Superconductor Record Broken

The record for the most powerful magnetic field surrounded by a superconductor has been broken. Once this would have been a typical event, with records dropping regularly, but this was the first time in eleven years development has been made. Superconductors are distinct by their capacity to conduct electricity with no resistance whatsoever. They also disturb magnetic fields, but their superconductivity is subtle both to warm temperatures and to huge magnetic fields. The record field of 17.2 Tesla was established in 2003, and regardless of many efforts the record stood until Professor David Cardwell declared in Superconductor Science and Technology that his group at Cambridge University had accomplished a field of 17.6T. “High” temperature superconductors, ones that work over the boiling point of liquid nitrogen (-196°C) are prepared of metal oxides, but we have a poor understanding of which metal mixtures will work finest.
Image Credit: University of Cambridge, CC-BY. Superconductors can ascend magnets by ejecting magnetic fields, and can also trap them.



The record was made with 25mm grains of gadolinium boron carbon oxide known as GdBCO, doped with silver. These were positioned among thin sheets of copper oxide and had their microstructure altered to maximize field transport capacity. If suitably large fields can be consistently confined the potential is huge. Superconductors are even now used in MRI scanners and mass spectrometers amid other scientific apparatus. It is expected they can be put to use producing smart grids and in maglev trains and new customs to stock electricity. Cardwell says "There are real potential gains to be had with even small increases in field,” In addition to the field strength Cardwell is enthusiastic by the comparatively easy way in which their materials were prepared, saying, “In order to see bulk superconductors applied for everyday use, we need large grains of superconducting material with the required properties that can be manufactured by relatively standard processes." 

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Superconductor Record Broken Superconductor Record Broken Reviewed by Umer Abrar on 7/01/2014 Rating: 5

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