5G50.50 - Superconductors - Meissner Effect

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Superconductors - Meissner Effect
Magnetic Forces & Fields
Area of Study:
Electricity & Magnetism
300 ml Dewar with Liquid Nitrogen, Small Cobalt Magnet, Super Conducting Pellet - Gadolinium - Barium - Copper - Oxide or Yttrium - Barium - Copper - Oxide, Lab Jack, Small Neodymium Magnets, Aluminum Heat Sink, and Quantum Levitation Kit, Silver Coins.

See also 7A70.25 in Modern Physics.

The "Quantum Levitation" system is the way to go here as you can show either Meissner effect or flux pinning with this unit. To show the Meissner effect, cool the superconductor with liquid nitrogen. Take the 1/2 inch square neodymium magnet and press it slightly down towards the superconductor until it stays in place. Spin the magnet. To show flux pinning, again cool the superconductor with liquid nitrogen. Then press it into a stable place on either the square array or the circular magnets that are attached to the metal plate. You can then pick up the plate and turn it upside down and show that the superconductor is pinned in place. An additional experiment to perform is once the superconductor is pinned to the circular magnets you can give the superconductor a push sideways and watch it spin above the magnets with almost no friction.

Place the super conducting pellet in one of the small Styrofoam cups and pour in liquid nitrogen to the top of the pellet. When the pellet is at liquid nitrogen temperatures you may drop the magnet on top and it will float above the pellet.

The demo can be enhanced with the use of the neodymium magnets. Also, if the pellet is placed on top of the aluminum heat sink liquid nitrogen will need to be added less frequently.

For a longer life span the pellets should be stored in Drierite.

Cool the flux pinning pellet in liquid nitrogen. Press a neodymium magnet onto the pellet and lift it out the the liquid nitrogen. The pellet should remain suspended below the magnet until it warms up at which time it will fall away from the magnet.

Large Eddy currents in silver may also be observed.  Cool the coins in liquid nitrogen and then gently drop them onto the the magnet array as shown in the video below.  Note that the large silver dollar coins work best for this demonstration.

The wire sample is composed of NbGe and is capable of upward to 1000 A when at liquid nitrogen temperatures.

Two Alfred Leitner videos on superfluidity and superconductivity with three others on optics.

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