On the role of pre-existing defects and magnetic flux avalanches in the degradation of YBa 2Cu 3O 7-x coated conductors by quenching

Honghai Song, Frank Hunte, Justin Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


YBa 2Cu 3O 7-x (YBCO) coated conductors are emerging as an important option for magnets for energy systems and experimental science. One of the remaining challenges for YBCO superconducting magnets is quench protection, i.e. ensuring that the YBCO is not damaged due to a fault condition. One key issue is understanding the underlying causes of degradation during a quench. Here, the microstructure of a quenched, degraded sampled is compared to that of an unquenched control sample. To facilitate microstructural analysis of the YBCO surface, the Cu stabilizer and Ag cap layer were removed by etching. Reactions between the Cu etchant and YBCO proved to be a signature of Ag/YBCO delamination. Two types of pre-existing defects were identified as initiation points of degradation. Defects on the conductor edge resulting in delaminated Ag lead to dendritic flux avalanches and high local heating, which cause further Ag delamination. This self-propagating effect results in dendritic Ag delamination, which is seen through etchant-YBCO reactions. Defects within the YBCO layer result in breaches in the protective Ag layer such that Cu etchant penetrates and reacts with the YBCO. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analysis showed similar reactions as in the edge degradation but also showed pure Ag particles, which indicates that the local temperature was sufficient to cause localized Ag melting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6991-7000
Number of pages10
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number20
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


Dive into the research topics of 'On the role of pre-existing defects and magnetic flux avalanches in the degradation of YBa <sub>2</sub>Cu <sub>3</sub>O <sub>7-x</sub> coated conductors by quenching'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this