During the late 1980's the rapid succession of newly discovered superconductors with higher critical temperatures led to excitement. Much research and industrial developments of superconductive devices has advanced at a relatively slow rate since the first discovery of 1911. In part the reason for slowing advances was due to the cost and reliability of refrigeration needed to cool materials into superconductive states. Although liquid air is extremely cold by most peoples' standards, it is a relatively high temperature (and refrigeration is relatively easy) compared to what is needed for the many superconductive metals studied before 1986. Although many universities have regular sources for liquid helium, it is difficult for a high-school teacher to become involved with studies of classical superconductive metals. However,now that superconductivity can be observed rather easily in liquid nitrogen, kits for demonstrating the Meissner effect have become rather popular for classroom use. This handbook was prepared as an effort to help teachers learn to understand, teach, and demonstrate the basic features of superconductivity.
A historical background, fundamental physical features, and envisioned applications are discussed in this text. Although it is addressed to the teacher, this text may often be most useful to excited students embarking on science fair projects or personal interest. Three professional demonstrations and four student experiments are described. In addition, problems related to high-school chemistry and physics are listed. I hope that Superconductivity stimulates many high school students to further scientific education.
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