A Novel Quaternary Low-Cost PIT Nb3Sn Conductor for HEP Magnet Applications at 15 Tesla and Beyond

Period of Performance: 01/01/2010 - 12/31/2010


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Supramagnetics, Inc.
214 Canal Street
Plantsville, CT 06479
Principal Investigator


To do physics at higher energy collisions require energy and luminosity. More luminosity means larger apertures and bigger magnets. To develop high field magnets will require higher performance low-cost Nb3Sn Superconductors. The cost-performance of state-of-the-art commercial Nb3Sn strand is $3/kA-m to $5/kA-m. By development of lower cost processing and materials, powder-in-tube (PIT) Nb3Sn wire will improve the cost-performance to less than $1.00/kA-m for use in high field magnets for future High Energy Physics (HEP) accelerator research. The overall technical approach for the Phase I/Phase II project will be to develop and demonstrate a substantially lower strand costs for the PIT process. A new low-cost intermetallic tin powder will be introduced within a low-cost novel PIT conductor design. In the Phase I work, we have successfully fabricated a multifilament PIT (Nb,Ti,Zr)3Sn quaternary conductor for high field 15-20 Tesla magnet applications. This was achieved via a low-cost titanium doped tin powder core in Nb-1%Zr tubes. In the proposed development program, the main goal in the Phase II work will be to continue development and optimization of the (Nb,Ti,Zr)3Sn A-15 layer and properties in PIT conductors demonstrated in the Phase I work. Another goal of the Phase II work will be to demonstrate scale-up and produce significant amount of advanced (Nb,Ti,Zr)3Sn material for the DOE national conductor programs. The improved cost-performance for this new PIT Nb3Sn conductor will have an immediate benefit for high field magnets in HEP applications. Particularly, the second generation LHC interaction region magnets including both quadrapole and dipole magnets will require bigger apertures and higher peak fields. Another important application for Nb3Sn superconductors are fusion reactors. The successful demonstration of a prototype fusion machine based on an advanced cost effective Nb3Sn conductor will have enormous economic and social benefits to the public. The application of NMR is on the verge of technological explosion with requirements for uses in chemical research, biochemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, polymer science, petroleum research, agricultural chemistry and medicine. Giant strides by researchers are being made in understanding of cells, proteins, DNA, and drug interactions to name a few. Any advances in the development of high performance-cost effective superconductors will help bring these powerful research tools into wider use for the general benefit of the public. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: A new economical Nb3Sn superconductor with advanced performance will be developed for high field magnets utilized in high energy physics research, fusion machines, and MRI and NMR instruments for the general benefit of the public.