center at 683-4600.

The retrofitted track will allow MMI to conduct a more comprehensive test of its maglev vehicle with help from ODU researchers. While the currently planned test will be at low speeds, MMI plans to produce a maglev vehicle that is the size of a van or small bus, and can accelerate quickly.

This article was posted on: December 16, 2011

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