Magnetic levitation train starts testing phase at UFRJ

24/11/2014 - Innovation and R&D, Brazil, Plantation
To support it a high road was built using steel seamless pipes supplied by Vallourec

Imagine getting into a vehicle that levitates silently on magnetic tracks, at an average speed of 70 km/hour - the same as the Rio de Janeiro’s subway. In 2015,  people from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) can experience that.

The first working prototype of the "Maglev-Cobra" was developed by the team of Professor Richard between April 2013 and September 2014, after extensive work of research that began 15 years ago. In October, the train that does not require the use of wheels and levitate on rails made its first trip, carrying researchers from Brazil and abroad. The system is power-operated and emits no greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, being a sustainable option to urban centers. Simple maintenance, operation in high-way (relieving traffic on land routes), more sharp curves and lower noise pollution are Maglev-Cobra differential compared to similar transportation.

Tubular Structures

To demonstrate the operational viability of the prototype, an experimental line of 200 meters was installed between the two UFRJ technology centers. To support the train, it was built a tubular steel structure, which required the use of 100 tons of seamless steel tubes supplied by Vallourec. The architectural design also included two stations designed in steel pipe structures. According to the expert of Vallourec Brazil, Afonso de Araújo, the choice of tubular metal structure to the detriment of precast concrete, has several advantages, such as easier and assembly of precision, economy in the delivery of the works , reduced costs, greater quality control and lightness to the enterprise architecture. "Despite being used in Brazil for many decades, this constructive mode began to be recently recognized as an innovative solution in the domestic market. It’s now used in many kinds of works”, he concludes.

Next step

The tests will continue until 2015. Initially, the vehicle will make a trip between the two technology centers, but there is the possibility of expanding to larger lines. When entering operation, the prototype will be technically evaluated by a certification company, which will give the approval to the industrialization phase and commercial deployment.


Brazilian Maglev-Cobra prototype can carry up to 120 passengers