Microtech2010 2010

MgB2 Superconducting Applications to the Flywheels Energy Storage Systems

G. Giunchi, E. Perini

Keywords: superconductor, MgB2, reactive liquid infiltration, permanent magnets


To increase substantially the energy capacity of the flywheels, high rotation speeds and a rotor made by high strength carbon composites are required. In such conditions a levitated superconducting bearing permit to minimize the losses due to the friction. Up to now the lab scale superconducting magnetic bearings have used special textured YBCO pellets, but the size limitation of these pellets to few cm is one of the causes of the losses experienced by these bearings. We are approaching this issue by using a more friendly superconducting material, the MgB2, that at nanosize scale does not present barriers to the currents at the grain boundaries. It needs a less efficient cryogenics (Tc=39K) with respect to YBCO (Tc=85K), but it can be manufactured in large pieces without any limitation in the current flow. We have discovered an innovative sintering technique for the MgB2: the Reactive Liquid Mg Infiltration. According to this technology the superconducting materials can be produced at high density, in large size and in shape of cylinders that are suitable for levitated magnetic bearings. We evaluate an assembly of a MgB2 cylinder and of a rotor made by a stack of Permanent Magnets, that freely rotate inside the cylinder.
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