Record-setting joint research spurs growth of superconductor market for Argonne partner
Intermagnetics General Corporation
Intermagnetics General Corporation (IGC) and Argonne worked together to meet the challenge of producing ceramic superconductors in the form of long wires and tape suitable for practical applications. A joint agreement led to the fabrication of a magnet containing approximately 480 meters (approximately 1,500 feet) of flexible superconducting tape that generated a then-record magnetic field of 2.6 tesla. Superconducting materials promise substantial gains in efficiency in industrial and electrical-utility applications.
IGC has marketed superconducting products for more than 20 years. Its work with Argonne on next-generation superconductors has positioned it to expand its product line to high-temperature superconductors.
"We are doing prototype manufacturing of BSCCO-2223 products right now and are well on our way to the marketplace," says Pradeep Haldar, senior engineer and the principal investigator for the company's work with Argonne.
The research boost provided by collaboration with Argonne was a contributing factor in the company's successful expansion of its product line. According to Haldar, "we have benefited greatly from our collaboration with Argonne. It has allowed us to get to this level of technology development quickly. I'd estimate we have shortened our research time by as much as two years in an environment of much-better-financed national and international competition."
Research on high-temperature superconductors has advanced rapidly, and one of Argonne's contributions has been the development of techniques for fabricating wire and tape from ceramic superconductors -- in particular, the longer lengths needed for practical applications. Argonne is transferring these techniques to the private sector under joint research agreements through its High-Temperature Superconductivity Center. The Center is supported by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Advanced Utility Concepts.
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