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Energy Materials

360: Room-temperature superconductors

Problem:

Scientists are working to increase the temperature at which materials turn into superconductors, since these materials could transfer electricity more cheaply and have important uses in the medical and quantum computing fields.

Solution:

In 2015, a team led by physicist Mikhail Eremets at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry discovered superconductivity at -70 Celsius (-94 Fahrenheit) in the form of  a high-temperature superconducting hydride, by placing a piece of lanthanum into an insulating ring, then placing it into a box full of pressurized hydrogen gas.

They clamped the gasket between a pair of diamonds, and continued squeezing the diamonds until they hit the desired pressures, 200 gigapascals, nearly 2 million times the pressure on the surface of Earth. Then, they hit the sample with a laser to form the lanthanum hydride.

Finally, they took measurements to confirm they really created the material and that it’s really a superconductor. But if confirmed, the feat would be the first example of superconductivity above 0 °C, and some physicists consider that the work could be a mi.tone in the study of superconductivity, which researchers hope will one day make the generation, transmission and use of electricity vastly more efficient.

In February 2019, Salvatore Cezar Pais, an aerospace engineer for NAWCAD at US. Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, obtained a patent on a room-temperature superconductor, representing a potential paradigm shift in energy transmission and computer systems.

The application claims that a room-temperature superconductor can be built using a wire with an insulator core and an aluminum PZT (lead zirconate titanate) coating deposited by vacuum evaporation with a thickness of the London penetration depth and polarized after deposition. An electromagnetic coil is circumferentially positioned around the coating such that when the coil is activated with a pulsed current, a non-linear vibration is induced, enabling room temperature superconductivity.

Pais’s two other patents are a gravity wave generator and inertial mass reduction. If these could be realized as technologies, then we are talking Star Trek level spaceships. The gravitational wave generator could be used for propellentless propulsion to near the speed of light. Being able to reduce inertia would also mean capabilities which currently seem beyond known physics.

The more likely situation is that these will not lead anywhere and are incorrect.

Discover Solution 361: Johad dams

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