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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Developing a Vacuum Pressure Impregnation Procedure for CORC Wires


Superconducting magnets designed for high energy physics and nuclear fusion require mechanical and electrical integrity to perform at high currents and magnetic fields. Vacuum Pressure Impregnation (VPI), a process of curing epoxy in and around the superconducting wires, is often used to support and consolidate a magnet. However, the heat and mechanical stresses associated with the process can degrade the wires, significantly lowering their critical current. This study explores different methods of potting and curing CORC wire with the aim of reducing wire performance degradation to less than 3% measured at 77 K, self-field. The wires were 2.9 mm in diameter consisting of a total of six REBCO tapes (three layers of two tapes). Two bending radii (20 mm and 50 mm) were tested to mimic the winding shape of a magnet. Mix 61 epoxy was used in preliminary tests for potting. For each test, two wires were used, and their critical currents were measured simultaneously in liquid nitrogen at 77 K - in their straight form, then bent, followed by the heat treatment used for Mix 61 but without epoxy and finishing with the full epoxy impregnation test. Later tests were performed using CTD-528 to explore a room temperature cure, limiting possibility of degradation from thermal expansion and prolonged exposure of the REBCO tapes to elevated temperature. Here we report the experimental results with multiple CORC wires and different curing schedules. The results obtained are the first steps toward identifying the VPI process with minimum degradation in critical current to be implemented in high-field magnets using CORC wires.

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