Effect of Y-211 particle size on the growth of single grain Y-Ba-Cu-O bulk superconductors
The engineering of fine Y2Ba1Cu1O5 (Y-211) inclusions of average particle size 1−2 μm within the continuous, superconducting YBa2Cu3O7−δ (Y-123) phase matrix of single-grain, bulk high temperature Y–Ba–Cu–O (YBCO) superconductors is fundamental to achieving high critical current density in these materials. However, bulk samples fabricated using fine Y-211 precursor powders generally suffer from incomplete growth of the Y-123 phase compared to samples fabricated with coarser Y-211 particles of average particle size >5 μm in the precursor powder. In this study, the effects of Y-211 particle size on processing parameters during growth of large single YBCO grains are reported. Chemical analysis using EDX of cross-sections of single YBCO grains indicates that the loss of liquid phase during melt processing is greater when finer Y-211 precursor powder is employed, which accounts for the observed growth limitations and low sample yield. Specific modifications to the single grain growth process have been made based on the results of this investigation to reduce liquid loss and to enable the use of fine Y-211 precursor powder without compromising complete single grain growth or yield.