SBIR Phase I: Development of High Performance NbTi Superconductors Utilizing Nanometer-Scale Metal Oxide and Nickel Pinning Sites
Small Business Information
830 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, MA, 01545
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop an innovative process for incorporation of nanometer-scale inclusions into superconducting Niobium Titanium (NbTi) alloy wires. These inclusions will serve as magnetic flux pinning sites, resulting in improved critical current density (Jc) performance as compared to that which can be obtained by conventional processing methods. The innovation will consist in the use of mixtures of nanometer-scale NbTi powder and nanometer-scale metal oxide powder or nickel powder. The use of nanometer-scale powders will greatly reduce the amount of wire deformation required for optimum inclusion (pin) size and spacing as compared with other powder metallurgical and rod-based processes. This will be beneficial for wire piece-length and processing costs. At the same time, the process will have the benefit that pin volume may be easily adjusted for maximum Jc performance. By contrast, the volume of pinning sites that may be realized by conventional thermomechanical processing techniques for NbTi conductors is limited by precipitation kinetics, resulting in an upper limit to Jc performance. Commercially, an improved NbTi conductor will find application in superconducting magnets used for high energy physics accelerators, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) devices. Increased critical current density performance will translate directly into cost savings and greater design flexibility for the MRI and NMR industries. This will be of particular interest to the MRI industry (an industry rapidly approaching $3 billion dollars in sales), where it is difficult to maintain an advantage in an increasingly competitive international market.
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