Microstructure and composition of primary and recycled single grains of YBCO, GdBCO-Ag and SmBCO-Ag bulk superconductors
Journal of the American Ceramic Society
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Congreve, J., Shi, Y., Dennis, T., Durrell, J., & Cardwell, D. (2016). Microstructure and composition of primary and recycled single grains of YBCO, GdBCO-Ag and SmBCO-Ag bulk superconductors. Journal of the American Ceramic Society, 99 3111-3119. https://doi.org/10.1111/jace.14315
The widespread use of single grain RE-Ba-Cu-O [(RE)BCO] bulk superconductors, where RE is typically Sm, Gd or Y, is, in part, limited by the relatively high costs of precursor powders and the low success rate of the manufacturing process. Both these problems can be addressed by recycling primary-processed grains in which the initial growth process has failed in some way. Key to the use of recycled grains in practical applications is an assurance that their properties and performance are not inferior to those of primary grown grains. In this work we describe the differences between the growth process, microstructure and properties of primary and recycled (RE)BCO single grains. We observe that the mechanism of growth is the same for both primary and recycled single grain samples in all three RE-based systems investigated. In the recycling process additional liquid-rich phase powder is provided beneath a failed sample, whereby this liquid phase infiltrates upwards and contributes a sufficient concentration of additional RE species at the growth front to enable samples to grow relatively easily in the form of single grains by producing a more uniform composition at the growth front, which leads directly to an increased tolerance to the presence of Ag and Ce-rich agglomerates. Importantly, we observe that the recycled samples have a much more uniform composition, and therefore exhibit more uniform superconducting properties, than single grain samples fabricated by a primary grown process.
We acknowledge the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC grant ref. EP/K02910X/1) for financial support.
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External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jace.14315
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/255837
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