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Superconducting materials: Environment-friendly energy solutions for the 21st century

Superconductivity has been and will continue to be a field of great scientific discoveries. It is an important enabling technology for the 21st century power system. It will greatly improve the efficiency and quality in the generation, storage, transmission, and usage of electricity.

The discovery of high temperature superconductivity stirred such public and political interests that in the summer of 1987 the White House decided to hold a Presidential Conference on Superconductivity exclusively for US scientists. It seemed that the technology breakthroughs and international competition were imminent. However, people soon realized that tremendous research and development effort and international collaboration are necessary to deliver the benefits of superconducting technologies.

The practical application of bulk high temperature superconductors depends on the development of processing and fabrication methods to achieve high critical current density in a magnetic field in a useful form. For commercial application in high field magnets, energy storage devices, motors and generators, and power transmission cables, they need to be manufactured into composite multifilamentary wires with a metal substrate. Therefore, superconducting wire technology is the key for the energy applications of the superconducting materials.

Our research at Acroscape focuses on the development of innovative and advanced materials and manufacturing processes for the superconducting wires that have a high potential for improved conductor performance and low fabrication costs. To make these brittle ceramic oxides or compounds into flexible wires that can carry a very large amount of electricity without electrical resistance is a tough job. Our extensive research and industrial experiences enable us to develop some unique solutions to the exciting and demanding challenges. We currently have several issued and pending patents in this important technological area with great commercial potentials in the near future. For a demonstration, please visit our virtual lab .

The idea of the third generation superconductig wires may finally make large scale applications of high temperature superconducting materials a reality.

For the latest development on superconducting materials, please refer to High Tc update, an international information newsletter on high temperature superconducting materials hosted at Iowa State University.

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