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Keywords:

  • synthesis;
  • densification;
  • spark plasma;
  • sintering;
  • magnesium diboride;
  • superconductivity

Abstract

A preparation method to simultaneously synthesize and consolidate bulk MgB2 superconductors from Mg and B commercial elemental powders by means of the spark plasma sintering technique is reported. The influence of process parameters on sintering process dynamics as well as product characteristics, determined by transport and magnetic measurements, is investigated. The superconducting properties of the obtained samples, and particularly the critical current density, are comparable or better than those corresponding to other MgB2 preparation techniques. Thus, the superconductive properties of the bulk MgB2 materials synthesized in this work are suitable for selected applications, such as magnetic levitation, magnetic screening, and fault current limiters. It should be finally noted that the proposed method represents a particularly rapid preparation route as compared to other techniques. © 2006 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2006