Bharath Kumar Kunjibettu

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Why is it hard to harness the immense potential of a super conductor?? Is it the cost involved in manufacturing them or maintaining them?

I have read about superconductors as a part of my curriculum . But this amazing talk made things more clear about superconductors . My question is simple
1.Though this concept started 100 years ago, why have we not yet harnessed them?
2.What were the challenges faced , is it maintaining them in a particular temperature ??
3.Is the cost so high to maintain superconductors in a particularly low temperature or does money play a significant role in harnessing this energy?

I am sure there are physicists and scientists and other folks of science in TED community ,who can throw more light on this.

  • Jul 29 2012: Why would that question even arise in your mind? It is as if you asked whether Tuesday is harmful to the environment.
  • Jul 3 2012: The challenge is keeping the cold enough to freeze all motion and turning them into a superconductor. With new materials we may be able to overcome this requirement. Look up "room temperature superconductors" for more info.
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    Jul 3 2012: They are very expensive to make and run, MRI scanners run on superconductors, it's because of the extremely cold temperatures required to make a metal superconductive.
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      Jul 3 2012: ok so isn't there any possible way in which costs can be reduced in manufacturing superconductor also maintaining them at low temperatures? .
      If we find Alloys or metals or compounds, whose critical temperatures is at around room temperature , then will the expenses in making and running them drop ?
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        Jul 3 2012: In theory it would, but it's impossible, as conductivity and resistance are all linked to particles and energy. So in a super cooled superconductor if the positive ions have no energy the electrons can flow extremely fast without resistance. So at room temp all particles have the same energy. Your best bet of reducing costs are to develop better means of maintaining and cooling the superconductors
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    Jul 3 2012: Also to add one more question , do the superconductors comply with the environmental guidelines ? In other words, does superconductors cause any sort of harm to the environment?
    • Jul 28 2012: Like what? Why should there be "environmental guidelines" for every physical phenomenon? If you have some complaint about them or some concern about something about them then please point them out, but you seem to be just assuming that the government needs to control this phenomenon and stop it from being used merely because it exists and not because of any hazards that you can't even name.

      They exist as part of our environment and we can use them for a variety of human purposes. I imagine that this necessarily means that the environmentalists are going to attack them somehow for some reason. They always do whether there's any rational justification for doing so or not.
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        Jul 29 2012: Well, I am not assuming that super conductors are harmful to the environment what I had was a question as to whether the superconductors are harmful to the environment ...