, , , , William Starch, Arup Ghosh
The strain irreversibility cliff (SIC), marking the abrupt change of the intrinsic irreversible strain limit ε_irr,0 as a function of heat-treatment (HT) temperature θ in Nb3Sn superconducting wires made by the restacked-rod process (RRP), is confirmed in various wire designs. It adds to the complexity of reconciling amongst conflicting requirements on conductors for fabricating magnets. Those intended for the high-luminosity upgrade of the Large Hardon Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) facility require maintaining the residual resistivity ratio RRR of conductors above 150 to ensure stability of magnets against quenching. This benchmark may compromise the conductors' mechanical integrity if their ε_irr,0 is within or at the bottom of SIC. In this coupled investigation of strain and RRR properties to fully assess the implications of SIC, we introduce the electro-mechanical stability criterion that takes into account both aspects. For standard-Sn billets, this requires a strikingly narrow HT temperature window that is impractical. On the other hand, reduced-Sn billets offer a significantly wider choice of θ, not only for ensuring that ε_irr,0 is located at the SIC top while RRR ≥ 150, but also for reducing the strain-induced irreversible degradation of the conductors current-current beyond ε_irr,0. This study suggests that HT of LHC magnets, made of reduced-Sn wires having a Nb/Sn ratio of 3.6 and 108/127 restacking architecture, be operated at θ in the range of 680 to 695 °C (when the dwell time is 48 hours).
superconductors, strain effect, niobium tin, heat treatment