Welding Technique: High-Temp Superconductors

Overcoming Welding Limitations

A post at Laboratory Network outlines how material scientists in Argonne, IL’s Argonne National Laboratory have developed a way to weld components made of high-temperature superconductors. The bond that results from this welding technique is strong enough to preserve uniform electrical flow across the joints and can be used for current leads, fault current limiters, energy storage devices, high-energy-density motors, and high-current wire or cable.

Discovered in the 1980s, superconductors are known for losing electrical resistance when cooled with liquid nitrogen. However, superconductors do hold the potential for generating more efficient magnetic fields and transmitting electricity without losing resistance. Thus far researchers have been unable to grow large high-performance superconducting structures that are able to uniformly carry current, and they have found it difficult to join smaller sections together without interfering with electrical flow. The hope by researchers is that a new welding process may overcome this limitation.

The new welding process will bond pieces of yttrium-doped barium-cooper-oxide (YBCO) using layers of thulium-doped barium-copper-oxide (TmBCO). The melting point of TmBCO is about 20 degrees Celsius cooler than YBCO. The materials are then heated to a temperature about mid-way between the two melting points. The YBCO “seeds” the liquefied TmBCO, while the joint cools, which provides a template at the TmBCO interface as it cools. This leads to a weld that preserves the YBCO crystal structure to a mechanically-strong weld that carries high current.

While superconductors are materials that lose resistance to electrical current at reduced temperatures, the first of those identified were made of metals that became superconductive when they were brought near absolute zero (-270 degrees Celsius). The high-temperature superconductors found in the ‘80s lost its resistance at temperatures that allow the use of refrigerants such as liquid nitrogen. YCBO, on the other hand, becomes superconductive at -181 degrees Celsius.

If you are interested in more information on this topic, you should read the original article by clicking here.

Independent Welding Distributors Coop hires new hard goods product manager

In hiring news in the welding industry, the Indianapolis, Indiana-based Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative (IWDC), a cooperative of independent welding distributors, has named Sean Norton their new hard goods product manager. In this role, Norton will be responsible for driving the growth of key programs, vendor partner brands, and the Weld mark brand, according to an article in The Fabricator.

The IWDC was formed in 1994 to leverage the strengths of independent welding distributors across North America. The company’s heritage dates back to 1948, when the IWDA was founded. That company served the industry for many years before becoming the IWDC in 1994 as a larger cooperative that had additional means to serve the industry.

Member companies look to the IWD for industrial, specialty, and medical gases, along with related equipment, hard goods, and consumables. The distributors use their national sphere of influence to aid in purchasing and marketing programs. The IDC features a footprint of more than $2 billion in retail sales over more than 260 locations.

Before coming to the IWDC, Norton spent 15 years at ESAB Victor as district manager for Victor Technologies, mostly working in the Midwest. He now joins the welding cooperative as hard goods product manager, a move that will give him additional responsibilities in the industry while allowing him to increase profitability for the company.

For more on the Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative (IWDC), you my visit their web site here.

The Fabricator is a publication of the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, Intl., which works with welding and fabricators, providing industry news and updates designed to serve people who work in the welding and fabrication industries. For more about The Fabricator and the welding industry it serves, visit their website by clicking this link.