0
$\begingroup$

Sort of a conceptual engineering question, apologies if I am missing something, my background is in mechanical engr.

Essentially, I was inspired by the classic experiment of dropping a magnet in a copper tube.

As far as I understand, the slowing of the magnet is due to the presence of eddy currents forming in the copper tube and providing a retardant force to the magnet.

Lets say that instead of copper, this tube was replaced with ionized air, or an otherwise low temperature plasma that had a somewhat laminar flow through an annular channel, basically creating a tube where the walls are made of ionized gas rather than copper.

When I drop a magnet through this “tube”, would it experience eddy current braking like it would falling down a copper tube? Would the conductive gas behave like a conducting metal? Beyond complicated flow dynamics, am I missing some fundamental physics?

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ Don't maglev trains rely, in some part, on this principle? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 12:59

1 Answer 1

0
$\begingroup$

Your question is a good one, and has been a subject of research for a number of years in the field of magnetohydrodynamics, or MHD (convenient search term). This is a frightfully complicated field because it mixes electromagnetism, fluid dynamics, and thermodynamics together into a hot mess.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.