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Chemistry Assessment – Superconductors

Superconductors are elements, intermetallic alloys or compounds that, when cooled to a critical temperature, will conduct electricity with 0 resistance. This mean that once set in motion, an electric current will flow forever in a closed loop of superconducting material – making it the closest thing to perpetual motion in nature. A superconductor’s critical temperature is the temperature above which no superconductivity can be obtained.
Applications for superconducting materials include strong superconducting magnets without iron cores. These superconducting magnets have a variety of uses such as levitating trains, particle accelerators, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDS) which is used to collect very sensitive magnetic field measurements.
The discovery of superconductors by Dutch physicist Hieike Kamerlingh Onnes in 1911 has changed and shaped the way we understand the interactions between elements and their atoms as well as how matter behaves at extremely cold temperatures. This new understanding of matter has allowed for incredible innovations such as the levitating train.
Superconductors offer numerous advantages towards society such as the environment benefitting from less pollution due to more efficient power production due to the lack of electrical resistance superconductors possess. Superconducting cables can also be buried instead of hung overhead allowing for more reliable power and reductions in cost of repair. Another benefit of superconductors is in medical diagnosis. MRI uses powerful superconducting magnets to produce large and uniform magnetic fields inside the patient’s body. The MRI scanners pick up how these magnetic fields are reflected by the bodies organs and creates an accurate, reliable and non-invasive method of viewing the inside of a patient. On the other hand superconducting materials...

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