Levitating Magnetic Quadcopter

Project Type: Propulsion and Levitation

Project Information

Project Description:

The task is to design and build a hovering platform that spins four magnetic disks above a copper plate.  This quadcopter-like machine floats due to currents induced in the copper that act like electromagnets to repel the spinning disks.  The disks contain high-intensity permanent magnets arranged in a Halbach array to enhance the field between the disk and the copper.  Hendo Hover (Arx Pax) has taken the technology a step further by building a true Hoverboard for people to enjoy:  http://hendohover.com/

Level of Difficulty: Medium


Klaus Halbach, eddy currents, Faraday's law of induction, Lenz’s law, phase delay, magnetic brake, induction heating


“Watch Tony Hawk Ride the World’s First Real Hoverboard,” by Samantha Grossman, TIME.com, November 18, 2014. http://time.com/3592052/watch-tony-hawk-ride-the-worlds-first-real-hoverboard/

“What is a Halbach Array?” MAGCRAFT, Sunday, November 30, 2014. https://www.magcraft.com/blog/what-is-a-halbach-array

Gutarra-leon, et al., “Laboratory Model of Magnetic Frictionless Flywheel and Hoverboard,” Northern Virginia community College, Exigence, Vol. 1, (1), 2017, Aritcle 13. https://commons.vccs.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1056&context=exigence

Team Roles

Electrical Engineer (2) – Electrical Engineers on the project are responsible for the selection and installation of motors and power supplies needed to spin the disks at a high speed.  The motors must also supply sufficient torque to overcome induced drag.  An electrical system analysis will determine if the platform can lift a battery pack for cordless operation.

Mechanical Engineer (2) – Mechanical Engineers are responsible for the platform design, which includes the motor mounts, shafts and bearings, plus the landing feet to support the platform when the motors are off.  A mechanical analysis will determine the system’s size and power needed to lift a person (Hoverboard).

Physicist (2) – Physicists will design the circular Halbach arrays that provide the lift.  These Halbach disks must house numerous Neodymium rare-earth magnets (Nd2Fe14B), all carefully arranged to enhance the magnetic flux in one direction.  Additionally the disks spin at a rate that will require precise balancing against centrifugal forces.

Computer Scientist (2) – Computer Scientists are responsible for the platform’s diagnostics.  Measurements will include independent motor speeds; lifting force beyond the platform weight; lateral drag parallel to the copper plate (equivalent friction); and temperature rise of the copper.

Designer (2) – The Designers will work closely with the Engineers to manufacture a system that is compact, portable, and safe to demonstrate to an audience.

Journalist (1) – The Journalist documents the project’s progress on the website, communicates with the local media, and is responsible for a final report to the principal sponsors and Power Mountain Engineering.  The Journalist also works closely with the Multimedia Artist to provide video and graphic art displays for demonstrations that explain the project to the public.  The whole project is your project.

Multimedia Artist (1) – The Artist also documents the project’s progress on the website and works with the Journalist to maintain the project’s presence on social media.  Additionally, the Artist designs and organizes all public relations events to assure spectator safety and to enhance the community’s awareness of science and technology.  The whole project is your project.

Business Manager (1) – The Business Manager is responsible for reporting the project’s progress against a predetermined schedule, determines critical path items to completion, and tracks project spending to assure that costs remain within a fixed budget.  The Manager works with all team members to identify problems early and resolve them quickly.  The whole project is your project.

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