Superconductors

Discussion in 'General Science' started by Wendy, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
    I'm starting this thread along the same basis as my graphene thread, where I will post links to interesting articles about superconductors.

    A lot of people doubt anything will come of it, while I firmly believe room temperature superconductors are less than 10 years away. As it goes only time will tell.

    So to start off...

    Many roads lead to superconductivity

    A side note, among the odd properties near absolute zero (which used to describe superconductors) there is also super thermal conductivity and super fluidity.

    A material with super thermal conductivity would be at the same temperature throughout. Larry Niven once wrote a story where a sheet of room temperature superconductive material was also a super thermal conductor. Such a material would be more than a little useful. You would no longer need to pump fluids around at all to move heat around, as in car water cooling systems, air conditioners, and refrigerators.

    A super fluid has zero viscosity. That property would also be useful in the high temperature ranges.
     
  2. tom66

    Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
    2,613
    213
    Even if not room temperature (18-25°C), it would be nice to see one going at 0°C (I think that's the actual definition of room temperature superconductor) as it is fairly easy to bring something down below zero.
     
  3. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
    I lean toward 25°C, but I basically agree. Better still is 110°C, then water could be a coolant.
     
  4. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    3,778
    932
    I'm pretty sure I remember reading about one that functioned around -40C which is VERY doable in the average lab without special equipment and without liquid nitrogen.

    I just can't remember where I read about it. www.futurepundit.com is the most likely place.
     
  5. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
    I kinda doubt it, since I've been following developments pretty closely. Right now they are a comfortable shade above liquid nitrogen (and slowly creeping upwards).

    If you could find the link I'd appreciate it.

    Liquid Nitrogen (LN) temperature is 77°K, -196°C, or -321°F according to it's Wikipedia article. An interesting side note about LN is that since it is colder than liquid oxygen any container with LN on it (and is not insulated) liquid oxygen will condense on the outside, creating a substantial safety hazard. Guys who deliver LN have to be constantly aware of this on their hoses.

    Again, according to Wikipedia, the highest temperature superconducting material is 138°K, which translates to -135°C or -211°F. The field has a huge amount of R&D behind it, so this is a moving number.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  6. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    3,778
    932
    Old age strikes again.

    It was 40.

    40 K not C. For MagnesiumDiBoride.
     
  7. sceadwian

    New Member

    Jun 1, 2009
    499
    37
    Liquid Nitrogen isn't that hard to get a hold of, if you're good with people all you need to do is find a local heat treater, most heat treaters nowdays have tanks of liquid nitrogen for cryonic hardening. I'm sure you could easily strike a deal for small quantities of it if you wanted, all you need for transport is a vacuum carafe (vented) it has to be used pretty quickly though as it slowly evaporates which is what keeps it cool liquid.
     
  8. tom66

    Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
    2,613
    213
    I have a question. If we were to build a computer using superconducting materials, would the computer consume virtually no power in operation?
     
  9. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    3,778
    932
    That's a common thought, but how would you represent 1's and 0's. If there is no resistance there can be no voltage drops and therefore for no low voltage vs high voltage. Perhaps with two seperate powersupplys there would be a way.

    If we could build it, I'm sure somebody somewhere would work out a way to make it function :)
     
  10. sceadwian

    New Member

    Jun 1, 2009
    499
    37
    tom66, if you really want to blow your mind look up more about this searching Quantum theory. Information itself has an energy level associated with it. Honestly I think that has a lot to do with the current Quantum/string/Einstein disagreement as far as fundamental forces go. There is of course always energy and mass, but information is part of the equation too.
     
  11. Ghar

    Active Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    655
    72
    CMOS essentially works by transferring charge between capacitors.
    This loses energy even with 0 resistance... it's one of those things people argue about because it's weird.
     
  12. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
    The power loss in most devices is not steady state, it is the transistion. This requires energy.

    Even superconductors will loose energy when they switch. It can be very small, but it is in the nature of things. Switching is a form of entropy.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2010
  13. tom66

    Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
    2,613
    213
    The one problem I see is that these materials are superconducting and not semiconducting, so cannot be used to control signals and build the basic elements (logic gates) used in a processor.

    I've read a lot on quantum computing, honestly I understand little more than when I started. Will we ever see a quantum computer on our desktop?
     
  14. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
    Who knows, it is going to be interesing.

    And superconducting switches already exist. Look up Josephson Junctions.

    Side note, while the reference doesn't mention it, superconducting chips should be extremely fast.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  15. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
  16. sceadwian

    New Member

    Jun 1, 2009
    499
    37
    I love this, the LHC isn't even running again and we already have suggestions for sensor updates! The next 5 years are going to be... explosive =)
     
  17. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    5,201
    312
    Its running (at half power). They have had it back in action for a few months now.

    I wonder what it is going to feel like to be sucked into the black hole created in France... ;)

    [ed]
    Had to add this:
    OHHH... How CONVENIENT! So the end of the world (December 2012) and the date that the LHC goes FULL POWER are both the SAME!

    Great.. So much for retirement.

    Sucks.

    Stupid French screwing up my retirement plans by DESTROYING THE EARTH!
    [/ed]
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  18. sceadwian

    New Member

    Jun 1, 2009
    499
    37
    Wow, shows it's been a while since I've seen LHC news, I still thought it was off. I just hope they get some really good science out of it as they ramp it up. It's all the 'we dunno what's gonna ACTUALLY happen' comments that make the LHC so exciting. Not worried about the black holes they evaporate too quickly.
     
  19. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
  20. sceadwian

    New Member

    Jun 1, 2009
    499
    37
    10-15% losses in the transmission line? Seriously?

    The CUTTING EDGE of high temperature super conductors still require super cooling, totally impractical for outside distribution lines. Even within high current using facilities the benefits over copper are borderline for their use at commercial current densities, and these new super conductors have problems where in they become normal conductors if over saturated with current (in other words they explode)

    Assume for 1 second that 90% of that energy is delivered, why isn't there this kind of research going into increasing the efficiency of electric motors conversion efficiency of electricity into mechanical force past like 10% outside maximum (I've only ever heard 1% or so personally)...

    If we could get more electrical efficiency out of electromechanical designs the entire theoretical possible yield (manufacturing difficulties aside) of the entire power carrying super conductor industry would collapse in an instant, because the currents required would drop faster than the cost of the materials required to carry the old current. Common electromechanical systems are less than 3% efficient!

    They're working this from the wrong end from the start.
     
Loading...