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About Hyper Tech is a trusted industry leader in researching, developing and manufacturing superconductor products.
© Hyper Tech Research, Inc. 2014
Hyper Tech’s History In January 2001, it was announced that MgB2, a compound that was well known to chemists, was superconducting up to 39 Kelvin. Building on this discovery, Hyper Tech was formed in 2001 to use the compound to create a high-performing, low cost superconducting wire. Hyper Tech developed and patented a continuous tube forming and filling (CTFF) process for the manufacturing of a powder metallurgy-based MgB2 superconductor wire. Contracts with the Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institutes of Health, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the State of Ohio propelled Hyper Tech into being a world leader in commercializing MgB2 superconductor wire. Hyper Tech's 41,000-square-foot facility contains the equipment necessary to manufacture MgB2 superconducting wire of varying diameters and lengths. A team of engineers, scientists and technicians has been assembled to develop and produce the superconducting wires and related products including superconducting coils for various applications. Hyper Tech is marketing MgB2 superconductor wires for MRI applications and has cooperative relationships with several companies to apply MgB2 superconductor wire to MRI devices. This commercial market has allowed Hyper Tech to lower the wire production cost to be economical for power systems applications as well (e.g., FCLs and wind turbines). History of MgB2 wire development at Hyper Tech In 2001, Hyper Tech developed and patented the CTFF process to make a powder metallurgy-based MgB2 superconductor. This wire manufacturing process starts with a metal ribbon that is continuously filled and formed into a tube. To manufacture a multifilamentary MgB2 wire, numerous monofilaments containing the superconducting powder are stacked within a tube and then drawn down to the required wire diameter and length. Traditionally, powder metallurgy-based wire manufacturers fill a tube of fixed length with powder before drawing the wire. This traditional method results in two problems: 1) the tube filling process results in an uneven distribution of material within the tube and 2) successively larger diameter tubes are necessary to obtain longer lengths of wire. In only a few years after 2001, Hyper Tech began to consistently manufacture monofilamentary and multifilamentary wires of up to 4 kilometers in length, an amount which was necessary to be commercially viable. In order to evaluate the performance of the first long length multifilamentary MgB2 wire manufactured at Hyper Tech, a solenoid coil wound with 740 meters was designed, fabricated and characterized in 2005. Superconductivity properties were evaluated over the wire length and provided a preview for potential magnet applications. The solenoid coil produced 3.9 Tesla at 4 Kelvin, 2.4 Tesla at 20 Kelvin, 1.8 Tesla at 25 Kelvin, and 0.9 Tesla at 30 Kelvin. This coil met the magnetic field strength requirements to be viable in many applications, such as MRI systems currently using permanent magnets (up to 0.35 Tesla). In August 2006, this milestone was exceeded when a 53-centimeter diameter test coil, also aimed at the MRI industry, was fabricated using a react-and-wind process. It performed at the expected field strength and current. Hyper Tech continued to fabricate long length MgB2 wire and various types of superconducting coils. The most recent solenoid coil fabricated in 2012 was wound with 590 meters of MgB2 multifilamentary wire. This coil achieved a peak bore field of 4.6 Tesla at 4 Kelvin and 2.2 Tesla at 20 Kelvin. Why MgB2 ? The single most important criterion for the acceptance of MgB2 based magnets in the marketplace is that they provide performance and reliability comparable to or exceeding that of existing permanent magnets but at a lower life-cycle cost. The advantage of MgB2 magnets when compared with permanent magnets is the possibility of achieving magnetic field strengths of considerably more than 0.4 Tesla (to 1.5-2.0 Tesla) with a lower initial capital equipment cost and lower life-cycle cost. Also, higher field strengths and larger zones of homogeneous magnetic field can be achieved with MgB2 superconductor than with permanent magnets. Compared with superconductors that operate at lower temperatures, such as NbTi and Nb3Sn, the life-cycle costs of MgB2 coils are lower because of their higher operating temperature and lower associated refrigeration costs during operation. In the on-going effort to eliminate liquid cryogen from equipment, the temperature tolerance of MgB2 better suits it for dry operation using only a cryocooler and conduction cooling. MgB2 conductors have many distinct advantages when compared with high temperature ceramic conductors. Since the wire can be configured in either round or rectangular cross sections, MgB2 adds flexibility in coil design and fabrication. MgB2 is lighter weight and can be produced at a lower cost than the high temperature ceramic BSCCO or YBCO-coated superconducting tape conductors when operated in the 20 Kelvin range. MgB2 wire is versatile in that it can be sized (e.g., to custom amperage and engineering current density) for targeted coil dimensions and performance. MgB2 wire behaves more like a metal superconductor with regard to persistent current type coils unlike high temperature superconducting tapes. Potential applications for the MgB2 superconducting wire include MRI systems, superconducting FCLs, transformers, inductors, reactors, motors, and generators. Of these, the most promising applications are projected to be MRI systems, superconducting FCLs, and wind turbine generators.
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