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The Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Metal Oxide Technologies (MetOx) of Houston are working together to increase the capacity of superconducting wires.


The Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Metal Oxide Technologies (MetOx) of Houston are working together to increase the capacity of superconducting wires currently made by MetOx using a modified metal organic chemical vapour deposition process developed at the University of Houston.


ORNL intends to characterise the properties and microstructure of the wire and will provide feedback to MetOx regarding its research effort. The work, which includes magnetic field and X-ray texture analysis, will be carried out at ORNL’s Accelerated Coated Conductor Laboratory.


“This is the laboratory’s latest effort to assist the Department of Energy in reaching its goal of having a viable, high-temperature superconductivity industry in place by 2010 with several different companies competing in the marketplace,” said Bob Hawsey, manager of ORNL’s Superconductivity Program.


MetOx currently operates the world’s only single pass continuous yttrium-barium-copper-oxide (YBCO) coated conductor production line, produces high quality coated conductor wire and sells samples for testing. MetOx’s low vacuum in-line process eliminates the need for expensive multistep production operations and a clean room environment.


The line is presently approaching commercial optimisation. MetOx expects to start producing long lengths of second generation superconducting wire early next year.