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Researchers Invent Self-assembling Plastic with Superconductive Properties

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Published on : Feb 02, 2016

The field of superconducting materials has garnered huge interest from both the technological as well as the scientific community owing to their unique physical properties. These variety of metals, ceramics, organic compounds, and other substances conduct electricity with no resistance, and hence do not release heat or any other form of energy. Despite of these qualities, which may come handy in several applications and can make many products like generators even more efficient, the large scale commercial use of superconductors is not seen due to the exhaustive cooling needs of most superconducting materials. The lack of many promising superconducting materials is also hindering their large scale use.

Until now, the most common use of superconductors has been seen only in a few specialized applications such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic levitation trains, and electronic generators.

However, the rising research and development activities in this field are expected to benefit the market and lead to increased use of superconducting materials across a larger set of applications. 

A new research from Cornell University, which demonstrates the amalgamation of futuristic physics and soft materials science, is expected to grant the field of superconducting materials its future leader. These researchers from the Cornell University have invented a superconducting material that is self-assembling and is soft like a plastic bottle. The research has pointed the scientific community toward a highly scalable superconductor that can allow better control over how magnetic fields of energy passing through it move.

The plastic nanostructures in the newly invented superconductor have a number of pores throughout their structure, which can allow the control over the direction in which the magnetic field of the electric current passing through them moves. The polymer, called niobium nitride, is made from niobium oxide. More novel properties of the material, other than the capability of directing the magnetic field of the electric current, are yet to be explored as the research is still going on to understand better what the material is actually capable of. So far, the material isn’t quite the best option available but as its structure permits easier integration, it can be combined with other structures for the creation of newer kinds of superconductive substances.