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[en] A key issue affecting the critical current density of MgB2 is the lack of full electrical connectivity. In situ MgB2 wires can be easily fabricated by reacting Mg powder with amorphous B powder, but such powders normally contain impurities such as B2O3 as a result of exposure to air. Here we introduce a practical method for removing B2O3 prior to making MgB2. X-ray diffraction and microstructure analysis show that removing B2O3 results in a decrease in MgO from 5.3 to 1.5 mol% in the final reacted MgB2. Normal state transport measurements using the Rowell analysis indicate that the active current-carrying area fraction (AF) increased from ∼0.25 to ∼0.48 in MgB2 made with purified B. These results demonstrate that intergranular MgO is an important current barrier in MgB2 and that it can be significantly reduced by boron purification. (rapid communication)
[en] In this study, we used a systematic route to optimize the fluorine-free MOD process to achieve a high critical current density (Jc) in BaZrO3 (BZO)-doped YBCO films on RABiTS substrates. The BZO content is given by 1 YBCO+x BZO films, where x is moles of BZO per 1 mole of YBCO. We found x = 0.10 to be the optimal BZO content and ∼795–805 °C to be the optimal growth temperature window with 60–90 min processing time. TEM studies show the BZO nanoparticles are ∼20 nm in size and spaced ∼50–100 nm apart. The in-field Jc and the peak pinning force (Fp) of the film grown at the optimal conditions were greatly increased at 77 K relative to pure YBCO films, achieving ∼6.7 GN m−3 at 77 K, H ‖ c in a ∼800 nm thick x = 0.10 film. The angular dependence of in-field Jc measurements also shows greatly reduced angular anisotropy at 1 and 4 T at 77 K due to isotropic pinning by BZO nanoparticles. (paper)
[en] In this study, BaZrO3 (BZO)-doped YBCO films were fabricated on SrTiO3(100) single-crystal substrates by a fluorine-free metal–organic deposition (MOD) process. We added extra Ba and Zr organic salts, which formed well-dispersed ∼10–25 nm sized BaZrO3 nanoparticles in the YBCO films. The in-field critical current density (Jc) and the peak pinning force (Fp) were greatly enhanced in the BZO-doped sample at 77 K relative to pure YBCO films. The optimal BZO content that gave the highest peak pinning force of ∼10 GN m−3 in a ∼180 nm thick film was found to be x = 0.10 for YBCO + xBZO films, where x is moles of BZO per 1 mol of YBCO. The angular dependence of in-field Jc measurements shows the BZO nanoparticles increased Jc over the entire angular range and also reduced the angular anisotropy measured at 4 T at 77 K. (paper)
[en] BaFe2As2 (Ba-122) and Ba0.6K0.4Fe2As2 (K-doped Ba-122) powders were successfully synthesized from the elements using a reaction method that incorporates a mechanochemical reaction using high-impact ball milling. Mechanically activated, self-sustaining reactions (MSRs) were observed while milling the elements together to form these compounds. After the MSR, the Ba-122 phase had formed, the powder had an average grain size <1 μm, and the material was effectively mixed. X-ray diffraction confirmed Ba-122 was the primary phase present after milling. Heat treatment of the K-doped MSR powder at high temperature (1120 ° C) and pressure yielded dense samples with high phase purity, but only granular current flow could be visualized by magneto-optical imaging. In contrast, a short, low temperature (600 ° C) heat treatment at ambient pressure resulted in global current flow throughout the bulk sample even though the density was lower and impurity phases were more prevalent. An optimized heat treatment involving a two-step, low temperature (600 ° C) heat treatment of the MSR powder produced bulk material with very high critical current density above 0.1 MA cm−2 at 4.2 K and self-field (SF). (paper)
[en] Overpressure (OP) processing increases the critical current density ( of Bi2Sr2CaCu2Ox (2212) round wires by shrinking the surrounding Ag matrix around the 2212 filaments, driving them close to full density and greatly increasing the 2212 grain connectivity. Indeed densification is vital for attaining the highest Here, we investigate the time and temperature dependence of the wire densification. We find that the wire diameter decreases by 3.8 ± 0.3% after full heat treatment at 50 atm and 100 atm OP. At 50 atm OP pressure, the filaments start densifying above 700 °C and reach a 3.30 ± 0.07% smaller diameter after 2 h at 820 °C, which is below the melting point of 2212 powder. The densification is homogeneous and does not change the filament shape before melting. The growth of non-superconducting phases is observed at 820 °C, suggesting that time should be minimized at high temperature prior to melting the 2212 powder. Study of an open-ended 2.2 m long wire sample shows that full densification and the high OP ( varies by about 3.1 times over the 2.2 m long wire) is reached about 1 m from the open ends, thus showing that coil-length wires can be protected from leaky seals by adding at least 1 m of sacrificial wire at each end. (paper)
[en] Increasing the critical current density (Jc) of the multifilamentary round wire Ag/Bi2Sr2CaCu2Ox(2212) requires understanding its complicated microstructure, in which extensive bridges between filaments are prominent. In this first through-process quench study of 2212 round wire, we determined how its microstructure develops during a standard partial-melt process and how filament bridging occurs. We found that filaments can bond together in the melt state. As 2212 starts to grow on subsequent cooling, we observed that two types of 2212 bridges form. One type, which we call Type-A bridges, forms within filaments that bonded in the melt; Type-A bridges are single grains that span multiple bonded filaments. The other type, called Type-B bridges, form between discrete filaments through 2212 outgrowths that penetrate into the Ag matrix and intersect with other 2212 outgrowths from adjacent filaments. We believe the ability of these two types of bridges to carry inter-filament current is intrinsically different: Type-A bridges are high- Jc inter-filament paths whereas Type-B bridges contain high-angle grain boundaries and are typically weak linked. Slow cooling leads to more filament bonding, more Type-A bridges and a doubling of Jc without changing the flux pinning. We suggest that Type-A bridges create a 3D current flow that is vital to developing high Jc in multifilamentary 2212 round wire.
[en] We have developed TiO_2 coating on Ag-alloy sheathed Bi_2Sr_2CaCu_2O_8_−_x (Bi-2212) round-wire conductor for electrical insulation in Bi-2212 magnets. The green coating has a base layer comprised of TiO_2, polyvinyl butyral (PVB) and a small amount of polysilicate and a top layer made of polyacrylic. The coating was applied on the conductor using a continuous reel-to-reel dip coating process and showed very good adherence and flexibility that is suitable for magnet coil winding. The thickness of the coating is a function of slurry viscosity, wire withdrawal speed and wire radius. Small test coils were built with the coated Bi-2212 round-wires and were heat treated at 100 atm pressure. During the heat treatment, the PVB and polyacrylic were removed from the green coating and the polysilicate decomposed to SiO_2 that served as a sintering aid for TiO_2. After the heat treatment, the coating remained strongly adhered to the conductor and did not have a detrimental effect on the critical current (I_c) values. The breakdown voltage was about 150 V across a 7 μm thick heat treated coating on Bi-22112 round-wire conductor, corresponding to a dc dielectric strength of about 21 MV m"−"1. (paper)
[en] The poor reproducibility of intergrain critical current density Jc in Fe-based superconductors is often believed to result from uncontrolled grain boundary (GB) connectivity degraded by extrinsic factors such as the local or global impurity concentration or GB porosity or cracks. Earlier we found that Ba and K can appear as oxide impurities at GBs, along with GB-wetting FeAs. In this study, we evaluated how the sample preparation environment and purity of the starting materials influence the polycrystalline Jc in K-doped BaFe2As2 (Ba122) bulks. Using a high-performance glovebox, the oxygen and water levels were significantly reduced, eliminating traces of FeAs. Oxide impurities and Ba (or K) segregation associated with oxygen in the starting materials were significantly reduced by using high purity starting materials. This combination essentially doubled the best Jc(4.2 K) values to 2.3 × 105 at self-field and 1.6 × 104A cm−2 at 10 T and analytical scanning transmission electron microscopy showed no GB or O segregation in the best samples, but did show dark Z-contrast and distinct nanoscale porosity. Our work shows that an inert synthesis environment and high purity K and Ba do reduce current-blocking oxygen impurity and GB impurity phases, allowing deeper exploration of the role of extrinsic and intrinsic GB blocking effects in controlling the Jc of polycrystalline Ba122. (paper)
[en] Overpressure (OP) processing of wind-and-react Bi2Sr2CaCu2Ox (2212) round wire compresses the wire to almost full density, decreasing its diameter by about 4% without change in wire length and substantially raising its J C. However, such shrinkage can degrade coil winding pack density and magnetic field homogeneity. To address this issue, we here present an overpressure predensification (OP-PD) heat treatment process performed before melting the 2212, which greatly reduces wire diameter shrinkage during the full OP heat treatment (OP-HT). We found that about 80% of the total wire diameter shrinkage occurs during the 50 atm OP-PD before melting. We successfully wound such pre-densified 1.2 mm diameter wires onto coil mandrels as small as 10 mm diameter for Ag–Mg-sheathed wire and 5 mm for Ag-sheathed wire, even though such small diameters impose plastic strains up to 12% on the conductor. A further ∼20% shrinkage occurred during a standard OP-HT. No 2212 leakage was observed for coil diameters as small as 20 mm for Ag–Mg-sheathed wire and 10 mm for Ag-sheathed wire, and no J C degradation was observed on straight samples and 30 mm diameter coils. (paper)
[en] It is well known that the critical current density Jc of multifilamentary Bi-2212 wires tends to decline as the wire length increases, but the reasons for and the magnitude of this decline remain obscure and quantitatively unpredictable. Here we report on the Jc and mass density variation with length on ∼ 1 m long samples taken from two recent and representative wires, in which we find a strong decrease of Jc with distance from the end and a strong correlation between Jc and the local mass density. The mass density variations occur on length scales of centimeters, many times the nominal 15 μm filament diameter. The cause of the mass density variation appears to be internal gas pressure that generates bubbles which almost fill the filament diameter when the Bi-2212 melts. Control of this internal pressure seems to be vital to moderating or avoiding the length dependence of Jc.