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Publication# Optimization Method for Extracting Stabilizer Geometry and Properties of REBCO Tapes

Abstract

A good knowledge of material properties is a critical aspect for modeling high-temperature superconductor (HTS) devices. However, the electrical resistivity of coated conductors above the critical current is limited. The major challenge in characterizing this regime lies in the fact that for I > Ic, heating effects and thermal instabilities can quickly destroy the conductor if nothing is done to protect it. In our previous works we proposed the overcritical current model, obtained by combining fast pulsed current measurements with finite element analysis (Uniform Current (UC) model). In this work, we assessed the impact of the uncertainties of the input parameters on the quantities calculated with the UC model (temperature and current in each layer of the tape). Firstly, sensitivity and uncertainty analyses were performed and it was found that the input parameters that mostly affect the UC model are the electrical resistivity and the thickness of the silver layer. Afterwards, an optimization method to correctly estimate the geometry and the resistivity of the silver layer was developed. This method combined experimental measurements of resistance R(T) of the tape and pulsed current measurement. The development of this strategy allowed us to determine the parameters that significantly impact the UC model and helps to minimize their uncertainties. This can enable a precise estimation of the overcritical current resistivity. 10%

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High-temperature superconductors (abbreviated high-Tc or HTS) are defined as materials with critical temperature (the temperature below which the material behaves as a superconductor) above , the boiling point of liquid nitrogen. They are only "high-temperature" relative to previously known superconductors, which function at even colder temperatures, close to absolute zero. The "high temperatures" are still far below ambient (room temperature), and therefore require cooling.

The finite element method (FEM) is a popular method for numerically solving differential equations arising in engineering and mathematical modeling. Typical problem areas of interest include the traditional fields of structural analysis, heat transfer, fluid flow, mass transport, and electromagnetic potential. The FEM is a general numerical method for solving partial differential equations in two or three space variables (i.e., some boundary value problems).

Temperature is a physical quantity that expresses quantitatively the perceptions of hotness and coldness. Temperature is measured with a thermometer. Thermometers are calibrated in various temperature scales that historically have relied on various reference points and thermometric substances for definition. The most common scales are the Celsius scale with the unit symbol °C (formerly called centigrade), the Fahrenheit scale (°F), and the Kelvin scale (K), the latter being used predominantly for scientific purposes.

High-Temperature Superconductors (HTS) can be superconducting in liquid nitrogen 77 K, holding immense promises for our future. They can enable disruptive technologies such as nuclear fusion, lossless power transmission, cancer treatment devices, and technologies for future transportation.
In the past years, the numerical models to describe the electrical resistivity of REBCO commercial tapes for devices working near and above the critical current, have been shown to be not accurate or very empirical. The resistivity in this regime, in fact, is not very well known. The lack of this knowledge is a significant issue in developing quality simulation tools. The major challenge in retrieving such properties lies in the fact that when I>Ic, heating effects, and thermal instabilities can quickly destroy the conductor if nothing is done to protect it. Moreover, due to the current sharing between the layers, it is difficult to know the amount of current carried by the superconducting layer and its resistivity.
The present work aims to understand better the overcritical current regime combining ultra-fast pulsed current measurements performed on HTS REBCO based coated conductors with Finite Element Modeling. The experimental activities were carried out mostly at EPFL and in part at PM and KIT. The modeling activities were carried out between EPFL and KIT. The major result is a resistivity relationship describing the overcritical current regime to be used in numerical simulations of REBCO tapes.
The first part of the thesis illustrates a post-processing method based on the so-called Uniform Current (UC) model to estimate the REBCO material's resistivity in the overcritical from experimental measurements. Pulsed current measurements as short as 15 us and with current magnitude up to 5 Ic were performed in liquid nitrogen bath 77 K on samples from various manufacturers, without damaging the tapes.
The second part of the thesis discusses a post-processing method based on regularization of data to treat the experimental measurements extracted in the overcritical current regime. The output of this technique is a look-up table that can be shared with interested partners and used in numerical modeling afterward.
The third part of the thesis presents the overcritical current model (rho-\eta\beta): a mathematical relationship of the overcritical current regime based on measurements performed between 77 K and 90 K and in self-field conditions. We compare such models with the power-law model, and we provide a short discussion of the fitting parameters and their typical values.
The last part of the thesis discusses the overcritical current model, based on experimental measurements obtained as outlined above. The model was validated experimentally and used to show that for the case of a superconducting fault current limiter when the power-law model is used to model its electro-thermal response, the device quenches faster than with the overcritical model.
In conclusion, this work can help optimize the use of superconductors and, consequently, the stabilizer. More interestingly, it opens the study of the overcritical current regime, a new exciting aspect of REBCO commercial tapes. This project has received funding from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE under grant agreement SI/500193-02.

Francesco Grilli, Nicolo' Riva, Frédéric Sirois, Bertrand Dutoit

A detailed knowledge of the resistivity of high-temperature superconductors in the overcritical current regime is important to achieve reliable numerical simulations of applications such as superconducting fault current limiters. We have previously shown that the combination of fast pulsed current measurements and finite element analysis allows accounting for heating effects occurring during the current pulses. We demonstrated that it is possible to retrieve the correct current and temperature dependence of the resistivity data points of the superconductor material. In this contribution, we apply this method to characterize the resistivity vs. current and temperature of commercial REBCO tapes in the overcritical current regime, between 77 K and 90 K and in self-field conditions. The self-consistency of the overcritical resistivity model rho_OC is verified by comparing DC fault measurements with the results of numerical simulations using this model as input. We then analyze by numerical simulation to what extent using therho_OC model instead of the widely used power-law model rho_PWL affects the thermal and electrical performance of the tapes in the practical case of a superconducting fault current limiter. A remarkable difference is observed between the measured overcritical current resistivity model rho_OC and the power-law resistivity model rho_PWL. In particular, the simulations using the power-law model show that the device quenches faster than with the overcritical resistivity model. This information can be used to optimize the architecture of the stabilizer in superconducting fault current limiters.

2020