The design and construction of a cryostat for thermal battery investigations.
A test cryostat was constructed to investigate the potential of a locally made thermal battery. A thermal battery is proposed to be a useful component in the construction of future superconducting fault current limiter (SFCL) systems. The heat generated from a SFCL under quench conditions can be conducted into a solid nitrogen thermal battery. This is an alternative to using a liquid cryogen which on evaporation would form a highly nonconductive vapour layer around the SFCL and could be potentially explosive. The relevant heat transfer mechanisms for cryostat design were analyzed to ensure that the cryostat was capable of solidifying nitrogen and thus be used as a thermal battery. The experimental stage was ultimately capable of reaching a temperature of 40 K. Using a resistor to mimic the normal state of a superconductor, the performance of the thermal battery was determined by subjecting it to transient thermal events. The effect of solid nitrogen crystal size was investigated by performing pulse tests on solid nitrogen formed at different rates. It was found that slowly formed solid nitrogen performed better and stabilised the resistor’s temperature more quickly. The phenomenon of ‘dry-out’ was also investigated for different formation rates by subjecting the solid nitrogen to multiple heating pulses. It was found to become very significant after the first pulse when using quickly formed solid nitrogen, but did not manifest in slowly formed solid nitrogen.