Modeling of 'quench' or the occurrence and propagation of dissipative zones in REBCO high temperature superconducting coils

Arnaud Badel, Blandine Rozier, Brahim Ramdane, Gérard Meunier, Pascal Tixador

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Thanks to their very high current carrying capabilities even under high magnetic field conditions and their outstanding mechanical properties, high temperature superconductors (HTSs) such as REBCO (rare-earth BaCuO) tapes are very attractive for high magnetic field applications. Depending on the magnet design goals and constraints, it can be advantageous in some cases to reduce the electrical margins of the conductor. Considering the uncertainty in locally evaluating the critical current, and the inhomogeneities of present-day REBCO tapes, there is a significant risk of the critical current being overstepped locally, thus triggering local damaging hotspots. Such an event does not have the sudden occurrence and/or fast spreading quality usually associated with the concept of 'quench' and should be simply seen as thermal runaway induced by dissipative zones (DZs). The development of numerical models to evaluate the occurrence and propagation of such zones inside windings is critical in the development of a HTS magnet fully using REBCO tape performance while guaranteeing safe operation conditions. In this work, we have developed a transient electro-thermal model adapted to pancake-based coils. It accounts for both the nonlinear electrical and thermal behavior of the material and considers the local inhomogeneities of the critical current I c along the tape. The electrical part is one-dimensional (1D) and computes the nonlinear dissipation in the conductor depending on the local operation conditions while the thermal part is two-dimensional (2D) to account for the heat propagation along the conductor length and from turn to turn. In order to improve computation efficiency, adaptive time-stepping methods have been introduced with the objective of ensuring good accuracy of simulation results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number094001
JournalSuperconductor Science and Technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul 18
Externally publishedYes


  • HTS magnets
  • HTS modeling
  • quench propagation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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