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Ultrasonic Technology Can Reduce The Cost of Magnesium Diboride Superconductors

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Update time : 2021-04-06 11:11:07
Magnesium diboride (MgB₂) is an ionic compound with a hexagonal crystal structure. It is an intercalation type compound with alternating layers of magnesium and boron.

Researchers found that magnesium boride turns into a superconductor at a temperature slightly close to the absolute temperature of 40K (ie -233°C). Its transition temperature is almost twice that of other superconductors of the same type, and its actual working temperature is 20-30K.

Superconductivity already has many practical applications, such as medical imaging and magnetic levitation trains. However, in order to apply superconductors to other technical fields, we not only need to improve performance, but also need to reduce manufacturing difficulty and cost.

In this regard, magnesium diboride (MgB2), as a superconductor with multiple advantages, has attracted the attention of researchers since its discovery. It is a light-weight and easy-to-process material, which can be made of many pre-materials, which greatly reduces the total cost of using magnesium boride.

A key practical characteristic of superconductors is its critical current density (Jc). However, it is very difficult to increase the Jc of MgB2 in a more economical way.


In a paper recently published in "Materials Science and Engineering: B" (Materials Science and Engineering: B), researchers at Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT) in Japan have developed a technology that uses ultrasonic treatment to improve the mass. Like MgB2 Jc.

The specific method is to dissolve cheap commercial boron in hexane and use ultrasonic waves to thoroughly disperse the solute. Once the hexane is evaporated and removed, very fine boron powder can be obtained, which is then sintered with magnesium to produce magnesium boride.

Researchers produce high-quality bulk magnesium boride, most of which do not contain oxidizing impurities. Compared with the non-sonicated sample used as a reference, the Jc value increased by 20%, depending on the sonication time used.
In addition, the results of scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy revealed a second mechanism that may lead to enhancement of Jc. The team noticed a layered structure covering the boron-deficient pore walls, which appeared to be a magnesium boron oxide coating.

Researchers said, "This will help reduce the technical difficulty and cost of superconductors, and make it easier for the general public, especially in the medical field, to use these technologies."

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