TOPICAL REVIEW: A review of the properties of Nb3Sn and their variation with A15 composition, morphology and strain state
Significant efforts can be found throughout the literature to optimize the current-carrying capacity of Nb3Sn superconducting wires. The achievable transport current density in wires depends on the A15 composition, morphology and strain state. The A15 sections in wires contain, due to compositional inhomogeneities resulting from solid-state diffusion A15 formation reactions, a distribution of superconducting properties. The A15 grain size can be different from wire to wire, and is also not necessarily homogeneous across the A15 regions. Strain is always present in composite wires, and the strain state changes as a result of thermal contraction differences and Lorentz forces in magnet systems. To optimize the transport properties, it is thus required to identify how composition, grain size and strain state influence the superconducting properties. This is not possible accurately in inhomogeneous and spatially complex systems such as wires. This article therefore gives an overview of the available literature on simplified, well-defined (quasi-)homogeneous laboratory samples. After more than 50 years of research on superconductivity in Nb3Sn, a significant amount of results are available, but these are scattered over a multitude of publications. Two reviews exist on the basic properties of A15 materials in general, but no specific review for Nb3Sn is available. This article is intended to provide such an overview. It starts with a basic description of the niobium-tin intermetallic. After that, it maps the influence of Sn content on the electron-phonon interaction strength and on the field-temperature phase boundary. The literature on the influence of Cu, Ti and Ta additions will then be summarized briefly. This is followed by a review of the effects of grain size and strain. The article concludes with a summary of the main results.
Superconductor Science Technology
- Pub Date:
- August 2006
- Condensed Matter - Superconductivity;
- Condensed Matter - Materials Science
- Invited Topical Review for Superconductor, Science and Technology. Provisionally scheduled for July 2006