New Superconductors: Advances, Issues, Limitations Report by Amber Taylor CHME 5699 Dr. Laura

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New Superconductors: Advances, Issues, Limitations Report by Amber Taylor CHME 5699 Dr. Laura Lewis Final Report 23 April 2014 Executive Summary One of the most exciting and magical phenomena observed today in science is the levitation of superconductors in the presence of a magnetic field. While entertaining, this effect is also extremely useful and could combat one of the largest issues facing the world today: how can we continue to transport goods and people without burning fossil fuels which harm the Earth’s atmosphere? Better yet, how can we store energy harvested from renewable sources for long periods of time? The answer could be superconductors in conjunction with powerful magnets. Superconductors currently exist at…show more content…
Superconductors are interesting because of their potential for infinite current- the closest system or idea to perpetual motion ever found. If electric wires were made of functional superconducting materials there would never be another shorted fuse as there would be no energy lost to friction over time. The catch is that most superconductors currently exist solely at very low temperatures that are not practical for use in industry. The temperature at which materials transform into a superconductor is called the critical temperature and at this temperature the electrical resistance drops very suddenly to zero (figure 1). Superconductor theory explains that as temperature decreases, the vibrations of atoms in a lattice slow and this allows for electrons to flow more freely through the crystal lattice, ignoring their previous repulsion for one another and actually pairing up for easier transit. Referred to as Cooper pairs, this is the generally accepted “BCS” superconductor theory (figure 2). No one knows the mechanism that causes electrons in crystals to form pairs although it has been determined physically possible, although counterintuitive, due to phonon wave propagation from the interaction between positively charged ions and electrons. [2] Computer simulations have afforded material scientists to identify the most promising functional materials to synthesize. While computer simulations have provided great advancements in material expectation it is still

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