WAZIPOINT Engineering Science & Technology: How Does Superconductor Work?

Saturday, October 21, 2023

How Does Superconductor Work?

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What is a superconductor? 

We want to know how does superconductor work and what is a superconductor material. The material that achieved the superconductivity property is known as a superconductor. Now, the question is what is the superconductivity property? How can a material achieve the superconductivity property?

This phenomenon was first discovered in 1911 by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, and it has since led to various technological advancements and applications.

Key Characteristics of Superconductor

Zero Electrical Resistance: Superconductors have no resistance to the flow of electrical current. This property allows for the efficient transmission of electricity over long distances and the creation of powerful electromagnets.

Meissner Effect: Superconductors expel magnetic fields from their interior when they become superconducting, a phenomenon known as the Meissner effect. This property makes them excellent for applications involving strong magnetic fields.

Critical Temperature (Tc): Each superconductor material has a specific critical temperature below which it becomes superconducting. This temperature varies from one material to another, and it can range from a few degrees above absolute zero (-273.15°C) to higher temperatures depending on the material.

Magnetic Flux Quantization: Superconductors exhibit quantized magnetic flux, meaning the magnetic field inside a superconductor is restricted to specific, discrete values. This behavior is a consequence of the Meissner effect and is used in various applications, including superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs) for sensitive magnetic field measurements.

Energy Efficiency: Superconductors can enable highly efficient electrical transmission and storage systems, as they can conduct electricity without loss. This has the potential to revolutionize power distribution and energy storage technologies.

Superconductors have a wide range of practical applications, including:

MRI Machines: Superconducting magnets are used in medical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines because they can generate powerful, stable magnetic fields.

Particle Accelerators: Superconducting materials are used in particle accelerators, such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), to create the strong magnetic fields needed to accelerate particles to high energies.

Electric Power Transmission: Superconducting power cables are being developed to transmit electricity over long distances with minimal loss, increasing the efficiency of electrical grids.

Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) Trains: Superconducting magnets are used in Maglev train systems for frictionless, high-speed transportation.

Research in Quantum Computing: Some superconducting materials are explored for their potential use in quantum computing due to their unique quantum properties.

While superconductors offer tremendous benefits, their practical use is limited by the need for extremely low temperatures. Researchers continue to explore ways to develop materials that exhibit superconductivity at higher, more accessible temperatures, which would expand their practical applications. These materials are known as "high-temperature superconductors."

The Superconductivity

Superconductivity is the state of a material, when a material achieves the superconductivity property means the material acts like- has no electrical resistance and does not allow any magnetic fields.
An electric current can persist indefinitely in a superconductor material.

Superconductor Materials

Examples of superconductor materials are Aluminium, Zinc, Cadmium, Mercury, Lead Niobium, magnesium diboride, and cuprates such as yttrium barium copper oxide, and iron pnictides.

Remarkably, the best conductors at room temperature (gold, silver, and copper) do not become superconducting at all. 

When a material can achieve superconductivity?

A material can achieve superconductivity property typically in super cold temperatures. Where copper power cable losses due to the electric resistance of the cable itself are inevitable, but in the superconductive state the electric resistance becomes zero and the resistive losses become zero. 
Superconductors require very cold temperatures, on the order of 39 kelvins (minus 234 C, minus 389 F) for conventional superconductors.


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