U.S. physicist develops electrifying theory

August 17th, 2008 - 2:12 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, August 17 (ANI): A theory that may help build future superconducting alternating-current fault-current limiters for electricity transmission and distribution systems has been developed, thanks to the efforts of a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energys Ames Laboratory.

John R. Clem says that he has basically identified design strategies that can reduce costs and improve efficiency in a bifilar fault-current limiter, a new and promising type of superconducting fault-current limiter.

Just like household surge protectors that save equipment like televisions and computers from damage during a lightning strike, fault-current limiters protect power grids from sudden spikes in power.

During the study, Clem analysed a type of fault-current limiter, called a bifilar fault-current limiter, developed by Siemens and American Superconductor Corporation.

I was able to theoretically confirm that planned design changes to the current bifilar fault-current limiter being developed by Siemens and American Superconductor would decrease AC losses in the system. My calculations are good news for the future of the device, he said.

I modelled the bifilar design as an infinite stack of superconducting tapes, in which adjacent tapes carry current in opposite directions. I was able to find an exact solution for the magnetic fields and currents that are generated in such a stack of tapes. Once I calculated how the magnetic flux penetrates into the tape, I then could calculate how much energy is lost in each current cycle for different tape widths and spacings between adjacent tapes, the researcher added.

A research article describing this work has been published in a recent issue of Physical Review B. (ANI)

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