2019 Cryogenic Engineering

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Mechanical Engineering
Okamura Tetsuji 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Thr5-6(G111, I124)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

Lectures will be given on the phenomena of superconductivity that occurs at extremely low temperatures, and refrigeration/cooling technology, heat insulation technology, the principle and application of refrigerators for utilizing cryogenic temperatures. I will also introduce the latest technologies for low temperature environment application examples for space engineering and hydrogen society, superconducting magnets and devices using cryogenic technology.
The purpose is to understand the phenomena of superconductivity that is anomalous behavior at very low temperatures where the quantum effects cannot be ignored, and to cultivate a wide range of insights from the basics of superconductivity to cryogenic systems through the study of superconducting applications from the viewpoint of effective energy utilization.

Student learning outcomes

1. Students will be able to explain the nature of the superconducting phenomenon and the principle of cryogenic temperature generation.
2. Students will be able to perform a simple thermal design calculation in industrial equipment, and to find out the technological development elements that are necessary for engineering as superconducting and cryogenic applications.


Cryogenic temperature, Superconductivity, Refrigeration, Cooling

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

In addition to the nature of superconductivity and the foundation necessary for the generation of extremely low temperatures, we will introduce an example in which a failure in the experiment triggered a serious discovery, an example where a small amount of flatfish triggered the Nobel Prize, an example in which the idea of reversal led to practical use, an example of using the real state (properties) instead of the ideal state learned in physics to high school, in the process of discovery of the superconducting phenomenon and the development of cooling technology.
We will do exercises using a calculator as an attempt to apply the basics of heat transfer and thermodynamics learned in undergraduate schools to the design of actual cryogenic equipment.
*Be sure to bring a calculator for the lecture.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Road to Absolute Zero - Why did mankind need low temperatures?- Understand the historical background of low temperature technology.
Class 2 Properties of superconducting wires and magnets -Innovative superconducting wires and coils- Understand the research and development for improving the performance of superconducting wires and magnets.
Class 3 Thermal engineering for refrigeration -It gets cold because of the real gas- Understand the principles of cryogenic refrigeration.
Class 4 Unusual refrigeration technology -cooling with sound, cooling with magnet- Understand new technologies for non-fluorocarbon refrigeration.
Class 5 Cryogenic refrigerator – Pump up heat from cryogenic temperature to room temperature Understand the operating principle of cryogenic refrigerators and to be able to quantitatively evaluate their performance.
Class 6 Cryogenic cooling -Cryogenic refrigerant- Understand cooling systems using cryogenic refrigerants and develop a sense of the costs needed for refrigeration.
Class 7 Technology for maintaining low temperature -Cutting off heat from room temperature- Understand thermal insulation technology and to be able to perform simple thermal design calculation of cryogenic equipment.
Class 8 Low temperature environment usage example Understand current low temperature environment utilization examples and to discuss future prospects.


Textbook is not specified in particular.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Case Studies in Superconducting Magnets, Yukikazu Iwasa, Springer
Superconducting Magnets, Martin N. Wilson, CLARENDON PRESS OXFORD
Lecture materials are posted on OCW-i.

Assessment criteria and methods

The acceptance criteria is based on the evaluation of understanding the nature of the superconducting phenomena and the principle of cryogenic temperature generation, and the ability to perform simple thermal design calculations in industrial equipment. A total of 100 points will be given for the sum of 40% of exercises conducted in class and 60% of final exams.

Related courses

  • MEC.E311 : Heat Transfer
  • MEC.E201 : Thermodynamics (Mechanical Engineering)

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

It is desirable to take lectures on heat transfer.

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