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Title: Understanding Irreversible Degradation of Nb3Sn Wires with Fundamental Fracture Mechanics

Irreversible performance degradation of advanced Nb3Sn superconducting wires subjected to transverse or axial mechanical loading is a critical issue for the design of large-scale fusion and accelerator magnets such as ITER and LHC. Recent SULTAN tests indicate that most cable-in-conduit conductors for ITER coils made of Nb3Sn wires processed by various fabrication techniques show similar performance degradation under cyclic loading. The irreversible degradation due to filament fracture and local strain accumulation in Nb3Sn wires cannot be described by the existing strand scaling law. Fracture mechanic modeling combined with X-ray diffraction imaging of filament micro-crack formation inside the wires under mechanical loading may reveal exciting insights to the wire degradation mechanisms. We apply fundamental fracture mechanics with a singularity approach to study influence of wire filament microstructure of initial void size and distribution to local stress concentration and potential crack propagation. We report impact of the scale and density of the void structure on stress concentration in the composite wire materials for crack initiation. These initial defects result in an irreversible degradation of the critical current beyond certain applied stress. We also discuss options to minimize stress concentration in the design of the material microstructure for enhanced wire performance for futuremore » applications.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. PPPL
  2. Univ of Geneva
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Journal Name: IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity; Conference: 248th American Chemical Society National Meeting, August 10-14, 2014, San Franciso, CA.; Related Information: To be published in: IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity
IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity
Research Org:
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24)
Country of Publication:
United States
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY Niobium-tin superconducting wires; filament fracture; performance degradation; finite element analysis; fracture mechanics