The history and industrial applications of superconductors

Not only have the limits of superconductivity not yet been reached, but the theories that explain superconductor behavior seem to be constantly under review. In superconductivity was first observed in mercury by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes of Leiden University shown above. When he cooled it to the temperature of liquid helium, 4 degrees Kelvin F, Cits resistance suddenly disappeared.

The history and industrial applications of superconductors

Not only was he able to determine a boiling point for helium, at 4. He soon set about measuring the electrical resistance of metals in the new temperature regime.

The resistance of metals is strongly dependent on temperature and once the dependency has been accurately measured, the resistance can be used a simple and convenient tool for low temperature thermometry. The low temperature behavior of metals was also seen as a tool to study electron theory Einstein had applied to be assistant of Onnes in but had been rejected.

A wonderfully detailed and authoritative account "The Discovery and Early History of Superconductivity: The Leiden group initially extended measurements on platinum wires, into the liquid helium range, and observed that their electrical resistance fell continuously with temperature to a minimum but finite value.

The minimum resistance decreased as the impurity level of the metal decreased. Looking for a material with a higher available purity, they showed that the resistance of high purity gold fell to an even lower but measurable value. Seeking an even higher purity metal, considerable effort was then expended distilling pure mercury.

Higher critical magnetic fields and critical temperatures

When the resulting high purity mercury was tested, the electrical resistance fell steeply but continuously, as expected. At the boiling point of the helium 4. What happened next came as a complete surprise.

As the mercury wires were slowly cooled below 4.

History of Superconductors | Center of Excellence for Superconductivity Research

As best as they could measure, in just a few hundredths of a degree the resistance dropped to less than one millionth of the melting point value, and eventually to a thousand millionth of it; de Bruyn Ouboter, van Delft and Kes detail how Gilles Holst - whose thesis work was on quite a different topic - helped out Onnes by operating the Wheatstone bridge with the galvanometer in a room far away from the noise produced by the large pumps in the cryogenic laboratory.

Having worked so hard to purify the mercury he was further surprised to find that adding gold and cadmium to the mercury did not stop it from entering the superconducting state.

This threshold value, that we now term the critical current, is perhaps the most important for practical application. Also significantly, in Decemberhe discovered that others metals, indeed metals that could be reasonably made into wires at room temperature, namely tin 3. The first two superconducting solenoids were quickly manufactured by Gerrit Jan Flimthe Chief of the Technical Department of the Leiden Cryogenic Department.

For comparison, the flux density between the poles of a "horseshoe" permanent magnet is 0. Less accurately, he predicted that such a development should not be far away.

He was about to discover a roadblock to high field superconductivity.

The history and industrial applications of superconductors

In a footnote to his Chicago address, he observed that a 0. By Leiden had produced curves of resistance as a function of applied field and had developed an empirical fit to the temperature dependence of the critical field Hc: It seems surprising to us now that it was not untilthat the interdependence of critical current and critical field, was shown from an analysis of the Leiden data by Francis Silsbee of the National Bureau of Standards in America 4.

For many years, it appeared that low critical current and the suppression in critical current very with small applied fields would make superconductors impractical for any application other than laboratory studies of solid sate physics.

Higher critical magnetic fields and critical temperatures Leiden enjoyed a monopoly on liquid helium research until after the first world war.

The history and industrial applications of superconductors

In a helium liquefier, based on the Leiden design, started operation at the University of Toronto. Four years later a helium liquefier capable of 10 liters per hour was started at the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt PTR near Berlin under the direction of Walther Meissner.Applications in industrial processing 22 Superconductivity: Properties, History, Applications and.

Challenges.

Superconductor Uses

Superconductors differ fundamentally in quantum physics behavior. from conventional materials in the manner by which electrons, or electric currents, move through the material.

Jul 18,  · ASG Superconductors - From research to industrial applications. caninariojana.com High temperature superconductor (HTS) materials, discovered in the , are now commercially available worldwide. The promise of low-cost HTS conductors coupled with reasonably priced refrigeration systems has encouraged application of this technology to a variety of magnets and power equipment. Superconductivity: Properties, History and Challenges Superconductors differ fundamentally in quantum physics behavior from conventional materials in the manner by which electrons, or electric currents, move through the material.

It is . Applications in industrial processing 22 Superconductivity: Properties, History, Applications and. Challenges. Superconductors differ fundamentally in quantum physics behavior. from conventional materials in the manner by which electrons, or electric currents, move through the material.

It is these differences. Superconductivity: Properties, History and Challenges Superconductors differ fundamentally in quantum physics behavior from conventional materials in the manner by which electrons, or electric currents, move through the material.

Superconductor applications: Immense promise for the future. Superconductors, which offer no resistance to electrical current and can repel magnetic fields, hold immense promise for .

This discovery of these "High Temperature Superconductors" sparked vast interest, and an entire industry dedicated to the research and commercial development of these . Superconductors already have drastically changed the world of medicine with the advent of MRI machines, which have meant a reduction in exploratory surgery.

Power utilities, electronics companies, the military, transportation, and theoretical physics have all .

Technological applications of superconductivity - Wikipedia