Alcohol, according to one famous Springfield resident, is the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems. This is a saying that obviously resounded with one inebriated Japanese scientist who has found that booze may in fact hold the key to solving a long standing problem of how to achieve superconductivity at high temperatures.
Yoshihiko Takano a physicist at Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, has, according to the New Scientist, discovered that alcoholic drinks can transform supposedly ordinary materials into ones that can conduct electricity with zero resistance.
This discovery offers of fascinating applications including making power lines from superconducting cables so that they lose just a tiny fraction any of the electrical energy, saving money and cutting carbon dioxide emissions, not to mention offering a novel way to use up all the left-over Lambrini from the Techeye staff Christmas party.
Superconductors are also used to repel magnetic fields, meaning that they can levitate containing materials with the merest hint of magnetism, including high speed trains.
The problem so far has been that, while superconducting materials have been used for some time now, it is only possible to use them at very low temperatures.
Originally, when superconductors were discovered in 1911 by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, it was only possible electricity to flow with no resistance when in temperatures as close to absolute zero as possible, around -269 celsius or 4.2 kelvins in liquid helium.
Although superconductors have now been made which are able to function while at ‘high temperatures’ of 135 kelvins this is still well below room temperature, the holy grail for applicable superconductivity.
Read the rest of the story: Japanese scientist says booze is key to superconductivity – Bottle of plonk works better than whisky.