22 August 2016

New quench analysis technique for HTS magnets

A protected quench event simulation. A protected quench event simulation.

A first-of-its-kind magnet called for a first-of-its-kind approach to quench analysis. MagLab engineers delivered.

First, some background

The MagLab's 32 tesla all-superconducting magnet (32T), scheduled to go online in the fall of 2016, will be the first research magnet in which the inner, high-field portion (the insert) is built using high-temperature superconductor (HTS) materials (specifically, rare earth-barium-copper-oxide, or REBCO). As with all superconducting magnets, magnet designers work to prevent damage in case of a quench, which can happen if the material stops working.

What is the finding?

The 32T requires both substantial HTS and low-temperature superconductor (LTS) coils. So, in order to design and optimize its quench protection system, magnet designers needed a quench simulation code that includes both the LTS and HTS physics, as well as the specifics of the MagLab-developed quench protection heaters.

MagLab scientists and engineers developed this new code and tested (benchmarked) it against data from the quench of a 32T prototype coil. Then they used it to predict quench behavior for the completed 32T so that they could design its quench protection. This marked the first time scientists have used a benchmarked code to simulate protected quenches in a high-field magnet with both HTS and LTS coils. This allowed the team to complete the 32T design.

Why is this important?

A properly designed active quench protection system for the HTS coils, with protection heaters as the key element, is essential for the 32T's survival in case of a quench.

Who did the research?

A.V. Gavrilin and H.W. Weijers

National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida State University

Why did this research need the MagLab?


This research was conducted in the 32T magnet system outsert at the MagLab's DC Field Facility.

The MagLab had prior expertise in developing complex LTS quench codes and generated the required HTS data. Truly unique, however, was the MagLab's ability to build prototype coils and gather data on deliberate and safe high-field quenches.

Details for scientists


This research was funded by the following grants: G.S. Boebinger (DMR-0654118 , NSF DMR-1157490), W.D. Markiewicz (DMR-0923070)

For more information, contact Mark Bird.


  • Research Area: Magnet Technology
  • Facility / Program: MS&T
  • Year: 2016
Last modified on 26 August 2016