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back to article Cambridge's tiny superconducting magnet breaks strength record

Boffins at the University of Cambridge say they've packed the equivalent of three tonnes of magnetic force into a superconducting material roughly the size of a golf ball. In what they call a “trapped field” experiment, the university says its researchers managed to cram a 17.6 Tesla magnetic field into the brittle “high …

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Liquid WHAT?

Um, a high-temperature superconductor is one that doesn't need liquid helium. Liquid nitrogen is exactly what one does use to cool down the high-temperature ones.

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Unhappy

Re: Liquid WHAT?

yes, a real pity the reports of room temperature superconductors have not been replcated ove the years. Odd to think of liquid nitrogen as warm though :-)

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Boffin

Re: Liquid WHAT?

It's more that liquid nitrogen is cheap (about as much as milk was the cost I've been told), due to it's abundance (~78% of the air). Liquid helium can be manufactured in just the same way, but at 0.0005% by volume in air, it's quite a bit more expensive than LN2.

You will also have the interesting problem of finding something to do with 150,000 litres of liquid nitrogen for every litre of liquid helium you produce.

Oh yeah, and liquid helium is a superfluid, so if you poured it into a cup it would just climb up the sides.

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Re: Liquid WHAT?

You will also have the interesting problem of finding something to do with 150,000 litres of liquid nitrogen for every litre of liquid helium you produce.

Make 75000 litres of ice-cream?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: liquid helium is a superfluid

Not at it's boiling point though, you need to keep it a bit cooler than that. And that's not exactly something that happens by accident.

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Pint

excellent boffinry there

real physics and engineering, what not to like ?

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Brittle

Certainly the word for a material which can break up under its own magnetic field. When we saw a sample a number of years ago, someone suggested that if a real room temperature version could be achieved, it would be an extremely useful way of protecting power semiconductors from short circuits.

How feasible maglevs with liquid nitrogen coolers on board will be, given the difficulties of running conventional railways with quite ordinary power electrics, is left as an exercise to the reader.

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Re: Brittle

protecting power semiconductors from short circuits

That would certainly beat the exploding tantal capacitor.

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Trollface

Re: Brittle

but nearly as exciting!

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Anonymous Coward

Three tonnes of force?

Really, Reg, I expected better!

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Re: Three tonnes of force?

Will 29.43kN make you feel happier?

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Re: Three tonnes of force?

How many elephants is that?

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Re: Three tonnes of force?

That's around 300 Norrises.

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Re: Three tonnes of force?

What's that in female Russian shot-putter thigh-squeezes?

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Thumb Up

Very impressive.

Historically room temperature magnets have managed about a 60:1 force to mass ratio (which on its own is pretty impressive)

This thing is at least 3000:1 .

Sadly as the article notes magnet improvements are relatively slow, given the previous record has stood since 2004.

Other neat stuff that high power magnets improve are most kinds of fusion system (both conventional TOKAMAK and less mainstream designs) and Ion drives for spacecraft.

Not forgetting the potential for ridiculously expensive headphones for DJ's

Well done boffins.

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Re: Very impressive.

"Not forgetting the potential for ridiculously expensive headphones for DJ's"

Beats by Dr Dre already managed that for everyone without any of this magnetic science mumbo-jumbo

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Re: Very impressive.

I like the idea of anyone wearing Beats having their head frozen in liquid nitrogen...

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Joke

@NightFox

"Beats by Dr Dre already managed that for everyone without any of this magnetic science mumbo-jumbo"

Trust me "Supercon" (TM) headphones will make "Beats by Dr Dre" look budget priced by comparison.

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Re: Three tonnes of force?

3 million tic tac's (Orange ones)

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Re: Three tonnes of force?

<Pedantic>

A 24 gr Tic Tac box has 50 Tic Tacs (Wikipedia dixit).

So it should be 6,25 million Tic Tacs.

</Pedantic>

(for some reason, Firefox doesn't show me the icon selection, so that's why I used tags)

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OK which one of you jokers stuck this thing on the fridge. We can't pry it off.

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Boffin

GdBCO?

Gadolinium Barium Copper Oxide is usually represented with the symbol(s), GdBaCuO.

Gd for Gadolinium;

Ba for Barium;

Cu for Copper, and O for Oxygen.

To be even more pedantic, B would be the chemical symbol for Boron;

C would be the chemical symbol for Carbon.

So did they actually use Gadolinium Barium Copper Oxide? Or did they use Gadolinium Boron Carbon Monoxide?

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Re: GdBCO?

Ahhh, good point - no wonder I haven't been able to drag cars across the road or aircraft out of the sky despite all my efforts so far today

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah yeah...

But when can I expect to be able to buy them in Skull Candy Earbudz for mega bass?

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Coat

Superconducter?

I barely knew 'er!

/mine's the one with old joke book in pocket

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Anonymous Coward

Re. HTSC

Isn't gadolinium chemically similar to yttrium, used in the famous 1-2-3 material?

Also worth mentioning, there is a link between dielectric strength and Tc so adding manganese to a given material may substantially boost Tc at the expense of Jc.

The highest Tc material I am aware of is TaBaCu3Ox which superconducts at -9C according to some researchers but the useable fraction is vanishingly low.

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