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The basic energy conversion relationship of a linear induction motor is examined by a combination of field and circuit theory. Both homogeneous and composite rails have been considered. From the equations obtained, parametric and tradeoff studies are performed to determine rotor material, rotor thickness, air-gap thickness, stator winding distribution, operating frequency, slip, and synchronous velocity. The results are reduced into equivalent circuit form so that comparisons can be made with rotary induction motors.