P. Alknes, B. Bordini, B. Bártová
Feb 10, 2015
IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity
Some of the bronze-route Nb3Sn wires produced for the ITER toroidal field magnets have values of the Cu residual resistivity ratio (RRR) lower than the specification (RRR > 100) when reacted with the longest ITER heat treatment cycle (cycle A: high-temperature plateau 200 h at 650 °C). As the low RRR value was suspected to be due to the Cr plating, CERN has carried out extensive investigations on two different Cr-plated Nb3Sn wires in order to assess how the RRR is influenced by the Cr plating. Each type of wire was reacted with three heat treatments differing for the duration of the high-temperature plateau (from 100 to 200 h). The presence of Cr in the Cu stabilizer was investigated using a transmission electron microscope together with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry. In the most critical wire reacted for 200 h, CrS nanoparticles and Cr in solid solution (0.02 at.%) with Cu were found up to 13 μm from the Cr-Cu interface. At larger distance, we could not quantify the Cr concentrations because of the detector sensitivity limit (about 0.016 at.% Cr in Cu). We provide a model that can explain the measured RRR degradation purely in terms of the Cr contamination that we observed.