April 27, 2004

Superconducting wire

Nice write-up in the NY Times on recent advances in high-temperature superconducting. The definition of high-temperature means that it will work with Liquid Nitrogen (minus 321 degrees F) which is very very cheap as opposed to the earlier materials which needed Liquid Helium (minus 450 F). Liquid Nitrogen is so cheap that it is used for industrial cooling. The holy grail is to use these materials for electrical power transmission. The problem is that because they are ceramic, making a spool of the stuff is very difficult. Plus, it is brittle and the magnetic forces that accompany significant current carrying cause it to break. The article is a good one going into some of the history too. Posted by DaveH at April 27, 2004 4:54 PM