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Mechanism of the High-Tc Superconducting Dynamo: Models and Experiment

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Mataira, R 
Pantoja, A 
Badcock, R 
Bumby, C 


High-Tc superconducting (HTS) dynamos are experimentally proven devices that can produce large, >kA, DC currents in superconducting circuits, without the thermal leak associated with copper current leads. However, these DC currents are theoretically controversial, as it is not immediately apparent why a device that is topologically identical to an AC alternator should give a DC output at all. Here, we present a finite-element model, and its comparison with experiment, which fully explains this effect. It is shown that the DC output arises naturally from Maxwell’s laws, when time-varying overcritical eddy currents are induced to circulate in an HTS sheet. We first show that our finite-element model replicates all of the the experimental electrical behavior reported so far for these devices, including the DC output characteristics, and transient electrical waveforms. Direct experimental evidence for the presence of circulating eddy currents is also obtained through measurements of the transient magnetic field profile across the HTS tape, using a linear Hall array. These results are also found to closely agree with predictions from the finite-element model. Following this experimental validation, calculated sheet current densities and the associated local electric fields are examined for a range of frequencies and net transport currents. We find that the electrical output from an HTS dynamo is governed by the competition between transport and eddy currents induced as the magnet transits across the HTS tape. These eddy currents are significantly higher (∼1.5X) than the local critical current density J_c, and hence experience a highly non-linear local resistivity. This non-linearity breaks the symmetry observed in a normal ohmic material, which usually requires the net transport current to vary linearly with the average electric field. The interplay between local current densities and non-linear resistivities (which both vary in time and space) is shown to systematically give rise to the key observed parameters for experimental HTS dynamo devices: the open-circuit voltage V_oc, the internal resistance R_int, and the short-circuit current I_sc. Finally, we identify that the spatial boundaries formed by each edge of the HTS stator tape play a vital role in determining the total DC output. This offers the potential to develop new designs for HTS dynamo devices, for which the internal resistance is greatly reduced and the short circuit current is substantially increased.



40 Engineering, 51 Physical Sciences, 5104 Condensed Matter Physics

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Physical Review Applied

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American Physical Society (APS)


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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P020313/1)
New Zealand (NZ) MBIE Endeavour Grant No. RTVU1707 NZ Royal Society Marsden Grant No. MFP-VUW1806.