Our group is currently focused on the metallurgy and fracture mechanics of A15 superconductors, mainly Nb3Sn. We develop advanced sample preparation techniques to allow imaging of these brittle superconducting filaments inside composite wires in an undamaged condition. We are interested in developing methods to quantitatively assess the irreversible strain limits of various wire designs, and to assess the impact of wire design variations on the intrinsic fracture toughness of the superconducting phase, and on the overall strength of the composite wire.
We are also at present performing statistical evaluations of large productions of superconducting materials, to better understand the levels of performance variation inherent in the available fabrication routes. We use established process control and process capability techniques to assess the stability of various parameters important to the final superconducting performance.