The effects of vapor deposited coatings on the thermal contact conductance of cold pressed, normal state BiCaSrCuO superconductor/oxygen-free copper interfaces were experimentally investigated over a pressure range of 200 to 2000 kPa. Using traditional vapor deposition processes, thin coatings of indium or lead were applied to the superconductor material to determine the effect on the heat transfer occurring at the interface. The test data indicate that the contact conductance can be enhanced using these coatings, with indium providing the greater enhancement. The experimental program revealed the need for a better understanding and control of the vapor deposition process when using soft metallic coatings. Also, the temperature-dependent microhardness of copper was experimentally determined and found to increase by approximately 35 percent as the temperature decreased from 300 to 85 K. An empirical model was developed to predict the effect of soft coatings on the thermal contact conductance of the superconductor/copper interfaces. When applied, the model agreed well with the data obtained in this investigation at low coating thicknesses but overpredicted the data as the thickness increased. In addition, the model agreed very well with data obtained in a previous investigation for silver-coated nickel substrates at all coating thicknesses.

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