*Very* high temperature superconductors

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zenten
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*Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby zenten » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:05 am UTC

So, lets suppose someone invents a material tomorrow with the following properties:

It's a superconductor, with a critical temperature of 200 C (yes, C, not K).

It has a critical magnetic field at zero Kelvin of Bc(0) = 50 T.

You can use the following webpage to figure out what effects those properties have: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hb ... scbc2.html

In terms of the other properties assume it has the cost, weight, brittleness, and everything else like the silicon wafers used today for typical consumer electronics, and can be printed into chips in similar manner as silicon wafers.

Lets also disregard things like using patents to bump up the cost, as well as the fact that you'd expect it to take some time to manufacturer this in sufficient quantity to meet demand.

So, what could you do with them? I'm pretty much stuck at cheaper versions of what we use superconductors for now, as well as "really good smartphones", but there has to be other more out there uses, right? How would something like this change society?

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby idobox » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:48 am UTC

Maglev everywhere for everything, including to replace the wheels on my desk chair.
The one you want hear: replace batteries. Because they pack so much energy, they could also be used as explosives, or super-powered magnets.
Josephson junction are very good components, and with quiterons, they could replace silicon all together. A common use of such junctions are in SQUIDs, devices able to measure very small magnetic fields, for example to map currents in brain in 3D from outside, if you could get rid of the helium cooling, the machines would be much cheaper and smaller, and allow great brain-machine interfaces.
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bouer
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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby bouer » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:30 am UTC

Extremely fast and low loss electricity transport around the world, including connection of European and North American power grids. (We'd have to figure out whether to use 50 or 60 Hertz, but the benefits would almost certainly outway the costs, imagine never having blackouts or brownouts ever again.)
Flywheels could become much better, although I don't know if they would be able to compete with other methods of using superconductors for energy storage.
Desk toys!
Significant increases in efficiency of pretty much everything, turbines in power generators, rotors in fans, car motors, etc.
Could probably be used to make electric weaponry, gauss cannons, coil guns, etc. more feasible.
I think I've heard superconductors have interesting optical properties too, although I'll have to do more research on that.

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby zenten » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:27 am UTC

So I get that "hover cars", as in personal transport vehicles that use the superconductors to levitate would be possible. My question is would they make economic sense? Would you get significant energy savings over wheels (keeping in mind we'd be talking about cars where the wheels are turning from electric motors using superconductors, and power storage using superconductors), and would it be enough to offset the cost of making roads out of much more expensive and shorter lasting materials?

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby idobox » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:09 pm UTC

bouer wrote:Extremely fast and low loss electricity transport around the world, including connection of European and North American power grids. (We'd have to figure out whether to use 50 or 60 Hertz, but the benefits would almost certainly outway the costs, imagine never having blackouts or brownouts ever again.)

If we assume cost and brittleness comparable to silicon wafers, superconductors would be too expensive for long distance connection.
Also, you would want to use DC because superconductors have 0 resistance only for DC current, and at this scale, phase differences matter.

zenten wrote:So I get that "hover cars", as in personal transport vehicles that use the superconductors to levitate would be possible. My question is would they make economic sense? Would you get significant energy savings over wheels (keeping in mind we'd be talking about cars where the wheels are turning from electric motors using superconductors, and power storage using superconductors), and would it be enough to offset the cost of making roads out of much more expensive and shorter lasting materials?

levitating cars are a terrible idea. First, you would have to replace all roads by permanent magnets or electromagnets.
Second, you now have to find a way to accelerate, brake, and turn.

An alternative that makes more sense would be to allow cars to ride maglev tracks, with the power provided by the track. These could work like highways, with a toll to pay for maintenance and power, and the car being propelled to destination without you doing anything.
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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:19 pm UTC

idobox wrote:levitating cars are a terrible idea. First, you would have to replace all roads by permanent magnets or electromagnets.
Second, you now have to find a way to accelerate, brake, and turn.

An alternative that makes more sense would be to allow cars to ride maglev tracks, with the power provided by the track. These could work like highways, with a toll to pay for maintenance and power, and the car being propelled to destination without you doing anything.

Is there any way to use superconductors to produce a field capable of inducing a magnetic field in asphalt that would allow for maglev cars?

Also, could we use superconductors to more efficiently ionize air, creating repulsor thrusters?

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby idobox » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:07 pm UTC

I don't think asphalt is diamagnetic, sadly.
An other option would be to put aluminium sheet on (or under) all roads, and use superconductor electromagnets in cars. When the car moves, it will generate eddy current and can levitate. The car still needs wheel at low speed though.

Ionizing air is easy, it just requires a lot of energy, superconductors wouldn't help, and ion thrusters are not useful at 1 atm or at 1g.

And friction with the ground is good for a car. Try to drive on ice to get an idea of what happens without it.
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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:17 pm UTC

idobox wrote:An other option would be to put aluminium sheet on (or under) all roads, and use superconductor electromagnets in cars. When the car moves, it will generate eddy current and can levitate. The car still needs wheel at low speed though.

But they can be cool receding-into-the-body-to-reduce-drag ones, like in science fiction, so that's all we need. Heh.

Unless there's a way to pair up electromagnets to induce a current for maglev while stationary.

Ionizing air is easy, it just requires a lot of energy, superconductors wouldn't help, and ion thrusters are not useful at 1 atm or at 1g.

Not even if you're using air to do it? That's how Movie Iron Man's repulsors work, right?

And friction with the ground is good for a car. Try to drive on ice to get an idea of what happens without it.

Pah. Friction? Ain't nobody got time for dat.

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby idobox » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:14 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:Unless there's a way to pair up electromagnets to induce a current for maglev while stationary.

Wheels are good, notably because they work almost anywhere. It is possible to levitate while stationary, but it requires a different system.
The main reason maglev trains want to get rid of wheels is because of the vibrations. Also, linear motors can have stronger accelerations than steel wheels on steel rails. If your car just levitates, you have something that behaves a lot like a hovercraft, which is not very useful on land.

davidstarlingm wrote:Not even if you're using air to do it? That's how Movie Iron Man's repulsors work, right?

I'm not sure how they work. Ionizing air requires a lot of energy, and results in a lot of heat. A flame, for example, is partly ionized, because it is not hot enough to be fully ionized.Apparently you need to get in the thousands of kelvin to get significant ionization.
Even if you use a cold method for ionization, ions will recombine and release a lot of power.

Fans are very good at moving air, and you can't get much better than that.
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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby davidstarlingm » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:06 pm UTC

idobox wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:Not even if you're using air to do it? That's how Movie Iron Man's repulsors work, right?

I'm not sure how they work. Ionizing air requires a lot of energy, and results in a lot of heat. A flame, for example, is partly ionized, because it is not hot enough to be fully ionized.

Apparently you need to get in the thousands of kelvin to get significant ionization.

Even if you use a cold method for ionization, ions will recombine and release a lot of power.

Fans are very good at moving air, and you can't get much better than that.

But they don't result in a very high exhaust velocity, which sorely limits the use of ducted fans for producing thrust.

I was trying to think of a physical explanation for Movie Iron Man's repulsors. His Mark II and subsequent suits can produce enough thrust to hover indefinitely, so it's obvious he's not carrying his own reaction mass like a typical rocket (unlike his Mark I suit and the Iron Monger suit in the film). The only possibility I could think of was that his repulsors use the air as a working mass (which would explain why he was unsure how high they would allow him to fly when he was first testing the Mark II).

I was thinking something like this: if the arc reactor can give his repulsor pads an extremely high electrostatic potential, they could ionize a layer of air directly in front of them. Then, passing a single-frequency sound wave through that ionized air would cause a repulsive effect (the peaks would cause repulsion because they'd be pushing ions together, and the valleys would cause repulsion by physically separating the ions). Would that work?

And could high-temperature superconductors be used to create high electrostatic potentials more efficiently?

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby idobox » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:19 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:I was thinking something like this: if the arc reactor can give his repulsor pads an extremely high electrostatic potential, they could ionize a layer of air directly in front of them. Then, passing a single-frequency sound wave through that ionized air would cause a repulsive effect (the peaks would cause repulsion because they'd be pushing ions together, and the valleys would cause repulsion by physically separating the ions). Would that work?

Sound waves already generate thrust, but not a lot.
This system sounds awfully inefficient.
A simpler system would be an arcjet. It's a form of jet engine where energy is given to the reaction mass by electric arcs. I'm not sure you could build one that thin though.
Another option would be a ion thruster. A high power ionocraft, or magnetoplasmadynamic thruster could fit the bill. But both these technologies are very inefficient at 1atm, and would release a lot of waste heat (not something an engineer would want, but the thrusters look hot in the movie)
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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:36 pm UTC

idobox wrote:Sound waves already generate thrust, but not a lot.
This system sounds awfully inefficient.

It depends on whether you're wasting energy with your electrostatic attractors, or if the energy is . If the single-frequency ultrasoundwave was properly tuned to the parameters required by ions formed from ambient air, all its energy could be directly converted into thrust.

The ionization voltage of atmospheric air is around 7500 volts; if it's possible to maintain this kind of a potential without considerable energy drain, you can produce a nice layer of glowy ions. I'm not sure whether a properly-tuned ultrasoundwave passed through the layer would generate thrust, though.

It's the only way I can think of to get glowy thrust out of a stable energy source with no internally-carried reaction mass. Any other ideas? The whole no-internal-reaction-mass thing is a pretty significant limiting factor.

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby zenten » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:19 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
idobox wrote:Sound waves already generate thrust, but not a lot.
This system sounds awfully inefficient.

It depends on whether you're wasting energy with your electrostatic attractors, or if the energy is . If the single-frequency ultrasoundwave was properly tuned to the parameters required by ions formed from ambient air, all its energy could be directly converted into thrust.

The ionization voltage of atmospheric air is around 7500 volts; if it's possible to maintain this kind of a potential without considerable energy drain, you can produce a nice layer of glowy ions. I'm not sure whether a properly-tuned ultrasoundwave passed through the layer would generate thrust, though.

It's the only way I can think of to get glowy thrust out of a stable energy source with no internally-carried reaction mass. Any other ideas? The whole no-internal-reaction-mass thing is a pretty significant limiting factor.


The glowy part is inherently inefficient though. You're heating up air a whole bunch, having it spit out all sorts of light in various directions, and having the air shoot out at a fast rate so you have to get new air. No matter what methods you use to do that you're going to be wasting a lot of energy in the process.

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby speising » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:45 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
It's the only way I can think of to get glowy thrust out of a stable energy source with no internally-carried reaction mass. Any other ideas? The whole no-internal-reaction-mass thing is a pretty significant limiting factor.


isn't a jet engine doing exactly that? or does the glowy afterburner count as internal reaction mass?

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:22 pm UTC

zenten wrote:The glowy part is inherently inefficient though. You're heating up air a whole bunch, having it spit out all sorts of light in various directions, and having the air shoot out at a fast rate so you have to get new air. No matter what methods you use to do that you're going to be wasting a lot of energy in the process.

Sure, but I don't know any other way of getting thrust without an internal expendable reaction mass.

speising wrote:isn't a jet engine doing exactly that? or does the glowy afterburner count as internal reaction mass?

A jet engine uses both air (sucked in from the other side) and hydrocarbon fuel (carried in the tanks in the wings) as its reaction mass. Movie Iron Man has neither air intakes nor fuel tanks.

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby zenten » Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:36 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
zenten wrote:The glowy part is inherently inefficient though. You're heating up air a whole bunch, having it spit out all sorts of light in various directions, and having the air shoot out at a fast rate so you have to get new air. No matter what methods you use to do that you're going to be wasting a lot of energy in the process.

Sure, but I don't know any other way of getting thrust without an internal expendable reaction mass.


I'm not sure why you're discounting fans. They're a lot more energy efficient with superconductors.

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby davidstarlingm » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:14 am UTC

zenten wrote:I'm not sure why you're discounting fans. They're a lot more energy efficient with superconductors.

They're just neither sufficiently glowy nor particularly good for zapping people repulsor-style.

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby zenten » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:43 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
zenten wrote:I'm not sure why you're discounting fans. They're a lot more energy efficient with superconductors.

They're just neither sufficiently glowy nor particularly good for zapping people repulsor-style.


OK, so the Iron Man suit as used in the movies (I don't want to get into an argument based on it working differently in one of the comics or something) is not a very efficient design.

I really don't have an issue with that. If Tony Stark in the movies *could* find a way to build one he would even though it's not the best design from an engineering perspective, because he's all about having fun and looking cool doing it.

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby davidstarlingm » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:25 pm UTC

zenten wrote:OK, so the Iron Man suit as used in the movies (I don't want to get into an argument based on it working differently in one of the comics or something) is not a very efficient design.

I really don't have an issue with that. If Tony Stark in the movies *could* find a way to build one he would even though it's not the best design from an engineering perspective, because he's all about having fun and looking cool doing it.

Maybe it's not very efficient from an absolute standpoint, but perhaps it is the best way of channeling whatever sort of energy/voltage drop/power cycles that a "miniaturized paladium arc reactor" provides. Given the parameters shown, what's the best explanation for how the repulsors depicted produce thrust?

I mean, this is Fictional Science after all.

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby zenten » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:41 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
zenten wrote:OK, so the Iron Man suit as used in the movies (I don't want to get into an argument based on it working differently in one of the comics or something) is not a very efficient design.

I really don't have an issue with that. If Tony Stark in the movies *could* find a way to build one he would even though it's not the best design from an engineering perspective, because he's all about having fun and looking cool doing it.

Maybe it's not very efficient from an absolute standpoint, but perhaps it is the best way of channeling whatever sort of energy/voltage drop/power cycles that a "miniaturized paladium arc reactor" provides. Given the parameters shown, what's the best explanation for how the repulsors depicted produce thrust?

I mean, this is Fictional Science after all.


I agree. What I'm saying is the most efficient use of a "miniaturized palladium arc reactor" as defined in the movies would not look like the Iron Man suit looks.

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby davidstarlingm » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:54 pm UTC

zenten wrote:What I'm saying is the most efficient use of a "miniaturized palladium arc reactor" as defined in the movies would not look like the Iron Man suit looks.

Hmm.

Given a handwavium energy source, can we come up with a better option?

Constraints:

  • Cannot carry its own working/reaction mass
  • Must provide enough thrust for VTOL and level supersonic flight
  • Must be extremely compact (cross-section of less than 4"; no longer than 18")
  • Should preferably double as a short-to-medium-range weapon

Any ideas?

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby idobox » Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:44 pm UTC

What you need is an electrostatic ion drive. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionocraft
But to get the kind of thrust you need, you're going to generate a lot of heat. Like this thing will be similar to a plasma torch.
And superconductors are mostly useless for this.

Another option would be a pulsed arcjet with no casing. Heat air, get thrust, stop heating, let cold air in. With a powerful magnet, the ionised hot air could be more or less focused, while the cold air wouldn't be, resulting in some thrust. this would be noisy and very inefficient though.
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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby davidstarlingm » Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:38 pm UTC

idobox wrote:What you need is an electrostatic ion drive. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionocraft
But to get the kind of thrust you need, you're going to generate a lot of heat. Like this thing will be similar to a plasma torch.

Well....

Image

....you were saying?

Given the wacky plasma-whip setup of the Anton Vanko Whiplash's suit, it's reasonable to think an arc reactor (speaking of which, how was Vanko able to make one of these anyway?) produces an extreme voltage drop. If Stark's repulsors use a super-powerful high-voltage-drop electrostatic ion drive, what would its characteristics be? Is that a reasonable explanation?

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby ikrase » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:55 am UTC

idobox wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:Not even if you're using air to do it? That's how Movie Iron Man's repulsors work, right?



I was trying to think of a physical explanation for Movie Iron Man's repulsors. His Mark II and subsequent suits can produce enough thrust to hover indefinitely, so it's obvious he's not carrying his own reaction mass like a typical rocket (unlike his Mark I suit and the Iron Monger suit in the film). The only possibility I could think of was that his repulsors use the air as a working mass (which would explain why he was unsure how high they would allow him to fly when he was first testing the Mark II).

I was thinking something like this: if the arc reactor can give his repulsor pads an extremely high electrostatic potential, they could ionize a layer of air directly in front of them. Then, passing a single-frequency sound wave through that ionized air would cause a repulsive effect (the peaks would cause repulsion because they'd be pushing ions together, and the valleys would cause repulsion by physically separating the ions). Would that work?

And could high-temperature superconductors be used to create high electrostatic potentials more efficiently?



Actually, I think Iron Man's repulsors break the conservation of momentum. He uses them to toss large objects around (in fact, I think that they do damage primarily by shock and secondary impact) without any recoil.


Here's something I think might be funny: Suppose we found a high tempurature superconductor with a Tc of 5 degrees C?
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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby Mechatherium » Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:47 am UTC

ikrase wrote:Here's something I think might be funny: Suppose we found a high tempurature superconductor with a Tc of 5 degrees C?


How about this: a superconductor with a Tc just below freezing (0 C). I'm thinking something like that could be used to create an international electrical grid, with power lines running along the seabed, cooled by the near-freezing water of the ocean's depths. Would that be workable?

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby zenten » Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:10 pm UTC

Mechatherium wrote:
ikrase wrote:Here's something I think might be funny: Suppose we found a high tempurature superconductor with a Tc of 5 degrees C?


How about this: a superconductor with a Tc just below freezing (0 C). I'm thinking something like that could be used to create an international electrical grid, with power lines running along the seabed, cooled by the near-freezing water of the ocean's depths. Would that be workable?


I've been looking into this a lot more. The issue there is with any superconductors we have there's a dropoff on how much flux you can have the higher the temperature, and the higher the temperature superconductor we've developed the more gradually that drops off, meaning if the Tc was just below freezing you'd still need to make it a lot colder to have a quantity making transferring between continents worth the money.

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Re: *Very* high temperature superconductors

Postby gladiolas » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:58 pm UTC

I had an idea for a superconductor which works in different ranges of temperature, for example:

200-209 degrees C superconductor
210-211 C ... not a superconductor

212-219 degrees C superconductor
220-224 C ... not a superconductor


225-228 degrees C superconductor
229-242 C ... not a superconductor


243-258 degrees C superconductor
259-278 C ... not a superconductor

and so on. Would this be totally implausible? It might be useful though.


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