Continuous and Batch Thermal Processing of MgB2 Wires
The last stage of the manufacturing process requires complex reactive diffusion formation process of MgB2 in the presence of SiC nanoparticles. Continuous thermal processing was adopted to produce long length MgB2 in situ wires with a homogeneous mixture of micron-sized Mg, nanosized B, as well as SiC dopant powders. This process has enabled the formation of MgB2 superconducting compound in a relatively short time. Traditional superconductor batch processing requires the wire batch to be heat treated in dedicated large furnaces. Additionally, such a batch process requires controllable slow heating-up, dwelling, and cooling down procedures to ensure uniformity of the superconducting properties along the wire length. Such a prolonged reactive diffusion process does require lower dwelling temperature and can potentially prevent full utilization of the doping materials, resulting in less effective pinning centers formation. On the other hand, continuous wire thermal processing enables rapid formation of the doped MgB2 with full utilization of the dopant. Also, in the continuous process, the moving thermal front brings complex dynamics to Mg-B, C-B, Mg-Si interaction during MgB2 formation processes. The manuscript presents a comparative study of the reactive diffusion kinetics, the microstructural formation of the doped MgB2 compound, and their J c (B, T) characteristics.