High temperature superconductivity

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by billvon, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    One of the holy grails in science is the room temperature superconductor. It's important because a superconductor transmits both heat and electrical power with zero loss, which would make motors, transmission lines, heat pipes etc far more efficient and practical.

    For a long time metals had to be at liquid helium temperatures to exhibit superconductivity. Then they discovered ceramics which exhibited superconductivity at -135C. Which is still really cold, but you can get to that with liquid nitrogen which is MUCH easier to create and handle than liquid helium.

    Today they announced a material - a lanthanum hydride - which is a superconductor up to -23C, which is a cold day in Canada. They have even seen some signs that it may be superconducting up to 7C, which we saw last night here in San Diego. It needs to be under tremendous pressure (170GPa, about 24 million PSI) but it's a lot easier to maintain pressure than temperature.

    This is the first time that a material in "normal" temperatures (i.e. temperatures people regularly see) has exhibited superconductivity, and paves the way for much more efficient power lines, motors and electrical devices.

    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/new-hydrogen-rich-compound-may-be-record-breaking-superconductor
     
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  3. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Think it says minus 13 degrees(and plus 7) in that story.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
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  5. TabbyStar Registered Member

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    So if leakage is not an issue, a pressurized vessel only requires initial energy...after that the pressurized condition remains stable without further input. Very interesting. My first question is I wonder if there is a upper limit to psi? In other words, if pressure brought superconductivity to higher temperatures...can they continue testing even higher pressures for further improvements.

    I hope to search and read more. Thanks for starting my knowledge quest here on this subject

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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Right. It should be noted that that is a LOT of pressure; you need very specialized equipment to maintain it in even small areas. The highest anyone has ever gone is about 700 GPa, and that was with a big lab full of very expensive equipment.
     
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  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I suppose there is a trade-off between the technology needed to maintain high pressures and the technology needed to maintain low temperatures. The pressures in this case seem pretty exotic. But then it's a research project, presumably with the aim of understanding the solid-state physics and chemistry better so to engineer more materials which don't need quite so much pressure.
     

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