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Partial replacement of Ag sheath by strong, low-cost alloys

The silver sheath that constitutes the largest volume fraction in Bi-2223 superconducting tapes also represents the most important limitation to the predictable future cost reduction for these otherwise promising conductors to be employed in power applications.

The present result is based on an original technique that allows for a substantial replacement of silver sheath in fully reacted conductors. The technique is fully scaleable and applicable to conductors manufactured by the standard PIT-process.

More than 50% of the entire silver amount as been replaced by a low-cost alloy that also presents substantially higher electrical resistance and lower thermal conductivity than silver, together with enough mechanical strength to sustain tape handling. A performance reduction due to the post processing has been estimated to be below 10%.

The effectiveness of the processing as been tested on conductors provided by a number of industrial manufacturers as well as by research laboratories. The silver replaced conductors are ideal for a number of applications, e.g. to be used as detectors for Medical Resonance Imaging.

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