The Next Generation

Collins, G.P., "The Next Generation," September 2006, Scientific American, pg. 20-21

New Superconducting Wires come Closer to Market

The 1987 discovery of materials that conduct electricity perfectly at temperatures above the boiling point of nitrogen (-196 degrees Celcius) seemed to herald a revolutionary era of technology.  But turning the promise of these so-called high-temperature superconductors into commercial reality has proved to be a long, arduous task.  It is one thing to produce a small sample of a superconductor for experiments in a laboratory and quite another to manufacture hundreds of meters of high-quality wire for applications.  Until recently, the leading commercial high-temperature superconductor technology involved wires made of the elements bismuth, strontium, calcium, copper and oxygen (BSCC).  Now a second generation of wires, composed of yttrium, barium, copper and oxygen (YBCO), looks set to dominate the marketplace. [Read More]


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