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Reference Number EP/H049657/1
Title Novel nano-composite bulk superconductors for high field engineering applications
Status Completed
Energy Categories OTHER POWER and STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES(Energy storage) 5%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Professor DA Cardwell
No email address given
University of Cambridge
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 October 2010
End Date 30 September 2013
Duration 36 months
Total Grant Value £449,873
Industrial Sectors Aerospace; Defence and Marine
Region East of England
Programme NC : Physical Sciences
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor DA Cardwell , Engineering, University of Cambridge (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Boeing, USA (0.000%)
Project Contact , Technische Universität Wien, Austria (0.000%)
Project Contact , Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB), Spain (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract Multi-specimen combinations of large, melt processed YBCO single grains of 25 mm diameter have been shown to trap stable magnetic fields as high as 17 T at 29 K in research-grade samples, which are simply not achievable in conventional iron-based permanent magnets (limited practically to less than ~ 1.5 T). Unfortunately, achieving and maintaining a bulk, superconducting device operating temperature of less than 65 K is difficult from a practical point of view and not particularly cost-effective. It is necessary, therefore, to develop materials with improved flux pinning (and hence field trapping) properties that can be fabricated economically for deployment in industrial applications based either on cryo-cooler technology, or on systems that use liquid nitrogen as a cryogen (boiling point, 77 K). Large single grains can be incorporated directly into existing sustainable engineering applications such as flywheels, magnetic bearings, permanent magnets for MRI/NMR, non-contact magnetic stirrers for high purity biological solutions and magnetic separators provided they can trap at least 2.0 T at 77 K. The closer the operating temperature to the transition temperature of the large single grain (typically ~ 90 K), however, the greater the requirement for effective artificial flux pinning centres in the large grain microstructure that prevent the motion of magnetic flux within the sample. The optimum size of such pinning centres is typically around a few nano-metres at 77 K. The most common method of introducing pinning centres into large YBCO grains involves engineering the size of Y2BaCuO5 (Y-211) phase inclusions in the bulk microstructure, which are produced as part of the Y-123 peritectic decomposition process during melt processing. The technique is limited fundamentally, however, by the tendency of Y-211 particles to ripen at elevated temperature, which conflicts directly with attempts to refine their size to the nano-scale. This results inevitably in a significant reduction in control of the melt process, and hence to limitations in sample performance. The PI has been involved in two important recent developments of the processing of large grain (RE)BCO superconductors. These are the development of a suitable non-211 phase that forms effective nano-scale artificial flux pinning centres, and in the development of an entirely new type of seed crystal that enables every member of the (RE)BCO class of materials to be grown in the form of large single grains by a practical techniques for the first time. The primary objective of this highly challenging project, therefore, is to fabricate mechanically stable, large, state of the art samples of single grain YBCO and other (RE)BCO melt processed superconductors than has been possible previously that contain novel (i.e. non Y-211-based), effective nano-scale artificial flux pinning centres by a practical processing technique. This will enable for the first time the cost-effective application of bulk superconductors in sustainable engineering devices that operate at, or around, 77 K. Additional objectives of this challenging proposal are to fabricate complex-shaped, new nano-phase composites for be-spoke applications for the first time using a novel multi-seeding technique, also underdevelopment at Cambridge by the PI, and to establish for the first time an effective recycling process for multi-grain samples. The project will involve extensivecollaboration with four Cambridge science departments (Engineering, Materials Science, Physics and Chemistry) and with three international institutions (ATI Vienna, ICMAB Barcelona and the Boeing Company Seattle)
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 01/11/10