Tested new superconducting line, withstanding current 20 times more power than copper cable

At CERN, the tests of the first power line were completed, allowing to transfer the current of huge strength on a cable of a relatively small size without any loss.

Tests of an innovative system of 60 m began last year. The line was transferred by force of 40 thousand amps, which is 20 times more than it is able to withstand an ordinary copper cable of a similar size under room temperature.

The system consists of superconducting cables from magnesium diboride (MgB2) with zero resistance, which allows the current to transport a much higher density over them without any loss. However, for normal operation, cables must be cooled to -248 ° C. Therefore, they are located inside the heat insulating pipe, in which the helium gaseous is circulated. Even despite the cryogenic conditions, the line is flexible.

The system is designed to power the new CERN accelerator, High-Luminosity LHC, which should be commissioned by 2026. It will connect power converters with magnets. Such superconducting power lines with a length of up to 140 m will feed several chains, and transmit an electric current to 100 thousand amps.

Engineers say that the creation of such current pipelines is a difficult task due to the complexity of working with several types of superconductors and various transition materials. However, according to them, in the future, such systems will be able to replace the traditional urban power lines and will stretch for huge distances.

The need to maintain low temperature significantly complicates and limits the use of such lines, so many researchers lead active searches for materials that can be semiconductors under normal conditions. Earlier, we