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Name:  Renee Grosser
Status:  student
Age:  14
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

I would like to know if there are any "new materials" or man-made elements used in superconducting magnets? What are they? Also what is the process used to make superconducting magnets? Renee (In 1999 to present - Feb 2001)

Hello Renee :

Superconducting magnets are made from compounds that are superconducting, of which there are three different types, which I will refer to as

1) metallic elements and alloys, such as mercury or niobium-tin. see for more information

2) ceramic

The first becomes superconducting only at VERY low temperatures, requiring liquid helium for cooling. The second is the newest, and has the general formula

M N(2) Cu(3) O(7+-x)

where M is an element such as lanthanum or yttrium and N is an element such as barium. This material has generated excitement because it becomes superconducting at much higher temperatures then the other two types, requiring liquid nitrogen for cooling, which is much less expensive than liquid helium and much easier to maintain, in terms of experimental equipment. See for more information

Neither of these two types of superconducting compounds contain man-made elements.

The first type of superconductor is cast as a solid piece from a melt, while the third is made as a powder and either pressed into solid shapes, or embedded into a metal, which is in the form of a ribbon.

Good luck,
Jim Rubin

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