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AC Loss Research of REBCO High-Tc Superconductors Carrying a DC Current in an AC Magnetic Field

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posted on 2023-02-26, 23:41 authored by Yueming SunYueming Sun

REBCO (REBa2Cu3O7-d, RE stands for rare earth) high temperature superconducting (HTS) coated conductors (CCs) have become the preferred wire choice for HTS applications due to their high current carrying capacity and advanced mechanical properties. In many HTS applications such as HTS synchronous motors, HTS flux pumps and HTS persistent current switches, REBCO CCs, stacks and coils carry DC currents in an AC magnetic field environment, generating AC loss comprising of dynamic loss component arising from dynamic resistance and the magnetization loss component due to the shielding currents.

AC loss behaviours of commercial-available REBCO CCs in such operating conditions haven’t been fully explored with the most prominent research question of how the AC loss and each loss component evolve and behave in the single REBCO CC, REBCO stacks and REBCO coils at different temperatures with various operating conditions. Other interesting open questions are also put forward to underpin relevant engineering applications: how the shielding effect of REBCO CCs influences the eddy current loss in adjacent copper layers at various field orientation; what kind of inherent correlation exists between the asymmetric field-orientation-dependent critical current characteristics and the magnetization loss behaviors; and how the loss behaviours in REBCO stacks and coils differentiate from the REBCO CC; what’s the difference between the REBCO racetrack coil and the REBCO double pancake coil regarding characteristics of the critical current, magnetization loss, dynamic resistance and AC loss under the condition of the combined DC current with the AC magnetic field.

This thesis aims to underpin the REBCO HTS applications and reveal the underlying AC loss mechanism through systematically experimental and numerical research on AC loss and dynamic resistance in REBCO CCs, REBCO stacks and REBCO coils that operate at various electromagnetic conditions and temperatures (65 K ~ 77 K). This research has revealed many new phenomena in the loss evolution process and reached illuminating conclusions.

We uncover the shielding effect of REBCO CCs under various field orientations is dominated by the perpendicular magnetic field component, and so does the reduced eddy current loss in the adjacent copper layers of the copper-superconductor stacks. When exploring the role of asymmetric field-orientation-dependent critical current on the magnetization loss of REBCO CCs, we reveal that the asymmetry of critical current about the ab-peak within the 360° full-field-angle range causes differences in magnetization loss values at the field angles which are in mirror symmetry relative to the ab-plane. Furthermore, it is surprising and contradicting to find that magnetization loss at any given field orientation is unequal between the positive and the negative half-field cycle due to the asymmetry of critical current upon the field reversal. The asymmetric field-orientation dependence of both critical current and magnetization loss becomes more obvious with the increasing magnetic field amplitudes and the decreasing temperatures.

The complicated AC loss evolution process in REBCO CCs under AC magnetic fields and DC currents is probed by demonstrating the striking behaviours: the dynamic loss region and magnetization loss region vary across the conductor width at high magnetic fields or high DC current levels; the (positive) DC current is superposed with the anti-parallel (negative) shielding current at high DC current levels that approaching to the self-critical current, which drives the local current density of one conductor edge to the subcritical stage and leads to one-sided loss generation in each half-cycle. At the liquid nitrogen temperature range, experimental and simulation results exemplify that the AC loss is mostly dominated by magnetization loss when DC current is less than 20% critical current, while dynamic loss makes a comparable, even greater contribution to AC loss when DC current is larger than 50% critical current. The dynamic resistance shows an obvious frequency dependence due to the heating accumulation at high field amplitudes, high DC current levels and high operating temperatures, which provides a useful reference for the application designs of HTS flux pumps and HTS persistent current switches.

Compared with the single REBCO CC, the onset of dynamic resistance/loss in REBCO stacks and REBCO coils is much slower, and the contribution of the dynamic loss component to the AC loss is also much smaller. Dynamic loss in the stack becomes greater than the magnetization loss when the DC current is larger than 70% critical current, while always less than the magnetization loss in the coils when the AC magnetic field is less than 0.1 T. We also conclude that the critical current, magnetization loss and dynamic resistance/loss per unite length in the REBCO racetrack coil is slightly larger than those of the REBCO pancake coil.

The main contribution of this work is to reveal the complex AC loss mechanism in REBOC CCs, stacks and coils carrying DC currents in the AC magnetic field and characterize the loss behaviours via solid experimental measurements and numerical simulations. Meanwhile, the magnetization loss as the dominant loss component is further explored concerning its shielding effect and the asymmetric critical current characteristics. This work exemplifies the underlying nature of AC loss behaviours, providing a valuable reference to understand the loss mechanism and to underpin relevant HTS applications.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Robinson Research Institute

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

170102 Industrial energy efficiency

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

3 Applied research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Engineering and Computer Science


Jiang, Zhenan; Long, Nick