Examination of Japanese Mass-Produced Nb3Sn Conductors for ITER Toroidal Field Coils
The performances of six Nb3Sn conductors for the ITER Toroidal Field coils were tested. Four of them showed similar degradation rates of their current sharing temperatures T-cs over 1,000 electromagnetic cycles. By contrast, two of them showed sharp T-cs degradations at 50 cycles, after which their slopes became similar to those of the other four conductors. These two cables seemed to shrink under high magnetic fields during the first 50 cycles, which caused the sharp T-cs degradation. This shrinkage might arise from a decline in cable rigidity due to, for example, the deformation of strands or the breakage of the Nb3Sn filaments. The four mass-produced conductors had roughly the same AC loss before cycling. After 1,000 cycles, the AC losses of all the conductors decreased markedly to less than half of those before cycling, and the values became approximately the same. After the test campaign, the destructive inspection of two of the conductors made it clear that the conductor had shrunk by about 520 ppm under the high magnetic field during the test. It was also clarified that some strands were visibly deformed under the high magnetic field, whereas those under the low magnetic field did not look distorted. This plastic deformation of the strands could be one of the major reasons for the T-cs degradation with cyclic operation.