|The air pad|
La scienzia strumentale, over machinale, e nobilissima e
sopra tutte l' altre utilissima, con cio sia che, mediante quella tutti li corpi animati, che hanno moto,
fanno tutte loro operazioni.(Leonardo da Vinci)
Machinal science is over all others of great usefulness, as by it all moving bodies
perform their operations.
|The air pad, or air bearing cushion, is an industrial
equipment that was invented in France by Jean Bertin more than 30 years ago.|
It is based on a simple and clean idea, that brought in the UK, in the same period, to the construction of
the Hovercraft: to let objects float (or levitate) on a flow of pressurized air.
It was initially used for high speed trains: the record was reached at 430 km/h in 1974 with a vehicle for
80 passengers (see photo).
The technique was successively abandoned, with no evident reasons: if one considers the huge research
investments that are spent in the magnetic suspension with superconducting magnets cooled in liquid helium,
with the main goal of avoiding the contact with the rail, result that is readily available with air pads...