We have developed an instrument to study the behavior of the critical current density (J(c)) in superconducting wires and tapes as a function of field (mu(0)H), temperature (T), and axial applied strain (epsilon(a)). The apparatus is an improvement of similar devices that have been successfully used in our institute for over a decade. It encompasses specific advantages such as a simple sample layout, a well defined and homogeneous strain application, the possibility of investigating large compressive strains and the option of simple temperature variation, while improving the main drawback in our previous systems by increasing the investigated sample length by approximately a factor of 10. The increase in length is achieved via a design change from a straight beam section to an initially curved beam, placed perpendicular to the applied field axis in the limited diameter of a high field magnet bore. This article describes in detail the mechanical design of the device and its calibrations. Additionally initial J(c)(epsilon(a)) data, measured at liquid helium temperature, are presented for a bronze processed and for a powder-in-tube Nb3Sn superconducting wire. Comparisons are made with earlier characterizations, indicating consistent behavior of the instrument. The improved voltage resolution, resulting from the increased sample length, enables J(c) determinations at an electric field criterion E-c=10 muV/m, which is substantially lower than a criterion of E-c=100 muV/m which was possible in our previous systems. (C) 2004 American Institute of Physics.
- TRANSPORT CRITICAL CURRENTS
- NB3SN CONDUCTORS