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New Superconductor World Record Surpasses 250K

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the and-a-new-hobby-is-born dept.

Science 271

myrrdyn writes to tell us that a new superconductivity record high of 254 Kelvin (-19C, -2F) has been recorded. According to the article this is the first time a superconductive state has been observed at a temperature comparable to a household freezer. "This achievement was accomplished by combining two previously successful structure types: the upper part of a 9212/2212C and the lower part of a 1223. The chemical elements remain the same as those used in the 242K material announced in May 2009. The host compound has the formula (Tl4Ba)Ba2Ca2Cu7Oy and is believed to attain 254K superconductivity when a 9223 structure forms"

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271 comments

A couple visions for the future (5, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 4 years ago | (#29724807)

If you have some time to read, I'll explain my vision for the future: If we put solar panels across the desert, we'll need to have a transmission line to get it to places where people live. I reason that a super conductive line would do the trick. It is costly in terms of energy to cool the lines, but if you have an excess of energy to begin with, it could actually cost less than the loss of power you get in copper lines. Basically you just leech off the super conductive line for cooling.

The demand for energy will only increase with time regardless of conservation efforts, and this isn't a bad thing. The more energy we have, the cheaper transportation and food is which in turn lets people have more money for charity to help people who need food. So creating a surplus of energy soon could have worldwide benefits instead of just keeping up with demand.

I have a second vision that goes along with solar in the desert and superconductivity lines. It is tidal/solar near the coast, to fuel up hydrogen tanker trucks. These hydrogen tanker trucks could run on hydrogen themselves and take the energy inland. In the same processing plant that creates the hydrogen from electricity, they could also produce clean water for countries that need that as a critical resource.

Both of these visions takes a little bit of technological advancement, but not too much from what we have. My key question would be: Would this new superconductor be possible to mass produce, and could it be used as a new transmission line?

Not likely (2, Informative)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29724851)

If this structure is anything like the other high temp superconductor, it is a ceramic, which can hardly be used as a cable conductor.

Re:Not likely (2, Interesting)

dch24 (904899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29724965)

It is very much like other high performance thallium-cuprates. This is my favorite quote from TFA: "we are near the upper limit of cuprate superconductivity postulated by V. Kresin, et al, in 1997."

Re:Not likely (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29725033)

My favorite quote from TFA is, "This discovery is being released into the public domain without patent protection in order to encourage additional research."

famous last words? (2, Funny)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725137)

"254K should be warm enough for anyone"

Re:famous last words? (5, Funny)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725239)

"254K should be warm enough for anyone"

I want one that works at 640 K, so I can use it to replace the heating element in my oven. Because superconductors make everything more efficient.

Re:famous last words? (0, Redundant)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725767)

Mod parent funny :D. (Coz' the very point of superconductors is NO resistive heating ;-)

Re:famous last words? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29726087)

I want one that works at 640 K, so I can use it to replace the heating element in my oven. Because superconductors make everything more efficient.

ohms law fail! ;)

Ceramic cables (5, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29724999)

...it is a ceramic, which can hardly be used as a cable conductor.

You mean except for the ceramic cables that are [wikipedia.org] already [redorbit.com] in [amsc.com] use [superconductorweek.com] ? I think your "information" may be a wee bit out of date.

Re:Not likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29725099)

If this structure is anything like the other high temp superconductor, it is a ceramic, which can hardly be used as a cable conductor.

I'm guessing it'd be classed as a ceramic although a lot of the composition is metallic. I'd lay odds it's brittle. It might be possible to "weave" a ceramic with carbon nanotubes to make it strong enough for line use. I've seen amazing things done with ceramics. Either way it'd still be useful for computer chips and other applications where flexsibility isn't an issue. The whole point is an inexpensive cooling source can keep it superconductive. That's a massive advance even if there are limited uses.

Re:A couple visions for the future (-1, Redundant)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29724885)

The more energy we have, the cheaper transportation and food is which in turn lets people have more money for charity to help people who need food.

The more energy we have, the greedier the corporations controlling it will become. Constant rate hikes, cutting corners on infrastructure and safety, passing the costs of their own follies onto their ratepayers [sandiegoreader.com] , creating artificial shortages a la OPEC, etc.

Your vision of a warm and fuzzy utopia will not happen until after a bloody proletarian revolt which will hopefully happen in another 10-20 years.

Re:A couple visions for the future (5, Funny)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725069)

Which leads to my vision of the future.

After the proletarian revolt, all the women kill most of the men in their sleep. They go off and create the solar/hydrogen economy that the grandparent mentioned, creating a solar Amazonian paradise. Where are the men that are left? Well, they keep small villages of them where the men sit around and drink beer and watch Spike TV all day. Then when the women are ready to mate, they have a champion from each village fight one another to the death. Then said champion mates with all the Amazons that want to have a child. After which, he is torn from limb from limb in a Baccean orgy - still alive and conscious.

For pleasure of course, the women are really lesbians and the men aren't allowed to watch.

See what your proletarian revolt leads to! Female happiness!

Re:A couple visions for the future (1)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725795)

I think that was kinda funny :D. "Troll" is a bit harsh what? :P

Re:A couple visions for the future (4, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29724919)

I too have a vision. It involves electricity becoming mondo-expensive and people switching to energy saving devices en-masse. Governments around the world turning to nuclear, and where convenient, hydro and air power, not because they have low carbon emissions (that's only a plus), but because they are actually cheaper! People finally turning away from 1800's oil and coal based technologies and moving, triumphantly towards 1950's engineering solutions!!

Re:A couple visions for the future (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29724979)

Our electrical transmission network is already 93% efficient, significantly cheaper than the refrigeration needed to make this superconductor function.

Your idea lacks evidence of cognition, but is otherwise quite brilliant.

Re:A couple visions for the future (1)

dch24 (904899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725013)

I know, don't feed the trolls...

This new superconductor would work fine without any cooling, most of the year...in Northern Canada!

Simply generate electricity locally. (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725117)

Why waste all the time, money and materials to drag out miles upon miles of superconducting "wire" to get from the generation site to the end user?

Re:Simply generate electricity locally. (2, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725401)

Those damns laws of thermodynamics say large scale plants are inherently more efficient even accounting for transmission losses. Reduce transmission losses by a couple more percent and it's like you built a couple more large scale plants. Oh and using cheap land to generate electricity for high value land also seems like a no-brainer (seriously, would you build local generation in lower Manhattan?)

Re:Simply generate electricity locally. (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#29726063)

depends on the power generation source. If we can make a stable fusion system that fails safe then yes. Pebble bed fission isn't bad. in fact on or two per 1 million people would stabilize the power grid.

The big problem with the power grid is that it is a really simple target. The 2003 blackout of the north east USA, was testament to the fact that one little screw up and the whole thing shuts down in beautiful cascading failures. a targeted set of attacks at key points at the right time of the year could kill millions with only a handful of targets. and I am not talking about destroying any nuclear plant, just the right transmission towers in the right sequence and suddenly the north east of the USA, some 40 million people are without heat and electricity for a month. Target for a second attack for the north west, shortly afterwards, and then rolling blackouts in the south and no one will be able to fix it for a year. 20 maybe 30 bombs around the country and the USA is worthless for the next couple of years.

partial local generation is the only viable long term solution to our future power needs. Big plants will be needed, but small plants will save lives. Even partial solar and wind generation in each region would be enough to help.

Re:Simply generate electricity locally. (1)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725797)

Why waste all the time, money and materials to drag out miles upon miles of superconducting "wire" to get from the generation site to the end user?

1. Solar plants are really big, and land is scarce and/or expensive near urban centers. Few places on the surface of the earth have enough insolation (or, equivalently, the number of sunny days per year) to make solar effective, and they don't happen to be near urban centers.

2. Nuclear plants are big (land, again) and potentially dangerous, so are a bad idea to have near urban centers.

3. Hydro plants are wherever mother nature makes it advantageous to build them, which often isn't near urban centers.

4. Coal / oil / natural gas plants are large (land again), noisy, and pollute the air, so are best put away from urban centers.

5. Wind -- useful wind -- isn't found everywhere, and often not that near urban centers. Many people find the plants unattractive, and they have a tendency to kill birds. Lots of people don't want them near urban centers, even in the places where they might be useful.

So ... in essentially every case, the power sources need to be placed some distance from the power drains. And that's completely ignoring the fact that there is already a vast and sophisticated system for sharing load / supply across vastly separated parts of the country to compensate for variations in supply and demand.

High-power transmission lines are not going to go away, ever.

Re:A couple visions for the future (4, Interesting)

Bender_ (179208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725201)

Actually you don't need superconductors for this. High-voltage direct current [wikipedia.org] transmission lines are very well capable of delivering electricity with high efficiency across long distance without superconductors. Existing projects, like the Quebec-New Englad transmission line [abb.com] are capable of carrying >2GW of electrical energy over distances of >1100km. This is far more than even the largest photovoltaic power plant can generate today.

Re:A couple visions for the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29725935)

2 Gjigga Whats?... Now all we need to do is drive at 88mph to get back to the future and stop all this mess happening in the first place

2 GW btw is about the out put of 2 nuclear power stations or like 10,000 wind turbines

Re:A couple visions for the future (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725251)

If we put solar panels across the desert, we'll need to have a transmission line to get it to places where people live.

Sure we'll all be living in a desert by then anyway. You know nothing, Jon Snow ;)

Re:A couple visions for the future (3, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725687)

Solar panels are stupid right now. They require rare materials, are not very reliable, but very expensive.
The solution for right now are arrays of cheap, easily replacable mirrors that heat a tube of water so that it can drive turbines. Simple, reliable, and very cheap. And yo only need to fill i tiny tiny amount of some very dead desert with them.
I can't imagine anything beating that. You could build it right now even in the poorest regions of the world. Nearly out of trash. :)
I agree with the rest of the first vision though. :)

The second one... well... tidal is bad, because it messes with nature for no reason (compared to above solution).
The rest is good. :)

But I don't think we need any technological advancement at all, to make this come true. Everything except for being able to buy those high-temperature superconductive power lines, and for the acceptable solar cells, already exists and is used right now.
But we can simply use big traditional DC lines until then.
And as I said, we don't need solar cells.

The only question remaining is: Why isn't it being done already? If I were a poor African state, (preferably with a desert) I'd put a big plant into that desert, and tell the oil and other industries, that they can go fuck themselves, because now I'm free! ^^
Then I'd start exporting energy and technology.
Done right this would mean a boom for the whole country.
Then add ubiquitous Internet access, and before you know it, you're surpassing India and are the no 1 country in Africa.

Re:A couple visions for the future (1)

jimmyhat3939 (931746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725737)

On the desert-solar thing, It turns out you need to clean the mirrors frequently, which requires water, which requires energy to bring in since there is little in the desert. It's a big problem.

Re:A couple visions for the future (1)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725771)

I wrote my congress critter with a similar proposal about a year a ago in light of the rising unemployment numbers. Basically my suggestion was that the US should go build several cross country superconductive transmission lines. It could be a public works on a similar scale as the Interstate Highway System with that would give job opportunities to a full range of workers, from grunts to scientists to engineers. We need some means to efficiently transmitting energy otherwise all of these tidal/solar/wind/thermal projects will only be a benefit to the localities that house them and will never be capable to scale to the level required in order to move away from oil. I suspect having numerous clean(er) energy sources all tied together might be enough to supply even the base load once you start thinking large enough.

Re:A couple visions for the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29725901)

Or, you could use liquid hydrogen to cool the transmission lines and kill two birds with one stone.

LHC? (0)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29724817)

Wow. I'll bet the guys at Cern are feeling pretty foolish right about now.

Re:LHC? (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29724929)

Why? One lab result (not yet repeated AFAIK) does not represent a workable magnet technology. The magnets at CERN didn't even use the highest temperature available at the time of their design in any case; so it obviously doesn't follow that 'the higher temperature the superconductor, the better the magnet'

Enough with the LHC bashing, please. Europe is taking a lead in particle physics, and unsurprisingly being at the absolute bleeding edge comes with some technical pitfalls.

Re:LHC? (4, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29724935)

Wow. I'll bet the guys at Cern are feeling pretty foolish right about now.

No, "high temperature" superconductors cannot be used in magnets. That's why they're using liquid helium (or was it liquid hydrogen?) instead of the much cheaper liquid nitrogen -- all the superconductors that work at the warmer liquid nitrogen temperatures will stop working in a moderately strong magnetic field.

Re:LHC? (1)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725375)

superconductors ... will stop working in a moderately strong magnetic field.

If that's the case, I have to wonder about the guys, above, suggesting we should use these for power lines. All you'd need is a kid with a couple of hard drive magnets to bring down a whole power grid. All they'd have to do is tie the magnets together, throw them up to the power line (so they wrap around), and the resistance of that portion of the line would become non-zero. Then, the hundreds of amps of current flowing through that portion of the cable would heat it up (possibly enough to make it explode), melt it, and effectively cut the cable.

Sounds like a good idea to me!

Re:LHC? (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725475)

All they'd have to do is tie the magnets together, throw them up to the power line

Except that superconducting power transmission lines are likely to be buried along with their cooling systems. There are a couple of places on Earth where overhead superconducting power lines might work year round, but there's really not much call for a power grid in Antarctica.

So what's the big deal? (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725563)

No, "high temperature" superconductors cannot be used in magnets.

Are you suggesting then that work in high temperature superconductors will have few applications? That is, this work is intended to further theoretical progress to develop an understanding of the underlying reason that substances superconduct at all?

Re:LHC? (1)

bucky0 (229117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725697)

No, "high temperature" superconductors cannot be used in magnets. That's why they're using liquid helium (or was it liquid hydrogen?) instead of the much cheaper liquid nitrogen -- all the superconductors that work at the warmer liquid nitrogen temperatures will stop working in a moderately strong magnetic field.

It's liquid helium. There's a ton of problems with LH2 that nobody wants to mess with.

Regards,

Re:LHC? (1)

whoisisis (1225718) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725827)

> No, "high temperature" superconductors cannot be used in magnets.

[citation needed]

We're getting closer (1)

lyml (1200795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29724831)

Reaching room temperature super conduction would bring huge benefits to modern day technology. Power usage of chips would plummet to almost nothing and allow a brand new generation of processors. Amongst several other very useful things.

Re:We're getting closer (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29724949)

In Siberia this is room temperature.

Re:We're getting closer (1)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725089)

Are you suggesting that in the cold regions of Eastern Europe, rather than the critical temperature of superconductors surpassing room temperature as new materials and configurations are studied, room temperature is already below the critical temperature of superconductors, and could therefore make these superconductors viable in some parts of the world without the need for costly cooling systems? To rephrase; In Soviet Russia, room temperature surpasses the critical temperature! Intriguing...

Re:We're getting closer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29725233)

You must be a US citizen...

Siberia is not in Eastern Europe, it's Northern Asia.

Re:We're getting closer (2, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725195)

In Siberia this is room temperature.

In David Letterman's bedroom, this is above room temperature.

Fixed.

Re:We're getting closer (4, Informative)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29724975)

Reaching room temperature super conduction would bring huge benefits to modern day technology. Power usage of chips would plummet to almost nothing and allow a brand new generation of processors. Amongst several other very useful things.

I thought most energy losses in chips were in the actual transistors rather than in the wires? Now, if they find a way to make this stuff switch very quickly between "superconducting" and "very good insulator"...

Re:We're getting closer (0)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725155)

About 1/3 of energy generated in the United States is wasted in transmission.

Yes, about 1/3.

Re:We're getting closer (2, Funny)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725237)

another 1/3 is wasted powering computers used to read slashdot

Re:We're getting closer (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29725267)

Sigh... I know this is Slashdot, but how about reaching as far as your keyboard and throwing a few obvious keywords at Google?
From en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_transmission:
"Transmission and distribution losses in the USA were estimated at 7.2% in 1995"
Re-sigh.

Re:We're getting closer (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725661)

Funny, I couldn't remember the source of my 1/3 loss, so I threw a few words at google, and found the same reference that you did - 7.2%.

But the funny part is that THAT citation isn't exactly authoritative, either. Further searching found that in India, the rate is as low as 70% [outlookindia.com] while the state of Deleware declares that "70 percent of the energy in the fuels used to generate electricity is lost" [delaware.gov] and in the UK it's supposedly about 2% lost in transmission [bwea.com] .

Wikipedia isn't the definitive answer, folks, even if it is a good starting point!

Re:We're getting closer (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725925)

In New Zealand it's about 5% on the national grid. I imagine it's similar again for local networks. Step down losses are 1-2% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformer#Energy_losses [wikipedia.org] .

It's highly dependent on how you define transmission losses though isn't it? Do you count losses associated with charging batteries? That's a form of energy transmission. What about the transformers in electronics' power supplies?

1/3 doesn't actually feel that far off.

Re:We're getting closer (1, Informative)

ravenacious (1655221) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725951)

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have been compiling a comprehensive review of energy usage in the USA for many years now. They make a cool energy flow diagram that shows where all the energy in the US comes from and goes to. You can find it at https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/energy/energy.html [llnl.gov] In 2008, about 27% of energy from electricity generation was "rejected". I think that this is mostly transmission loss. It's a very informative diagram, simultaneously interesting and depressing

Re:We're getting closer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29725281)

Nope,

Transmission and distribution losses in the USA were estimated at 7.2% in 1995.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_transmission#Losses

Re:We're getting closer (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725009)

We're kind of not getting closer though. This sounds like a very expensive material, and though it's a "breakthrough," it's really not that much better than the copper oxides we had in 1986. Since then we've tried every trick in the book, and while it's not quite fair to say that we've hit a wall, we've hit something like a foam block, so every step forward is tinier and takes more time and effort. This is a tiny step forward compared to the heady days of the 80's, when we thought that room temperature superconductors might be around the corner based on Tc trends up to then. I suspect they're not physically possible. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Re:We're getting closer (1)

QuasiEvil (74356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725083)

A couple problems with your theory:

    - A large portion of the energy dissipated in modern ICs involves leakage through increasingly small insulating layers, in addition to energy already dissipated through capacitive effects (energy stored on FET gates being dumped). Superconductive materials do very little to help this, as the losses aren't resistive in nature. What you really need are superinsulators that have desirable electric field properties to deal with this... Look up high k dielectrics.
  - The physics and industrial processes of manufacturing ICs from the usual suspects (Si, SiGe, GaAs, etc...) is very well understood. While I know superconductive transistors have been developed, actually figuring out how to build them and all of the supporting structures in a size process similar to silicon may not work.

substitute a mineral or two here and there (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29724903)

we're talking room temperature

a few more simple crystallization process tweaks

we're talking desert weather

change the fabrication and assembly process like this and that, add layers of this material and that material:

ductile materials rather than ceramics

seriously, it will take a lot of hard (nobel prize winning) effort, but there isn't a shred of doubt in my mind that by my old age at least, materials scientists will give us cheap, high temperature superconducting wires

which changes everything, and has implications everywhere, in avenues of possibilities none of us have fully thought out, but plenty of us are excited to try

Re:substitute a mineral or two here and there (4, Funny)

kill-1 (36256) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725007)

it will take a lot of hard (nobel prize winning) effort

Yeah, but Nobel prize winning effort isn't what it used to be.

Re:substitute a mineral or two here and there (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725037)

It seems one way would be to promise to produce a really fast computer at some point in the future, without actually doing anything yet.

or inventing the internet! (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725261)

Or bombing children in cambodia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29726011)

It's much harder than it used to be. You used to be able to get the peace prize for bombing children in a country that you never declared war on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Kissinger [wikipedia.org]

Re:substitute a mineral or two here and there (-1, Troll)

ijakings (982830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725225)

It depends, if these guys are black, and happen to do this against the odds, we could have a winner.

Re:substitute a mineral or two here and there (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29726025)

Yeah. They gave one for acting in a movie a few years ago. (A Nobel Prize in Science, in fact.)

Re:substitute a mineral or two here and there (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#29726083)

Yeah, but will it be classified as a toxic material or break down into toxic materials according to California?

Also, how durable is this material? What's its operative lifespan? How long can it be stored after manufacture before use? If your fridge fails, does your superconductor die?

RESEARCH NOTE: The copper-oxides are strongly hygroscopic [absorbing or attracting moisture from the air]. All tests should be performed immediately after annealing.

So there's the requirement that it be a dry cold.

NO PATENT PROTECTION (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29724943)

From TFA:
This discovery is being released into the public domain without patent protection in order to encourage additional research.

Amazingly cool. (No pun intended.)

You're being taken for a ride (4, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725537)

It it wasn't obvious before, this "no patents" sentence should have made it obvious to you that the guy is a crackpot. This guy is making materials with Tc 100K higher than the rest of the world [wikipedia.org] and he publishes on his own website instead of Nature and Science? Come on -- if any of his previously claimed discoveries had any grain of truth in them he'd have won an immediate Nobel prize; this would be far more important than the CCD.

Re:You're being taken for a ride (4, Interesting)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29726049)

Yeah, he may be a crackpot. But even if the data presented are 100% accurate, it's not really clear that the phenomena he observes constitute superconductivity.

The first chart (labeled "4-point resistance test") seems to show a slight but noticeable jump in resistivity at 254 K. Okay... why is the jump so small? High-temperature superconductors generally have /some/ measurable resistivity just below their transition temperature, but this appears to be much greater than that.

The Magnetization Test graph is totally unclear. The y-axis shows only relative values and no data is showed *below* the supposed transition temperature. I'm not entirely clear on what he's claiming to measure here. The Meissner Effect? The disruption of superconductivity in a strong field?

So, even if these measurements are correct, it's not clear at all to me that they demonstrate superconductivity.

Cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29724945)

But better yet, not cold!

Bad summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29724987)

What is "the upper part of a 9212/2212C and the lower part of a 1223?" And I don't believe there's an element known as Oy.

Re:Bad summary (5, Informative)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725087)

What is "the upper part of a 9212/2212C and the lower part of a 1223?"

9212/2212C and 1223 are structure names. Would you like an introductory crystallography text with your summary next time? It would, after all, save you the onerous effort of following the article link.

And I don't believe there's an element known as Oy.

O-sub-y, indicating an indefinite ratio of oxygen.

Re:Bad summary (4, Insightful)

Ryvar (122400) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725813)

You seem to know what you're talking about, care to clue the rest of us in as to whether the link is at all plausible? Given the nature of the source, I have difficulty believing so.

Re:Bad summary (5, Funny)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725135)

What is "the upper part of a 9212/2212C and the lower part of a 1223?" And I don't believe there's an element known as Oy.

When combined with the element Vey, it forms Exasperatium.

That's hot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29725011)

Cool stuff.

Possible applications (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725051)

Some cursory research [wikipedia.org] suggests the following applications:

-- electric motors, possibly for vehicle propulsion
-- maglev devices
-- magnetic refrigeration

It sounds to me like the primary application of superconductivity is in devices that incorporate magnets. Medical imaging devices like MRIs may also be affected by this discovery.

All of this is due to the fact that superdoncuting magnets produce stronger magnetic fields than conventional electromagnets and are cheaper to operate [wikipedia.org]

Re:Possible applications (3, Informative)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725193)

Alas, as others have pointed out upthread, the high-temp superconductors don't work well for magnets. All superconducting materials lose their superconductivity at a certain magnetic field-strength threshold; for high-Tc materials, that threshold is much lower than it is for "conventional" superconductors.

Even if that weren't an issue, the ceramic materials are generally too brittle to stand up to the mechanical forces inside a high-field magnet coil.

Our lab has experimented with high-Tc superconducting probes for MRI. Even though they're high-Tc, we still end up cooling them to the liquid-helium range.

Re:Possible applications (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725809)

Alas, as others have pointed out upthread, the high-temp superconductors don't work well for magnets. All superconducting materials lose their superconductivity at a certain magnetic field-strength threshold; for high-Tc materials, that threshold is much lower than it is for "conventional" superconductors.

Even if that weren't an issue, the ceramic materials are generally too brittle to stand up to the mechanical forces inside a high-field magnet coil.

Our lab has experimented with high-Tc superconducting probes for MRI. Even though they're high-Tc, we still end up cooling them to the liquid-helium range.

The beauty of Scientific Research is that it is always a moving target. When these superconductors research expands to composite materials that provide more exotic properties you'll see them being used in said applications that currently don't seem optimal.

Re:Possible applications (1)

ogl_codemonkey (706920) | more than 4 years ago | (#29726079)

Please elaborate; what is a superdon and why would I want to cut one with a magnet?

"Antarctica is Cold Enough" (2, Interesting)

joelholdsworth (1095165) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725111)

...makes you think, doesn't it?

Re:"Antarctica is Cold Enough" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29725297)

I find it hard to think when I'm that cold, tbh.

Bullshit (5, Insightful)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725113)

You want me to believe a wildly high superconductor Tc claim using a link to a shady website that looks like it was designed in 1996, without any link to a paper or an author, without any reference to where the discovery was made, without any notes about secondary confirmation, without any other reference in the media except one lamo blog and without any real formal publication at all? Here's what every physicist reading this article right now is thinking: STFU. If you get a near room temp Tc superconductor working, you better be on the front page of a rushed to print edition of Nature that someone just ran down the hall to shove in my hand, or I'm not even going to give you the time of day.

Re:Bullshit (4, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725235)

Oh come on. It was posted on superconductors.org. They just don't hand those domains out to anybody you know. I am pretty sure there are some pretty extensive checking before someone can buy a domain like that. I bet the science guys all have like hella degrees from STFU so you know they're all the awesome and crap.

Re:Bullshit (5, Informative)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725249)

I agree. No mention of a paper, or any corroboration. Is this guy ( http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/view_profile.php?userid=4422 [berkeley.edu] ) claiming that he's discovered it? By the way, comedy quote from that page:

"I think there is a strong possibility of extraterrestrial life based on a passage in the Bible. The Lord talks about gathering His creation from the ends of the Universe."

Re:Bullshit (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29726119)

Well, he does seem to have discovered [superconductors.org] Weather Underground's logo. [wxug.com]

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29725265)

I totally agree. I searched google expecting to find articles all over the web with this AMAZING discovery, but nope, no one has it.

Re:Bullshit (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725277)

Scouring the Internet, there's absolutely no published article in any of the valid peer reviewed sites for this. If I had mod points I would have modded you "insightful":)

Re:Bullshit (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725299)

But it's on the INTERNET, it HAS to be true!

Re:Bullshit (0)

sofar (317980) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725315)

You're not judging the scientific value, but the presentation instead.

Many wild and ingenious scientific discoveries have been produced with less pretty and less well-documented publications. Perhaps it would be best to review the data instead?

Re:Bullshit (1)

l2718 (514756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725663)

Many wild and ingenious scientific discoveries have been produced with less pretty and less well-documented publications. Perhaps it would be best to review the data instead?

Except that this guy is not publishing his data. As GP said, if he was right he would corner the front page of Nature. Some jotting on a website do not amount to a something others can verify and use.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29725609)

What if there's no evidence to support it because all the evidence is slowly being taken out......

*queue x-files theme*

Enjoy the rest of your day, conspiracy theorist. :)

Re:Bullshit (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725825)

Oh my. I looked at the site. And you were understating it.
It's ONE guy. I wonder who posted it on Slashdot. But.. Are they freakin' kidding?? Is that a joke?
Did he build some time-machine? That site looks ancient.
I'm a professional, and I nearly went blind.

Also with those "quotes" on his front page:

"A great place to start learning about superconductors. Start here!"
- Arizona State University

One of "the top Internet education sites..."
- Innovative Teaching

"The best information online about superconductivity."
- Energy Science News

"Superlative...invaluable...endlessly informative."
- Netsurfer Science

"The greatest Superconductor site on earth."
- Michigan State University

Yeah right... I bet they are all... real... LOL.
He should replace his "Bichalk Best top 2%" badge with a "cheesy AND fake sites top 2%" badge.
Even if it's real, that site design destroys it all.

He could just as well be hosted on rasputin.de [rasputin.de] (funny fake homepages).

in other news (0)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725217)

satan is reported to start funding his own superconductivity laboratory

What? (2, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725227)

This achievement was accomplished by combining two previously successful structure types: the upper part of a 9212/2212C and the lower part of a 1223. The chemical elements remain the same as those used in the 242K material announced in May 2009. The host compound has the formula (Tl4Ba)Ba2Ca2Cu7Oy and is believed to attain 254K superconductivity when a 9223 structure forms

Ok. I now physics and chemistry. But WHAT? Those numbers make no sense, and is about the most useless quote ever quoted on slashdot. And that's saying something.

Don't buy shares yet. :) (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725275)

This is a long way from practicality, particularly for applications requiring bulk materials. They don't say what fraction of the material was superconducting, just that it was low, and the compound itself is pretty unstable: "The copper-oxides are strongly hygroscopic. All tests should be performed immediately after annealing."

Wow... if its true (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725385)

This is so close to room temperature, and could be used with standard refrigation no need from liquid nitrogen anymore. Room Temperature Superconductors would completely change modern electronics and electromechanics. Motors and Generators waste lots of power, and RTS would be near 100% efficients, ( infinite conductiving only applies for constant currents, there is resistance to changes in currents in a superconductors).

The linked page, looks like its from a amature research group, and none of the earlier results, from 200Ks up, have been confirmed in the mainstream. The offical world record temperature is 138K, still in liquid nitrogen range.

----

Super Conductor [feeddistiller.com] feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Crackpot? (1)

l2718 (514756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725389)

This links to a website in which a private guy touts his own research. There are a few references to publications by others but the alleged "discoverer" doesn't seem to have published any articles. If this was legit he'd have plenty of paper in Nature, Science, PRL, Phys Rev A etc. Can't the editors exercise a modicum of common sense?

Missing tag (4, Insightful)

barakn (641218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725477)

Where's the bullshit tag?

Wow only -254K (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725479)

This means superconductivity is possible without any equipment just about any January day in Winnipeg MB.

Re:Wow only -254K (1)

Sinbios (852437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725581)

Wow. Winnipeg MB must be really damned cold.

Undersea/underground cables? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725899)

I wonder if this superconductor is 'warm enough' that you could create practical underground/undersea conductors now? I mean, granted, it's not that cold underground, undersea, but this conductor is high-temperature enough that I suspect you could create a refrigerated 'housing' for the conductor, and manage to keep it cold enough underground or undersea. You wouldn't run the power the 'last mile' with such a superconductor, most likely, but perhaps refrigerated conductors would be suitable for connecting power plants to substations and other distant grids?

Now, why would you want such a superconductor? Because, wouldn't it be awesome, if you are an electric utility, to sell your 'off peak' electric capacity to another continent whose timezone puts them in 'peak demand' for that timezone, so that you get higher rate per hour than you do selling locally? (Granted, this doesn't help consumers any, but if you are a producer, this would sound like a no-brainer). If you could cost effectively connect all the continents with a superconductive grid, a producer in North America could sell power to Hawaii, Japan and SE Asia, Europe, former Soviet Republics, Africa, wherever, and vice versa.

I hear Iceland has more geothermal power than they could use. I bet they'd *love* to export power (maybe they already do?).

Well, duh! (1)

ArcadeNut (85398) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725611)

And here I was trying to combine 90210 with 8675309...

Production.. (1)

GammaStream (1472247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725621)

This is great but unless you manufacture the compound in large quantities commercially in a form that is useable e.g. a wire, it isn't going to make much difference to the average person in the street. I would imagine that is still decades away.

1223 (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29725891)

It's the new 133t.

"Believed"?! (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 4 years ago | (#29726031)

Oh my word!

Xbox 360? (1)

url00 (1345327) | more than 4 years ago | (#29726089)

Achievement Unlocked: 50G - Combine two previously successful structure types.

This reminds me... (1)

tubeguy (141431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29726103)

...of Fleischmann/Pons.
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