OCR Interpretation


Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, May 28, 1946, Image 23

Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1946-05-28/ed-1/seq-23/

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AU SALK FiNAl/
B3B
Sodium and Ammonia
Ice Gives Electricity
Superconductor
By Thomas R. Henry
A practical superconductor of
electricity, for years one of the far
off goals of physics which would
revolutionize power transmission all
over the world, may be on the ho
rizon.
It is a mixture of powdered me
tallic sodium and liquid, ammonia
one part of the sodium to 400 of the
ammonia—frozen to form a solid at
a temperature of about, 95 below
zero centigrade,'which is about the
temperature of dry ice.
Resistance at Minimum.
Through an “ice wire” of this sort
current might be expected to flow
indefinitely with no loss due to re
sistance. The immediate picture
which arises is of tiny tubes filled
with the substance and packed in
dry ice—obviously impossible for
any commercial or industrial appli
cation in such a shape, but offering
a toe-hold for possibly far-reaching
applications.
It has been known for years that
the resistance of conductors be
comes exceedingly low, theoretically
nothing, at extremely low tempera
tures, but the highest temperature
at which this phenomenon has been
observed before is about 15 degrees
absolute, or 15 degrees above minus
490. The temperature of minus 95
centigrade is equivalent to 190 de
grees absolute. It is easily obtain
able, whereas 15 degrees absolute is
about the lower limit possible to ob
tain in a well-equipped pressure
laboratory with complicated appa
ratus.
Seek to Duplicate Results.
The phenomenon was reported by
Richard A. Ogg of Stanford Univer
sity and efforts have been made to
duplicate his results at the United
States Bureau of Standards here.
Physicists there believe that even
now the superconductor might be
used practically in laboratories.
The sodium-ammonia ice reported
by Dr. Ogg is described as a "deep
blue solid with a bronzelike luster."
Electrical resistance is measured in
ohms. The resistance of the so
dium and ammonia in liquid form
was about 10,000 ohms. That of the
“ice” was only 16 ohms, and even
this, it was believed, might have
been overcome.
The superconductor was produced
by filling thin-walled glass cells
with the liquid and plunging them
into liquid air.
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1

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