Development of MgB2 Superconducting Coils for Nuclear Physics Applications
In several instances during the upgrade of existing facilities or designing new facilities in the Nuclear Physics or High Energy Physics communities, it is found that magnets made with neither copper coils nor conventional superconducting NbTi coils can offer an acceptable solution. Copper coils limit the performance of the machine and consume large amount of power, whereas NbTi require 4 K cryogenic facilities. This is particularly applicable in those Nuclear Physics machines where the magnetic field requirements are rather modest. One such case has been found in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) where an e-lens system is under construction to increase RHIC luminosity. In this case, magnesium diboride (MgB2) operating at 10-25 K seems to offer an exciting and practical solution. MgB2 based magnets, however, have never been a part of a major accelerator system. Several critical issues related to extended reliability, field quality, and protection system must be demonstrated before such magnets can be inducted in RHIC or any such future accelerator or medical facility. In Phase I, we designed and fabricated an MgB2 solenoid coil based on coil modeling and magnet designsdeveloped by Brookhaven National Laboratoryfor replacing an existing e-lens GS1 coil with MgB2. The coil was characterized at Ohio State University, achieving 72 A and 0.6 T at 14 K. The main objective in the Phase II is to demonstrate the reliability and robustness of the MgB2 coil technology is ready for use in RHIC and other user facilities. We will do this by fabricating several MgB2 coils and by conducting an exhaustive series of lifetime cycle tests. The tests will involve about a thousand ramp-up and ramp-down cycles, about 20 over-current or thermal-excursions hitting the quench limit and about 10 thermal cycles. Phase II will begin with a design modeling effort of the MgB2 coils for the e-lens system with enough detail so that the magnetic, thermal, and stress requirements can be understood for the fabrication and testing of representative MgB2 coils. After the technology is proven in Phase II for reliability, we will propose to use this in Phase III to upgrade RHIC e lens system for improved luminosity performance and expect more applications will follow in other accelerator and medical facilities. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The success of this SBIR will lead to the development of improved superconducting magnet systems for Nuclear Physics and for other DOE applications in Fusion and High Energy Physics. It will accelerate the development of MgB2 superconducting magnets in commercial applications such as MRI, fault current limiters, and wind turbine generators.
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