I How much does it cost to synthesize YBCO?

1. May 14, 2018

DariusP

How much would it cost to synthesize YBCO? What devices would I need? Is it possible to make a quality (not brittle) YBCO in my home, so I could conduct countless experiments (providing I have enough liquid nitrogen)?

2. May 14, 2018

ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
Do you know how toxic and dangerous Yttrium, Barium, etc. are? This is even without considering how to make YBCO yet! What do you think will happen when you try to synthesized all of them together in a furnace? Think you'll still be alive if you do this in your kitchen on your stove?

The answer is no, you will not be able to make YBCO on your own, regardless of the cost.

Zz.

3. May 14, 2018

nikkkom

Actually, neither yttrium nor barium are particularly toxic. Unless you, say, purposefully drink significant amounts (spoonfuls) of some of their soluble salts. Tiny amount of their dust getting into a human body is not dangerous.

Not that I am advocating anyone to go and just start messing with random stuff they don't know about, without considering safety aspects.

OTOH, the people who advance materials science start their careers as kids who like playing with stuff.

4. May 14, 2018

ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
My comments on Y, B, etc. being dangerous/toxic is in context with the need to heat these elements (often in compounds) to very high temperature (thus, the reference to the kitchen stove) to synthesize YBCO, and the inhalation of the fumes. One just doesn't mix Y, B, Cu and expose it to air to YBCO.

Zz.

5. May 14, 2018

f95toli

A somewhat fuller answer is that yes it is possible to make YBCO at home. Just after the discovery of high-Tc superconductors some research groups even published recipes for making YBCO tablets using a normal microwave oven and some other cheap easily available equipment (the professor of the group where I did my PhD included such a description in a Swedish pop-sci book he wrote in the early 1990s)
However, this was basically a PR stunt aimed to show how easy it is to make YBCO (and therefore why commercial applications should be straightforward...).
You still need the right chemicals and they are -as has been noted above- not something you should try to mix without access to the right H&S equipment (not to mention knowledge)

Also, YBCO is not very expensive and easily available. It would be far cheaper to just buy some..
CAN Superconductor will sell you a small disc for 40 Euro and they even have an e-shop.

6. May 14, 2018

TeethWhitener

The fumes are volatiles (either CO2 or NOx depending on the precursors). The oxides that are left are non-volatile (even at 1500K). With a water bubbler, you'd probably be well under the ppb level for the metal vapors. By far the most dangerous aspect of this synthesis is the heat. (in second place is probably getting electrocuted by a frayed wire...chemical dangers are waaaay down on the list)

7. May 14, 2018

Staff: Mentor

This seems like a good comment to tie off this thread with. Thanks everybody.

8. May 16, 2018 at 7:26 AM

DariusP

Would someone who's knowledge'able guide me through the steps of synethesizing YBCO and how costly each step would be?

I do know that my university has a furnace which can provide oxygen flow and heat up to 1500 celsius, so that's taken care of.

For simplicity, I guess costs of electricity can be ignored. I also figure that powders themselves are not very expensive?

I've made a similar topic before but it got locked after someone replied "just buy some". I don't know why a mod would lock the thread after such a reply...

Rather than just how and where to 'get' YBCO, I'm a lot more interested into the processes of making this material myself.

Last edited: May 16, 2018 at 7:35 AM
9. May 16, 2018 at 7:56 AM

TeethWhitener

Googling "YBCO preparation" yields a wealth of procedures. Here's one good one:
http://www.chem.uky.edu/courses/che450g/handouts/123.html
Looking at Sigma-Aldrich, each of the required powders will probably cost between $50-200 for 25 g. Of course, always follow proper safety procedures and use personal protective equipment (gloves/safety glasses/lab coat). If you don't know what you're doing, it's best to have someone who is familiar with the procedure as a guide. I'll ask the mentors to merge this thread with the other one. 10. May 16, 2018 at 8:15 AM Lord Jestocost As a research associate at a research center in Germany, I am among other things the responsible head of a laboratory for the synthesis/analysis of electroceramic materials. No student is allowed to perform a synthesis without a thorough practical training phase under permanent supervision, especially with respect to safety issues. To guide a beginner during the preparation of ceramic materials is an uttermost practical matter, one needs to do more than just communicating some recipes. 11. May 16, 2018 at 8:49 AM Borek Staff: Mentor Thread merged into the previous one and reopened. At least for now, we reserve the right to close the thread if it wanders in a dangerous direction. 12. May 16, 2018 at 9:19 AM DrDu I think on ebay you should get all of them for less than$50. The most expensive being Y2O3. If your university has a chemistry department, they also should have kind of a store where students can buy chemicals for their labs. Maybe you can get stuff there with the consent of a supervisor. You will also need a pellet press.

Last edited: May 18, 2018 at 1:35 AM
13. May 16, 2018 at 9:35 AM

f95toli

I guess this might be obvious, but you should really ask before you use the furnace. Furnaces of this type are (typically) used for semiconductors (or some other specific category of materials) and these can be very sensitive to impurities. Hence, in most cleanrooms/labs there will be restrictions on what materials can be used in a given furnaces (this would be true for most process equipment)
I used the work at a university where we had several furnaces and only one was open to "general use"; the others were dedicated to specific processes.

14. May 17, 2018 at 6:32 AM

DariusP

Also, does anyone know if a thermocouple could measure cryogenic temperatures? (from +20 all the day down to -200 celsius)

15. May 17, 2018 at 7:57 AM

TeethWhitener

Have you googled "thermocouple temperature range?" Most of your questions so far are better suited to google searches than a forum like this.

16. May 17, 2018 at 8:02 AM

f95toli

A silicone diode would be more appropriate than a thermocouple.

17. May 17, 2018 at 7:07 PM

DariusP

18. May 18, 2018 at 3:13 AM

f95toli

Silicone diodes are -by far- the most common way to measure temperatures down to about 4K (below that RuOx or Germanium resistors are typically used). Some specific brands of old style carbon resistors can also be used but they are hard to find these (there are companies that sell them specifically to be used as temperature sensors). .

You can actually just use a normal surface mount diode to do this as long as you don't' expect great accuracy (and the reproduciblity is so-so). Many years ago I built a setup which used some Schottky diode in the feedback loop for temperature control down to about 20K.
These days I am too lazy...I would just get a proper Si diode;