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AMERICAN SUPERCONDUCTOR GAINS PATENT APPROVAL FOR KEY MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

 AMERICAN SUPERCONDUCTOR GAINS PATENT APPROVAL FOR KEY
 MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY
 WATERTOWN, Mass., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Patent Office has granted a key manufacturing patent that provides American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:AMSC) with exclusive rights to technology -- scalable to full production runs -- for making durable, flexible superconducting wires, the firm announced today.
 American Superconductor is the sole licensee, worldwide, for the technology, known as the "metallic precursor" process, that was developed by the firm's founders while on faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
 Under proper conditions, superconductors carry electricity with near-perfect efficiency -- making them highly desirable in applications such as generators, motors, power transmission lines and energy storage devices. Integrating superconductors into commercial products demands they be tough enough to withstand the severe handling involved in manufacturing and strong enough to resist the stresses of regular use. At the same time, they must maintain their special electrical properties.
 Metallic precursor technology meets these tests by producing fine filaments of superconductor in a metal sheath. Together, they form a wire that is durable and flexible. In five years of developing proprietary know-how with the method, the firm has perfected techniques to manufacture wires that can be twisted or wound into, for example, the wire coil of an electric motor. The process is scalable, and has been used to produce wires and flat electrical tapes, all in long lengths that maintain their desired electrical characteristics.
 "This patent allowance provides American Superconductor with a dominant proprietary position in the production of superconducting wires by the metallic precursor process," said President and CEO Greg Yurek. "Technology covered by this patent provides a means to make superconducting wires that have all the characteristics needed to create commercially viable products."
 The patented process, which results in a superconducting wire, actually begins with metallic precursors as a finely ground powder. Black and grainy in appearance, the powders are packed into a metal jacket, which is shaped into a wire and then heated. A chemical reaction during the heating process transforms the powder in the core of the wire into a superconductor.
 The end product is a flexible, high-temperature superconducting wire, the type now being incorporated in demonstration models of motors and cables that take advantage of the technology. The patent announced today covers this basic concept of making a superconductor from a metallic precursor powder.
 A number of related patents have already been granted to American Superconductor, either as the patent holder or as the exclusive licensee. These cover manufacturing and welding of superconducting wires, as well as making magnetic coils from these wires. Patent approval comes on the heels of a just-announced expansion of the firm's program with Inco Alloys International to increase production and qualification of metallic precursor powders. Inco provides expertise in the area of manufacturing and manufacturing scale-up that complements American Superconductor's production and manufacturing capabilities.
 American Superconductor creates and develops materials and manufacturing processes for making flexible high temperature ceramic superconducting wires and wire products. The firm develops a broad range of high temperature superconductors in the form of multistrand conductors and magnetic coils, and is the largest industrial effort in the world dedicated to their production.
 -0- 5/5/92
 /CONTACT: Gregory J. Yurek of American Superconductor Corp., 617- 923-1122; or Jack Jackson of Miller Communications, 617-536-0470, for American Superconductor; or John Preston of MIT, 617-253-6966/ CO: American Superconductor Corporation ST: Massachusetts IN: CPR SU:


DH -- NE014 -- 6437 05/05/92 10:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 5, 1992
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