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Superconductors with sections at room temp

Posted by: Sean Girling - Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:44 pm
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Superconductors with sections at room temp 
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Post Superconductors with sections at room temp   Posted on: Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:44 pm
Hi guys, here is an interesting development. It seems that you don't need all of the superconducting wire to be cooled, just that some parts of it are chilled to make up for the parts that aren't. This may become very useful. I imagine substations along a cable route, chilling sections to allow the whole to be superconductive. Does anyone know how much energy is lost during power transmission through cable resistance for overhead power lines? And will the amount saved be enough to power the refrigeration units?

For more, here's a link to the NewScientist article.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg2 ... -cold.html

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Post Re: Superconductors with sections at room temp   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:29 am
But the question is then whether or not it would be worth changing the power lines.


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Post Re: Superconductors with sections at room temp   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:46 am
Or maybe only a tiny portion of my superconducting super computer needs to be cold, reducing the need for huge coolers or cryogenic systems. A power supply sized refrigerant unit in your desktop computer, for instance! Mmm! Okay, that's a bit of a large step from seeing the effect in a wire, but the possibilities are interesting.

Lastly, perhaps a cable hanging from a space station, through a planets magnetic field, will be able to generate a decent current if the cable is able to be superconductive at the temperatures found in orbit (neatly avoided showing that I can't think what a sunlight shielded orbital temperature might be, other than cold).

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Post Re: Superconductors with sections at room temp   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:25 pm
Superconducting power cables are already in use, in fact. See e.g. http://www.supercables.com/.

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Post Re: Superconductors with sections at room temp   Posted on: Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:00 am
Yes indeed, however, they are required to cool the entire cable run down to about -200degC. In the future, they'll be able to cool only some of it to that, and the rest can be laid normally. The energy required to use superconducting cable can be reduced, and the cable can now be run in places where previously there may have been difficulties of installation or environment.

Anyway, we're yet to find out just how many points along the length of the run need to be cooled, and it is still quite difficult to cool anything down to less than -200degC, even if we only need to concentrate on a couple of centimetres.

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Post Re: Superconductors with sections at room temp   Posted on: Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:21 am
Isn't it true that superconductors can levitate objects?


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Post Re: Superconductors with sections at room temp   Posted on: Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:26 pm
What do superconductors have to do with space?

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Post Re: Superconductors with sections at room temp   Posted on: Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:04 am
One of our greatest problems in space exploration is the availability of power. If we simply had a plug socket with a couple of megawatts on tap, then all would be fine. However, it's not like that. Superconductivity could well go some way to helping out in this regard.

With superconducters, you can produce very powerful magnets, which in the future may well be a way of generating an artificial magnetosphere around a spacecraft or Martian base.

Hec, with superconductive cables hanging through a planets magnetic field, the current induced in the cable may well provide all the power a space station ever needs. Mmm! May have to get someone with greater smarts to do the calcs on that actually. Anyway, superconductors in space are very relevant, and those that don't need cooling, even more so.

Only my own opinion of course.

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