We always enjoy [NileRed’s] videos. His latest shows how he made some relatively high-temperature superconducting ceramic. After finding what appeared to be some really good instructions on the Internet, [NileRed] found there were some things in the paper that didn’t make sense. You can watch the video, below.
The superconductor was YBCO, sometimes known as 123 because of the ratio of its components. Turns out that most of the materials were available online, except for one exotic chemical that he had to buy from a more conventional source.
The purity of some of the chemicals was in doubt, so he purified some of it and did find some contaminants in it. If you want to do this yourself, you are going to need some chemical handling gear and we’d suggest reading the safety sheets on all the material involved.
If you don’t have the tools, you are going to have to arrange for vacuum chambers, an 8-ton press, furnaces, and more mundane things like stirring hot plates and lab glassware. You might even need a blender.
Of course, you also need to handle liquid nitrogen to cool things off enough to see the superconducting effect. [NileRed] actually had to buy a furnace for this effort–spending about $2,000– and had a bit of a challenge getting it in one piece, as you’ll see, along with hitting it with twice the rated voltage.
Even though we might not have had to repair the furnace, we doubt we are going to make any superconductors anytime soon. But it is reassuring to know that it is in the realm of what you could do in your garage if you wanted to.