Faculty of Engineering, Viale Risorgimento 2, 40136 Bologna (Italy)

Ph: 051 - 209 3587; Fax: 051 - 585700 / 209 3588



Established in March 1977

(D.R. 743, March 3rd, 1977)



Prof. Francesco NEGRINI



Prof. Pier Luigi RIBANI

Dr. Massimo FABBRI


Dr. Antonio MORANDI






Aims and Activities


The activity of the MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMIC ENGINEERING LABORATORY is aimed to the study of the industrial applications of magneto-hydro-dynamics (MHD) and superconductivity (SC), with particular care for the energy-managing systems. In the past the Laboratory staff have developed an experimental activity on a system made of a shock tube, a cryogenic magnet and a MHD generator, designed and realized within the Laboratory. Later on, the activity was mainly devoted to the modeling of MHD generators and to the methods for the design, construction, and performance optimization of the electrical devices utilizing superconductors. Now days we have developed innovative competences in the following fields:


·        Analysis e Synthesis of superconducting magnets, with reference to the problematic present in the design, construction and operation of “high field” superconducting magnets devoted to MHD generators, SMES systems,  NMR devices, etc. We have studied both systems utilizing metallic LTC (Low Critical Temperature) superconducting materials and ceramic HTC (High Critical Temperature) superconducting materials;

·        Magnetic Levitation systems Modeling with particular reference to the design of flywheels for the energy storage. For what concerns the “magnetic bearing” particular attention has been devoted to the study of the optimal magnetization techniques;

·        Design of systems for the storage of the electrical energy: we have studied the optimal design of micro-SMES systems with functions of UPS and active filter utilized for the improvement of the “Power Quality”. A new "Force Balanced" design has been investigated;

·       Electromagnetic Processing of Materials (MHD applied to metallurgy): with reference to the Continuous Casting lines, we have studied the control of the shape of the free surface of the liquid metal in the mold and the magnetic separation of the inclusions;

·        Magnetic Separators: with reference to the combusted gas emitted by industries, we have studied the process for the abatement of the ultra-fine solid particles by the use of the High Gradient Magnetic Separator (HGMS) and the Open Gradient Magnetic Separator (OGMS);

·        Current Distribution inside superconducting cables: the study has been devoted in particular to determine the a.c. losses and the ramp-rate limitation of the current sustainable from the superconducting coil in the charging phase and/or the distortions of the induction field produced by the current non-uniformities.


From 1989 till to 1995 the Magnetohydrodynamic Engineering Laboratory has been the Center of the National Coordination of the Sub-Project “Superconducting Magnets” of the CNR (National Research Council of Italy) Finalized Project “Superconducting and Cryogenic Technologies” (Su.Cry.Tec.). During this activity, in which was involved some of the main Italian electromechanical industries and four university groups, the final design and the construction of a rectangular saddle magnet (active length 2 m, maximum field on the axis 5 T, stored energy 62 MJ) to be utilized in a 30 MW MHD pilot power plant, has been carried out. The employed technology (superconducting cable CICC of the kind Copper/NbTi contained in a steel conduit and cooled with supercritical helium) was innovative regarding those used for the magnets built in the world until then and, above all, can be utilized without modifications for the construction of magnets having the dimensions required from the industrial plants. The designed prototype magnet is at the moment in the Ansaldo Superconduttori laboratories in Genova (see the cryostat).


From its beginning the MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMIC ENGINEERING LABORATORY has developed, and still maintains, scientific co-operations with many Research Agencies in Italy and abroad: 

Europa Metalli

Ansaldo Superconduttori

Kawasaki Steel Company

Nippon Steel Corporation

Tokyo Institute of Technology

University of Tokyo

Nagoya University

Russian Academy of Sciences

Chinese Academy of Sciences



Ministero dell’Industria






Recently, we have started a Research Project on the efficient use of the electrical energy, produced by alternative  sources, through Direct Current superconducting systems. This project foresee the experimental realization in the laboratory of a prototype system made of a 200 kJ SMES system, of a Superconducting Fault Current Limiter (FCL), and of a HTC superconducting cable for the transmission of the Direct Current (see the Applied Superconductivity Laboratory Web site).


Organized International Conferences

-    International Workshop on Fossil Fuel Fired MHD Retrofit of Existing Power Stations, Roma, 27-28 January 1986.

-    International School on MHD Engineering, Bologna, 1989.

-    2nd International Workshop on Fossil Fuel Fired MHD Retrofit of Existing Power Stations, Bologna, 21-23 March 1990.

-    International Workshop on MHD Superconducting Magnets, Bologna, 13-15 November 1991.

-    International Liaison Group on MHD Electrical Power Generation Meeting - CNR Roma, 1992.

-    2nd International Workshop on MHD Superconducting Magnets, Genoa, 11-12 December 1994.

-    International Meeting on MHD Technologies, Genoa, 13-14 December 1994.

-    Summer Course 1998 on "SUPERCONDUCTING MATERIALS: ADVANCED IN TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATIONS", 29 June - 10 July, 1998, "CNR Conference Center" - Bologna, Italy.

-    International Conference on "MHD POWER GENERATION AND HIGH TEMPERATURE TECHNOLOGIES", 12-15 October, 1999, Beijing, PRC


Ultimo aggiornamento il 21/10/2003