Technology and Innovation in Japan: Policy and Management for the Twenty-First Century

By Martin Hemmert; Christian Oberländer | Go to book overview

13

JAPANESE R&D ACTIVITIES IN ADVANCED MATERIALS

The case of superconductivity research

Michael Becht

Introduction

The field of advanced materials is generally regarded as being crucial for future technological development. Relatively little is yet known about actual research programs being conducted in the major industrial countries that are related to this field.

This paper addresses Japanese R&D activities in new materials with a particular focus on the area of superconductivity research. In the second section, some introductory remarks concerning advanced materials and their applications are given. Thereafter, the third section contains a brief sketch of Japanese research projects in this field and a comparison of actual and future market size in Japan and the United States; the fourth section provides an overview of Japanese research programs in the particular field of ceramic high-temperature superconducting materials, and in the fifth section the structure, activities, and performance of a major Japanese research institution in this field, the International Superconductivity Research Laboratory (ISTEC), are analyzed. The paper closes with some concluding remarks.


Advanced materials: classification and applications

Materials collectively known as ‘advanced or new materials’ have begun to attract attention as the third generation of new industrial materials, following in the wake of conventional metals and plastics. They are defined as follows:

New materials are high value-added materials exhibiting epoch-making properties and producing a level of social value never before experienced, which are made from metallic, inorganic, organic, or a

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