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Development and Prospects for the Future of Superconducting Wires
National Institute for Materials Science, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0047, Japan
(Received July 15, 2011; accepted September 12, 2011; published online December 8, 2011)
Superconducting wires are important from the viewpoints of energy saving and the realization of a low-carbon society, because their applications in various types of electric power applications enable not only improved efficiency but also the reduction of size and weight owing to the fact that they can allow a large electric current density without resistance. Wires of Nb–Ti and Nb3Sn metallic superconductors have conventionally been used in various magnets. The research and development of high-temperature Cu-oxide superconducting wires has been intensively carried out focusing on Bi- and Y-based oxides; recently, the development of long wires of these oxides has also been in progress, and their applications to a variety of power systems are being eagerly discussed. MgB2, whose superconductivity was discovered in Japan in 2001, is also being studied with the aim of fabricating MgB2 wires, and promising performance has been obtained. The research and development of superconducting wires using these materials is expected to achieve further progress and lead to their practical applications in the future.
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