“It’s Your Experiment!” High School Science Teacher Conference 2008 (Oct 24th & 25th)

From the Michael Smith Laboratories

Superconductor stuff

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Email from Ryan regarding some of the supplies:

Hi Dave,

I asked Walter Hardy about where he gets his YBCO and magnets for the superconductor demo. He sent me all of the information which I’ve included below. I called Air Liquide, and asked about their services for high schools. Someone would have to go to the Richmond filling station (the only one in the lower mainland) with a stainless steel Thermos (these aren’t too expensive, I have one for my coffee) (It has to be steel, however, the plastic will crack). They will usually fill for free because the amounts are so small. Another possibility is to go to a company in their area that has a supply, and ask nicely.


Begin forwarded message:

> From: Walter Hardy
> Date: October 27, 2008
> To: Ryan Wicks
> Subject: YBCO pucks
> Hi Ryan,
> The pucks came from:
> SCI Engineered Materials
> 2839 Charter St.
> Columbus, Ohio  43228
> Phone: (800)292-8639; (614)486-0261
> Fax: (800)292-8654; (614)486-0912
> Web: www.sciengineeredmaterials.com
> The magnets from a company called National Imports, magnetic products
> division:
> http://www.rare-earth-magnets.com/
> Phone: 1-888-774-6005
> Cheers, Walter.

(Note: Just called the superconductor place, and they unfortunately don’t make the discs anymore – they just sell the powder ~ Dave)

– – –

Ryan: Some demos that may be translatable to your schools. Magnetism and high temperature super conductivity.  Two fields are very related.

Superconductor work is a part of experimental research in astronomy, condensed matter, and particle physics.  These are different subfields in physics, which interestingly enough have different scales.

Ryan personal research looks at condensed matter physics.  Anything made up of a lot of particles (macroscopic size things).  Look at things like this “cold”  (room temperature and cold).  Things that are complex and cold.  Why does stainless conduct, but not a table.  How do magnets works, superconductor materials – how to these work?

Many have industrial applications (computers, etc), some not so much (not yet anyway).

Magnetism demo (1st year student). Doing a demo with a copper pipe, and comparing the time it takes for a magnet to fall through it versus just dropping in the air. (A notable delay in time). In fact, the principles you see here are indicative of the electric turbine.

In a superconductor scenario, you would actually expect the magnet to stay put, since no resistance is present in the system and the opposite force would be allowed to be totally equivalent. i.e. the magnet will float (not fall, not be delayed for that matter, or if you like delayed “indefinitely).  Actually, better to read this – a brief overview of the <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meissner_effect”>Meissner Effect</a>.

The linfrost(?) effect is also why you can put your finger in liquid nitrogen (if only for a moment)
Something about textbook writer demonstrating this effect, but putting liquid nitrogen in his mouth, leaving it in just a little too long, and accidently freezing his teeth. In fact, even though his mouth was ok, his teeth shattered and he lost them (get anecdote from Ryan)

UBC physics student lighting a liquid oxygen dewar.
(liquid nitrogen coke can cannon)

Whoa… that’s cool. I want to buy one of those High Temperature Super Conductor discs now. I wonder how much they are?


Written by David Ng

October 24, 2008 at 2:34 pm

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