Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Let me be the first to say Holy Shit

*THIS POST IS FALSE the silica hydrogen compound is a room temperature metal and a superconductor but not both at the same time*
I have talked about the possibility of of a hydrogen based room temperature superconductor here. As described in that article I believed a metallic hydrogen could produce a superconductor that would be such an advance as to be reasonably called a paradigm shift.

It turns out someone has made a room temperature superconductor using hydrogen. The pressure required for the compound is not practical. Now that hydrogen has been shown to have these properties more research into practical compounds will be encouraged. The area has recently seen another practical improvement. The first ambient at normal temperature superconductor has been reported in the last few days also.

So what does a room temperature superconductor mean? I have no idea, but it is probably the biggest innovation in electricity since *Nicolas* Tesla. It is something so odd that you are much better spending your time figuring out what do do with it then trying to think what other people are going to do with it. But to give one of a hundred possible examples, with a superconducting power cable you can produce electricity anywhere and transport it without loss. This would increase energy efficiency by over 30%*.

So my bet on what the maximum temperature superconductor by the end of the year is out by at least 110K. If you want to make a bet you can do it here.

*edit. You lose about 10% of electricity to power line loses and about 20% to disparities in usage between different times. You can smooth out these disparities by transporting the electricity during your night to someone elses peak demand time of day.


Wade said...

While the utility of superconducting tech is one of the greatest advances humanity could make, you shouldn't get ahead of yourself. In order to form the compounds they're talking about, an extreme amount of pressure is needed, to the extent of 800 GPA. That's a lot of force and will be an expensive thing to muster.

Also: with superconductors, the more research, the better, because even if the scientists behind this breakthrough don't fully succeed, another Material Science Engineer somewhere sould come up with a similar compound that will work even better.

Wade said...

And your science is more than a little off. Superconductors do transport electricity well, but moving electricity through a superconductor does not produce MORE electricity. In truth, some of the electrical current is utilized by the material, generating strong magnetic fields. This magnetic energy could be utilized to power mag lev trains or some other similar form of transport, but the field itself does not produce extra electricity.

... and what is "The Tesla"? Are you referring to Nikola Tesla, or one of his many patents?