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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Big room temperature superconductor milestone

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54551527

    Needs pretty absurd pressure, but works up to 15C. Are useful room temperature superconductors a case of when, not if?

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    Default Re: Big room temperature superconductor milestone

    I'm not really up on superconductors; that last line confuses me.
    How would the ability to mass-produce superconductors remove our need for batteries entirely?
    That's all I can think of, at any rate.

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    Default Re: Big room temperature superconductor milestone

    Quote Originally Posted by Strigon View Post
    I'm not really up on superconductors; that last line confuses me.
    How would the ability to mass-produce superconductors remove our need for batteries entirely?
    They may be referring to Magnetic Energy Storage. I have not had a chance to fully read through this article, so I could be wrong.
    Last edited by Lord Torath; 2020-10-15 at 04:02 PM.
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    Default Re: Big room temperature superconductor milestone

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Torath View Post
    They may be referring to Magnetic Energy Storage. I have not had a chance to fully read through this article, so I could be wrong.
    The brief form of the article is 'Superconductors are neat and we want more of them.' It doesn't really suggest actual use cases or specific applications. I struggle to imagine any situation where you could replace things like the batteries in small appliances and personal electronics with superconduction-based storage, not unless somebody discovers a literal room-temperature/standard pressure superconductor.

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    Default Re: Big room temperature superconductor milestone

    Quote Originally Posted by Strigon View Post
    I'm not really up on superconductors; that last line confuses me.
    How would the ability to mass-produce superconductors remove our need for batteries entirely?
    From what I understand, superconductors remove so much resistance that there is no loss of power during transmission. So with a standard pressure, room temperature superconductor you can turn the transmission medium into the battery by shoving your power into the wire and tapping it when you need it.
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    Default Re: Big room temperature superconductor milestone

    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Rooster View Post
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54551527

    Needs pretty absurd pressure, but works up to 15C. Are useful room temperature superconductors a case of when, not if?
    We should have never told scientists to look for room temperature superconductors rather than something broader like room conditions superconductors. Less rules lawyering, more sciencing!
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    Default Re: Big room temperature superconductor milestone

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    We should have never told scientists to look for room temperature superconductors rather than something broader like room conditions superconductors. Less rules lawyering, more sciencing!
    But being technically correct is the best kind of correct!

    Besides, they now have superconductors that work in room temperature (although in extreme pressure) and others that work in regular pressure (but in low temperatures). How hard could it be to combine those features? ... and get materials that require both low temperature and ultra high pressure obviously.

    I am actually very excited about this development as now they will be able to study, what makes this material work in room temperature and try to replicate those features in other systems. I do fear a bit that what the pressure does is increase heavily the stiffness of the structure so that thermal fluctuations do not create any severe (if temporary) defects that would scatter Cooper pairs. This would not be able to do much for the magnonic excitations, so the superconducting state is surely much more stable than in previously known materials.
    Last edited by Radar; 2020-10-16 at 08:40 AM.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Big room temperature superconductor milestone

    This is very interesting. Room temp super conductors mean much more than people might think. The article mentions 5% of the energy if lost using modern wires. This places a practical limit on how far you can transmit electricity. With a room temp superconductor no loss means unlimited transmission distance. You could get power from the other side of the continent effectively.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Big room temperature superconductor milestone

    The two most obvious applications would be power transmission, and magnets, but I don't think they will work out as the most important ones. I have no idea what they will end up used for, but if you had asked what you could do with lasers in the 1970s I would also have had no idea. The expected death rays never materialised, but they are now reading discs, measuring distances, illuminating targets, creating holograms, creating artificial stars for observatories to adapt their optics against, observing gravity waves, observing events on the femtosecond timescale, manipulating individual atoms, stopping light in a material, creating conditions for fusion to occur, and forming the backbone of modern communications. SQUIDs give an idea of the sort of non obvious things that can be done with superconductors, and there are probably far more applications that become worthwhile if they don't need extreme cooling.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Big room temperature superconductor milestone

    Pressure seems a lot easier to manage than temperature to me, since you can in principle change the thickness of an outer cladding to sustain it. But creating internal stresses at that scale also seems like it'd be a bit tricky - you can do things with residual stress due to differential cooling but presumably those numbers would all be around the order of the yield stress of the material - about two orders of magnitude lower than the pressures involved here for the sorts of bulk materials (e.g. varieties of steel) that one might normally be able to use.

    Giant pipes made of diamond seems unlikely in the short term.

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    Default Re: Big room temperature superconductor milestone

    Any situation where you have an enormous wattage is a situation where you want the resistance to be as low as possible, superconductor has none so it doesn't overheat. They would be useful in any application that uses an enormous amount of energy, or any powerplant that "exports" an enormous amount of energy.

    If it could be reasonably cheap, resilient then it would drastically increase the range of electricity. Long range electric lines are very lossy, with a room temperature superconductor it would be zero losses. The pressure requirement here takes that out of the question though.
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