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A system capable of pumping or mixing relatively warm fluids using a rotating magnetic element or bearing levitated by a cold superconducting element is disclosed. The magnetic element or bearing carries at least one impeller and is placed in a fluid vessel positioned external to the outer wall of a cryostat or other housing for the superconducting element. A separate cooling source thermally linked to the superconducting element provides the necessary cooling to create the desired superconductive effects and induce levitation in the magnetic element or bearing. The outer wall or housing defines a chamber around the cold superconducting element that thermally isolates it from the vessel. To ensure that the desired level of thermal isolation is provided, this chamber is evacuated or filled with an insulating material. This thermal isolation allows for placement of the superconducting element in close proximity to the wall or housing adjacent to the vessel to achieve a significant reduction in the separation distance from the magnetic element or bearing. This enhances the magnetic stiffness and loading capacity of the levitating element or bearing. However, since the superconducting element is thermally isolated from the outer wall or housing, the vessel, and hence the magnetic element/bearing and fluid contained therein, are not exposed to the cold temperatures required to produce the desired superconductive effects and the resultant levitation. By using means external to the vessel to rotate and/or stabilize the magnetic element/bearing levitating in the fluid, the desired pumping or mixing action is provided.


University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, KY (US)

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