What materials are available to use as high temperature
superconductors? What is the process in makeing them?
As far as I know, the high temperature superconductors (HTSC) are all
ceramics. Some metals and alloys do have superconducting properties, but
they are superconductors at very low temperatures (4 K). Copper for
instance is one of these metals. Now, the unique properties of HTSC are
because of the combination of different elements that may not be
superconducting on there own. Some HTSC's include YBCO (yttrium barium
copper oxide) and BSCCO (bismuth strontium calcium copper oxide). The
copper is the element that conducts the electricity, but it is the other
elements that help make it a HTSC. Superconductivity it very dependent on
the structure of the material. YBCO and BSCCO are both copper containing
superconductors, but they are different superconducting properties (YBCO is
superconducting at 77 K and BSSCO is at 110 K just to show a couple
differences). This is because of the difference in the atomic structure.
As for making the materials, it can be made in just about any chemical lab
or industrial setting. It is a matter of mixing the components of the
material and "baking" them the right way. Certain "baking" methods will
produce different SC properties.
There are some chemical companies who make the superconducting powders and
there are some companies who manufacture superconductors for industrial
uses, such as wires and tapes. I don't know who they are though.
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Update: June 2012