Advanced Energy Materials Group
Low-temperature superconducting wire research 1970-1986
Low-temperature (<20 K) superconducting (LTS) wires are
based on transition metal alloys, primarily niobium. The major application
of LTS wires is laboratory superconducting magnets, now existing by their
thousands, some producing fields exceeding 20 T. Fermilab, Brookhaven, DESY
and CERN all have accelerators composed of kilometres of LTS wire in
superconducting bending and focusing magnets. The medical technique of
magnetic resonance imaging was developed using very homogeneous,
persistent-mode LTS magnets, a business now exceeding US$3 billion per year.
Another emerging large-scale application of LTS wire is International Fusion
Reactor (ITER), now constructed in France. All of these applications are
based on two LTS materials, Nb-Ti (Tc = 9K) alloy or Nb3Sn (Tc = 18 K)
Applied Superconductivity Program at Brookhaven started in
early 70s as metallurgic studies of NbTi, V3Ga and Cu-Ga superconducting
alloys. These results were enabling for development of the industrial NbTi
technology. NbTi is widely used now for making primary magnets for MRI
Structure of Nb-Ti alloy. Nb47wt%Ti has the
disordered body-centred-cubic structure
Nb-Ti multi-filamentary wire produced in
Brookhaven in 70s.
Early 80s work focused on study of Nb3Sn wire technology.
An alloying route to enhance performance of Nb3Sn wire has been developed
, low loss alternating current electric cable designed and implemented
Development Nb3Sn phase in the bronze process.
The process has been refined at Brookhaven to produce Nb3Sn wires
with record properties
Effect of alloying of Nb3Sn with Ta and Ti.
Results of this work allowed for significant enhancement of Nb3Sn
wire performance. The technology is used in Nb3Sn wire production
Following a study in 1971 at Brookhaven National Laboratory
a 1000 MVA superconducting power transmission system based on niobium-tin
superconductor in flexible cables was constructed and operated from 1982
until 1986 . The results confirmed the technical feasibility of this
technology to move large blocks of electric power over long distances.
Layout of Nb3Sn superconducting transmission line
built in Brookhaven in 1982. The line could carry 1000 MWt of
electric power without losses.
- Okuda S, Suenaga M, and Sabatini R L, "Influence of Metallurgical
Factors on Superconducting Current Densities in Bronze-Processed Nb3sn
Multifilamentary Wires", Journal of Applied Physics, 54 (1983), pp:
- Bussiere J F, Garber M, and Suenaga M, "Ac Losses of Nb3sn", Ieee
Transactions on Magnetics, Ma11 (1975), pp: 324-327.
- Suenaga M, and Garber M, "Low-Loss Niobium-Tin Compound for
Superconducting Alternating-Current Power Transmission Applications",
Science, 183 (1974), pp: 952-954.
- Bussiere J F, Garber M, and Suenaga M, "Effect of Cladding Material
on Ac Losses of Commercial Nb3sn Tapes", Journal of Applied Physics, 45
(1974), pp: 4611-4616.
- Forsyth E B, and Thomas R A, "Performance summary of the Brookhaven
superconducting power transmission system", Cryogenics, 26 (1986), pp:
Last Modified: February 3, 2010
Please forward all questions about this site to: