The University of Southampton

FEEG6029 Cryogenics & Superconductivity

Module Overview

This module introduces the science and engineering of cryogenic and superconductor technology. The use of superconducting systems in medical imaging, particle accelerators and electrical machines/energy storage is growing, and this module aims to introduce the properties and behaviour of superconducting systems, consider the design and use of the associated cryogenic cooling systems to enable superconducting behaviour and provide some study on relevant applications of this technology.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of this module are to develop an understanding of the principles of superconductivity and how to apply these recognising the role of cryogenic cooling/heat transfer systems necessary to enable superconductor operation.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Cryogenic engineering and superconducting applications
  • The properties of materials at low temperatures
  • The production of low temperatures
  • The principles of superconductivity
  • Heat transfer at low temperatures
  • Examples of low temperature applications relevant to energy technology
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Think, observe, communicate, evaluate multidisciplinary information and data, analyse and solve problems and apply
  • Explain and justify the role and requirements of a specialised engineering sector
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Possess the basic skills to undertake low temperature measurement
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Search and critically review technical literature
  • Analyse complex cryogenic/superconducting systems
  • Relate multidisciplinary parameters to a system design


Matter at low temperatures: • The three phases of matter. • Phase diagrams and “permanent” gases How to make cold. • Thermodynamics of reverse carnot cycle and practical refrigeration cycles. • Cold expansion of gases, Joule Thompson effect and liquefaction. • Practical Cryogenic Cycles. Working with cold environments: • Heat leaks, mechanisms, real examples. • Cryostat Design, cryogen handling. • Instrumentation, cooling of equipment. Superconductivity: • Thermal electrical properties of materials at low temperatures. • Basic properties of superconductivity. • Applications in science, medicine, and power machines. Design Case Study: • The need for superconducting magnetic energy storage .• Design considerations: electromagnetics, thermal stability, quench protection. • Design choices, superconductor performance, and cooling optimisation. • Power Electronics for SMES. Practical Laboratory: • Test of a superconducting transition and its electromagnetic performance. • Power Electronics for SMES.

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

A series of lectures supported with a laboratory and a coursework. The laboratories are to be hands on to give a real experience of cryogens and test and measurement at low temperatures and will be early to mid-period to coincide with superconductor properties in lectures, and the relevance of integrating power electronics with superconducting magnetic energy storage The design study comes later in the course to give the opportunity for students to apply most aspects of the syllabus.

Practical classes and workshops6
Completion of assessment task15
Preparation for scheduled sessions36
Follow-up work36
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Barron R.F. Cryogenic Systems. 


Assessment Strategy



MethodPercentage contribution
Design 15%
Exam 70%
Laboratory 7.5%
Laboratory 7.5%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite : SESM2017 Part 2 Thermodynamics

Share this module Facebook Google+ Twitter Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.