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I've heard that a room temperature super conducting material would be a major discovery. How likely is this within the next century and if discovered what would be possible?

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closed as too broad by John Rennie, tpg2114, jinawee, Qmechanic Nov 27 '13 at 12:46

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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shunryu111: this question is too broad to be answered here because the answer would effectively be a blog article. If you had specific questions about the mechanism of high T superconductors then we could help, but for this sort of general question yo need to Google round the Internet for relevant articles. –  John Rennie Nov 27 '13 at 11:54
    
no worries.. i hadn't had much luck googling for articles but the link posted below by Echows was good. i guess what interests me the most is how room temperature super conductors would change energy production / transmission and also transport systems –  shunryu111 Nov 27 '13 at 16:54

2 Answers 2

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As said in the comments, this is a very broad question, so instead of writing a very long post, I point you to a good article titled "Superconductivity and the environment: a Roadmap": http://iopscience.iop.org/0953-2048/26/11/113001 . The article lists a lot of emerging technologies that make use of superconductors.

The applications of room temperature superconductors would be the same as the applications of normal superconductors, but these applications would just be much easier to realize if cryogenic environment is not needed. Many items listed in the article would become preferred over non-superconducting way of doing things if an easy-to-use material with room temperature superconductivity was found.

Since there is no complete theory as for what causes superconductivity in high temperatures, it is impossible to guess when (if ever) a RTS is found. Finding these materials is basically educated guessing an a lot of trial-and-error. It could be that someone stumbles upon such material tomorrow or it could be that room temperature superconductors don't even exist. There is no way to know.

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thanks! i found the article you linked to very informative –  shunryu111 Nov 27 '13 at 16:44

Broadly, all the applications of regular SCs, without the same cooling requirements.

Some popular ones include power distribution (power lines), power generation/conversion (generators/motors), fusion, "portable" MRI, sensors, electromagnetic anything... etc. The list goes on and on. It would probably be limited only by cost.

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