Reversible and irreversible mechanical effects in real cable-in-conduit conductors

N. Mitchell, A. Devred, D.C. Larbalestier, P.J. Lee, C. Sanabria, Arend Nijhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The strong strain sensitivity of the critical properties of Nb3Sn is well established. However, the roles played by both the reversible strain sensitivity and the susceptibility to brittle fracture of Nb3Sn filaments is still leading to unexpected results and resulting design modifications of conductors. Practical conductors require acceptance of less than perfect superconducting behaviour because such conductors actually operate continuously in a slightly resistive mode. Performance testing of the ITER conductors has provided a unique database of both strand and corresponding conductor performance. The test database includes strand characterization under uniaxial and bending strain, superconducting measurements on full-size conductor samples and microscopic investigations into filament fracture. A simple mechanical and electrical model of the strands and a multistage cable (capable of operation at 12 T and 45 kA) that focuses on predicting the imperfect superconducting behaviour is used to provide insight into the processes governing the observed conductor behaviour. The conclusions show that a short twist pitch at the first cabling stage provides the best operating conditions for the strands, and further that some strand mechanical properties, essentially a high stiffness to bending and a low stiffness to pinching, increase the ability of the strands to tolerate less well optimized cables.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114004
Number of pages19
JournalSuperconductor science and technology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event7th Workshop on Electromagnetic and Mechanical Effects in Superconductors, MEM 2013
- Aix-en-Provence, France
Duration: 12 Mar 201314 Mar 2013
Conference number: 7


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