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For state-of-the-art superconductors, NIST investigates the mechanical behavior of RABiTS. (General Developments).

One of the major challenges facing the development of an economical, practical, high-temperature superconductor has been the extremely weak mechanical behavior of Y-Ba-Cu-O coated onto rolling-aligned biaxially textured substrates (RABiTS). The RABiTS process is of great interest because it has the potential to be easily scalable to fabricate industrial quantities of this promising superconductor.

In the past several months, a private company has produced a new RABiTS coated conductor with substrates made of nickel plus 0.05 mass fraction tungsten. NIST scientists have completed a series of experiments using their specialized equipment for both transverse stress and transport current to measure the electromechanical performance of this new coated superconductor.

The results are striking. The NIST data show that in repeated testing the critical current (the maximum current the conductor can carry) is degraded by only 1 % to 5 % at the benchmark 100 MPa stress level. This result is one of the keys for opening the path for commercialization of RABiTS coated conductors. Projections are that this conductor could be manufactured at about $10 per kiloamperemeter. This cost would be competitive with copper in transformers and in other electric utility applications, and far less expensive than copper for increasing the capacity of underground transmission lines in urban areas.

Until now, the RABiTS process had worked only with soft, pure nickel substrates. Earlier NIST measurements showed that the critical current with nickel substrates degraded by as much as 28 % at the benchmark 100 MPa stress level, which made it unacceptable for use as a practical conductor in many applications.

NIST's electromechanical test capability for superconductors is one of the few test facilities of its kind in the world, and the only one providing specialized measurements for United States superconductor manufacturers.

CONTACT: Jack Ekin, (303) 497-5448;
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Title Annotation:rolling-aligned biaxially textured substrates
Publication:Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Previous Article:NIST's Jin recognized by Discover Magazine. (General Developments).
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