Investigation of microstructural, Vickers microhardness and superconducting properties of YBa2Cu3-xGdxO7-delta (0 a parts per thousand currency sign x a parts per thousand currency sign 0.150) superconducting ceramics via experimental and theoretical approaches
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This study manifests the change of pinning mechanism, electrical, structural, physical, mechanical and superconducting properties of YBa2Cu3-xGdxO7-delta superconductors samples prepared by the conventional solid-state reaction method (x = 0, 0.025, 0.050, 0.100 and 0.150) by use of dc resistivity, X-ray analysis (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Vickers microhardness measurements. Zero resistivity transition temperatures (T (c) (offset) ) of the samples are deduced from the dc resistivity measurements. Additionally, the lattice parameters are determined from XRD measurements when the microstructure, surface morphology and microhardness of the samples studied are examined by SEM and mechanical measurements, respectively. The results obtained demonstrate that T (c) (offset) values of the samples decrease slowly with the increase in the Gd content. The maximum T (c) (offset) (92.0 K) is obtained for the pure sample prepared at 940 A degrees C for 20 h in air atmosphere while the minimum value of 83.3 K is found for the sample doped with 0.150 Gd content. Moreover, it is obtained that J (c) values reduce from 132 to 34 A/cm(2) with the enhancement of the Gd level in the crystalline structure. Further, the peak intensities belonging to Y123 (major) phase are obtained to decrease whereas the peak intensities of the minor phases such as BaCuO2 and Y211 are found to enhance systematically with the increment in the Gd content in the system, illustrating that partial substitution of Cu2+ ions by Gd3+ ions are carried out successfully. Moreover, SEM images display that the undoped sample obtains the best crystallinity and connectivity between superconducting grains and largest grain size whereas the worst surface morphology is observed for the maximum doped sample (x = 0.150). At the same time, Vickers microhardness, elastic modulus, load independent hardness, yield strength, fracture toughness and brittleness index values, playing important roles on the mechanical properties, are computed for all the samples. The experimental results of the microhardness measurements are examined using the Meyer's law, PSR (proportional specimen resistance), modified PRS, Elastic-Plastic deformation model (EPD) and Hays-Kendall (HK) approach. The microhardness values obtained increase with the enhancement of the Gd content in the samples. Besides, it is noted that the Hays-Kendall approach is the most successful model explaining the mechanical properties of the samples studied in this work.