Rights: The Royal Society, TVNZ 7 in partnership with the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology Published 15 December 2010 Download

This is a simple explanation of what a superconductor is and why they don’t lose energy.

This one minute animated video from TVNZ aims to demystifies commonly used, but little understood scientific and technological jargon.


What is a superconductor?

A superconductor is a material that can conduct electricity without loss of energy. When current flows through an ordinary conductor, like copper wire, some energy is lost through electrical resistance. In a light bulb or electric heater, this energy loss creates light or heat.

Because superconductors don’t lose energy they have lots of applications for power storage and distribution.

The first superconductors discovered only function at very low temperatures which has proved a challenge for commercial application.

Recently scientists have discovered superconductors that operate at much higher temperatures.

New Zealand researchers are leaders in developing high temperature superconductors. They will eventually impact on every sector – health, transportation, energy, manufacturing and research.

And that’s a superconductor.