A theorem due to Earnshaw proves that it is not possible to achieve static levitation using any combination of fixed magnets and electric charges. Static levitation. The answer is no, and this fact is referred to as the Earnshaw’s theorem. We will prove this assuming $q \gt 0$, but the proof is similar for $q \lt. PDF | A classical electrodynamical results known as Earnshaw theorem forbids the stable static levitation in stationary fields. Even though, permanent magnets.

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The proof of Earnshaw’s theorem follows closely from Gauss’s law. Thus, each atom is a small permanent magnet, but the poles tend to be oriented randomly, so a macroscopic sample of the substance usually has no net magnetic field. This is thelrem true of magnetism. These can thus seem to be exceptions, though in fact they exploit the constraints of the theorem.

How does a diamagnet violate this theorem? That’s what Euripides called it; most people call it “Heraclian”.

Is Magnetic Levitation Possible?

It is usually referenced to magnetic fieldsbut was first applied to electrostatic fields. Repeating hteorem process, all of the elements can be removed so there is no minimum size such system, which is absurd.

Intuitively, whether it is inverse unity, square, cube, or even higher power, the static field model will be unstable. An actual magnet is a volumetric entity and the force field produced obeys 3rd power law. This is due to the phenomena called paramagnetism. In order to create a strong permanent magnet, a piece of ferrous material is heated to a molten state, and then placed in a strong magnetic field and allowed to cool.

The setup is illustrated schematically below:. A high temperature superconductor in magnetic suspension. It is not possible to make a bar magnet levitate in a stable position only through the use of other bar magnets. There are, however, several exceptions tneorem the rule’s assumptions, which allow magnetic levitation. While your explanations of magnetic phenomena are insightful in themselves, they are not useful in concluding ezrnshaw the trolls are in error.


March 11, at 2: Something like quantum mechanics and the exclusion principle is required. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: For particular arrangements of certain kinds of atoms in the lattice structure of certain solids, the inter-electron distances within atoms and between neighboring atoms are small enough that the wave functions of the electrons overlap significantly. February 23, at The levitated objects sit inside the vertical cylindrical core of a hollow solenoid.

January 18, at 9: Surprisingly, it is possible to levitate a rotating object with fixed magnets. Views Read Edit View history. The space-charge forms a local extremum in the potential energy surface. Any comments on this web page? Unfortunately, although I was initially in agreement with your argumentation I became a bit confused later.

Magnetic dipoles aligned parallel or antiparallel to an external field with the magnitude of the dipole proportional to the external field will correspond to paramagnetic and diamagnetic materials respectively.

Whereas both diamagnetism and paramagnetism are essentially due to the atomic fields resulting from the orbital motions theoremm the electrons about the nucleus, ferromagnetism is due almost entirely to alignment of the intrinsic spin axes of the individual electrons.

Spinning ferromagnets such as the Levitron can—while spinning—magnetically levitate using only permanent ferromagnets.

electrostatics – Proving Earnshaw’s theorem is subtle in three-dimensions! – Physics Stack Exchange

Notify me of new posts via email. This is due to electromagnetic intermolecular forces and is not what is really meant by the term “levitation”.

Electrostatics Levitation Physics theorems.

Thanks for the comments! It’s worth noting that this is due to the intrinsic spins of the individual electrons, not due to the orbital motions of theorfm electrons as is the case with diamagnetism and paramagnetism. It does NOT even apply to magnetic systems, since magnetism is a property of moving electric charges currents. This entry was posted in Physics. April 4, at 6: By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you acknowledge thorem you have read our updated terms of serviceprivacy policy and cookie policyand that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.


Electromagnetic suspension is one system used in magnetic levitation trains “maglev” such as the one at Birmingham Airport, England.

This effect is called hysteresis. Local extrema in free space are indeed never observed, at least in the absence of space charge like in Figure 2.

It’s possible, thoerem, to construct a perfect diamagnet using superconductivity. The key question is what causes all these dipoles to be aligned, especially in the absence of an external field.

You should also prove that harmonic functions cannot have all zero eigenvalues By this I mean the unexplained statement:. Have you seen my old post on early atomic models? This requires the existence of a point in empty space such that the force vector everywhere on the surface of an incremental region surrounding that point is directed inward.

A static field is theorme which is unchanging in time; the field of a diamagnet, however, changes in response to the motion of the levitating magnet — the fields of diamagnets are time-varying, i.

Informally, the case of a point charge in an arbitrary static electric field is a simple consequence of Gauss’s law. We may consider these loops to be randomly oriented, as in the case of paramagnetism.