Self-protection mechanisms in no-insulation (RE)Ba2Cu3Ox high temperature superconductor pancake coils

Y. Wang, Wan Kan Chan, Justin Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Scopus citations


No-insulation (NI) high temperature superconducting (HTS) coils possess much higher thermal stability than similar traditionally insulated HTS coils. Some NI coils are self-protecting in the sense that they fully recover after a quench without any external protection mechanism to dissipate the stored energy. The underlying mechanisms that make NI coils highly stable or even self-protecting, however, remain unclear. To answer this question, a numerical multiphysics quench model for NI pancake coils is built to study the electrical, thermal and magnetic behavior of NI coils subjected to local heat disturbances. The multiphysics model is built from an electric network model, tightly coupled to a two-dimensional thermal coil model and a three-dimensional magnetic field coil model. The results show that when heat disturbance initiates a local normal region on a turn, the transport current is redistributed not only from the local normal region, but also along the entire turn. The redistributed current flows in the form of radial current across the turn-to-turn contact resistance along the entire turn to the neighboring turns which are still in the superconducting state, driving these turns to an overcurrent state. This full-turn current sharing and overcurrent operation accelerate the redistribution of current away from the hot-spot, reducing localized Joule heating that would otherwise cause a sustainable quench. The results also show that the magnetic field generated at the coil center drops rapidly and the coil voltage changes dynamically during the early stage of normal zone formation. These phenomena can be utilized as effective methods for quench detection in NI coils by monitoring the magnetic field and coil voltage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045007
JournalSuperconductor Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 3 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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