Consulting Project 2018/19: Manufacturing process of superconducting magnets: Analysis of manufacturing chain technologies for market-oriented industries. Report

Heinrich Hartig, Matthias Hausberger, Frederik Ledermüller, Ferdinand Mayrhofer, Daniel Schreiber, Barbara Mehner, Linn Kretschmar, Johannes Gutleber

Publication: Other publicationsOther scientific publications

Abstract

An international consortium of more than 150 organisations worldwide is studying the feasibility of <br/>future particle collider scenarios to expand our understanding of the inner workings of the Universe. <br/>The core of this Future Circular Collider (FCC) study, hosted by CERN, an international organisation <br/>near Geneva (Switzerland), is a 100 km long circular particle collider infrastructure that extends CERN's <br/>current accelerator complex. As a first step, an intensity frontier electron-positron collider is assumed. <br/>The ultimate goal is to build a proton collider with an energy seven times larger than the Large Hadron <br/>Collider (LHC). Such a machine has to be built with novel superconductive magnet technology. Since <br/>it takes decades for such technology to reach industrial maturity levels, R&D has already started. The <br/>superconducting magnet system is considered the major cost driver for construction of such a proton <br/>collider. A good cost-benefit balance for industrial suppliers is considered an important factor for the <br/>funding of such a project. <br/>Aim <br/>The aim of this investigation was to identify the industrial impact potentials of the key processes <br/>needed for the manufacturing of novel high-field superconducting magnets and to find innovative <br/>additional applications for these technologies outside the particle-accelerator domain. Suppliers <br/>and manufacturing partners of CERN would benefit if the know-how could be used for other markets <br/>and to improve their internal efficiency and competitivity on the world-market. Eventually, being more <br/>cost-effective in the manufacturing and being able to leverage further markets on a long-time scale will <br/>also reduce the cost for each step in the manufacturing chain and ultimately lead to lower costs for the <br/>superconducting magnet system of a future high-energy particle collider. <br/>Method <br/>The project is carried out by means of the Technology Competence Leveraging method, which has <br/>been pioneered by the Vienna University of economics and business in Austria. It aims to find new <br/>application fields for the three most promising technologies required to manufacture novel high-field <br/>superconducting magnets. This is achieved by gathering information from user-communities, <br/>conducting interviews with experts in different industries and brainstorming for new out-of-the-box <br/>ideas. The most valuable application fields were evaluated according to their Benefit Relevance and <br/>Strategic Fit. During the process, 71 interviews with experts have been carried out, through which 38 <br/>new application fields were found with credible impacts beyond particle accelerator projects. They <br/>relate to manufacturing "superconducting Rutherford cables" (15), "thermal treatment" (10) and <br/>"vacuum impregnation with novel epoxy" (13). <br/>Superconducting magnet manufacturing technologies for market-oriented industries Report. <br/> <br/>Results: A short description of all application fields that were classified as "high potential" can be found here: <br/>Superconducting Rutherford cable <br/>* Aircraft charging: Commercial airplanes only spend around 45 minutes on the ground at a <br/>time to load and unload passengers. For future electric aircraft this time window would be to <br/>small to charge using conventional cables. The superconducting Rutherford cable could charge <br/>an electric plane fast and efficiently. <br/>* Electricity distribution in hybrid-electric aircraft: On a shorter time scale, hybrid-electric <br/>aircraft is an appealing ecological technology with economic advantages. In this case, electricity <br/>for the electric engines is produced by a generator. Cables with high current densities are needed <br/>inside the aircraft to distribute the energy. The superconducting Rutherford cable could be a <br/>candidate for this task. <br/>* Compact and efficient electricity generators: Using the superconducting Rutherford cable, <br/>small and light engines and generators can be constructed. One end-use example is for instance <br/>the generation of electricity using highly-efficient wind turbines. <br/>Thermal treatment: Heat treatment is needed during the production of superconducting magnet coils. In this processing step, <br/>the raw materials are reacted to form the superconductor. This processing step is used for certain lowtemperature <br/>superconductors as well as for certain high-temperature superconductors. <br/>* Scrap metal recycling: Using a large-scale oven with very accurate temperature stabilisation <br/>over long time periods, melting points of different metals can be selected. This leads to more <br/>efficient recycling of scrap metal. It also permits a higher degrees of process automation and <br/>quality management. <br/>* Thermal treatment of aluminium: Thermal treatment of aluminium comprises technologies <br/>like tempering and hardening. The goal of this technique is to change the characteristics of <br/>aluminium and alloys containing aluminium. End-use applications include for instance the <br/>automotive and aerospace industry, where such exact treatment is necessary. <br/>Vacuum impregnation <br/>* Waste treatmnent companies currently face challenges because new legislation require more <br/>leak-tight containers. Novel epoxy resin developed for superconducting magnets in particle <br/>colliders also needs to withstand high radiation levels. Therefore, this technology can be useful <br/>in the process of managing highly-activated radioactive waste.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Place of PublicationVienna
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2019

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