Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


ORNL superconducting group part of award winning team

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 2, 2000 — The Superconductivity Materials Group of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is participating in an effort that has earned a Collaboration Success Award from the Council for Chemical Research.

The organization selected the Wire Development Group, of which the Oak Ridge Superconducting Materials Group in ORNL's Metals and Ceramics Division is a major participant, for its "outstanding contribution" to the advancement of high-temperature superconducting (HTS) wire technology. The nine-year-old collaborative Wire Development Group also includes research teams from American Superconductor, Argonne and Los Alamos national laboratories and the University of Wisconsin.

ORNL's Superconducting Materials Group was part of the effort focusing attention to the effect deformation processing on the density and texture of the precursor powder prior to heat treatment.

ORNL scientists Don Kroeger, Dominic Lee and Bob Williams concentrated on development of novel mechanical deformation procedures, analysis and interpretation of the wire's microstructures and exploration of alternative fabrication concepts of the bismuth compound.

"This is another example of how the superconductivity group at Oak Ridge is performing research that is opening new avenues to the greater understanding and future use of this technology," said Bob Hawsey, ORNL's Superconductivity Technology manager.

Superconductors can carry electric current with almost no energy loss due to resistance. In the United States, more than seven percent of electricity is presently wasted due to resistance in wires.

The council determined the research played a key role in American Superconductor's establishment of a leadership position in reliable HTS wire manufacturing. American Superconductor recently decided to scale up production of this technology to yield millions of meters of bismuth compound superconducting wire per year by 2002. The composite wire produced by American Superconductor is being used in numerous first-generation HTS electric power systems, including transmission lines, motors, transformers and fault current limiters.