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Eric Roberts Eric Laithwaite | Linear Motor Inventor

Linear motor inventor Eric Roberts Laithwaite
Eric Roberts Laithwaite (14 June 1921 – 27 November 1997) was a British electrical engineer, known as the "Father of Maglev" for his development of the linear induction motor and maglev rail system.

Image Credit:ElectricityBook

"Eric Roberts Laithwaite was born in Atherton, Lancashire, on 14 June 1921, raised in the Fylde, Lancashire and educated at Kirkham Grammar School. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1941. Through his service in World War II, he rose to the rank of Flying Officer, becoming a test engineer for autopilot technology at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough. On demobilization in 1946, he attended the University of Manchester to study electrical engineering. His work on the Manchester Mark I computer earned him his master's degree. His subsequent doctoral work started his interest in linear induction motors. He derived an equation for "goodness" which parametrically describes."Source: Wikipedia

What is a Linear Motor?

A linear motor is not a “rotating motor”. A linear motor does not produce torque for rotation, instead, it produces a linear force along its length, whether it is straight or not, and has its endpoints. On the other hand, conventional motors rotate or loops.

The linear motor usually uses the Lorentz-type actuator as its common mode of operation wherein the applied force is linearly proportional to the current and the magnetic field.

Linear motors have many designs that were categorized to low acceleration and high acceleration. The magnetic levitation (MagLev) train system uses low acceleration linear motors and also on ground based train systems. On the other hand, the high-acceleration linear motors normally are short which make them an ideal system to accelerate a projectile or an object at very high velocities such as the coilgun or Gauss rifle.

About Maglev Trains

Photo credit: Nissangeniss-Wikipedia

“Maglev (derived from magnetic levitation) is a system of train transportation that uses two sets of magnets, one set to repel and push the train up off the track, then another set to move the 'floating train' ahead at great speed taking advantage of the lack of friction. Along certain "medium-range" routes (usually 200 to 400 miles (320 to 640 km) Maglev can compete favorably with high-speed rail and airplanes.” For the complete article click this Wikipedia link

Let's give credit where credit is due. Click the link below for other Applications of Linear Motors

1. Watch for interesting videos by Eric Laithwaite provided by ElectricityBooK
2. Linear Motor Applications by Engineering.Com