This paper investigates the quench initiation and propagation characteristics of a metallic insulation (MI) coil by conducting thermal quench tests for a GdBCO single-pancake coil co-wound with a stainless steel tape as the turn-to-turn MI. The test results confirmed that the MI coil exhibited superior thermal and electrical stabilities compared to the conventional coils co-wound with organic insulation material because the operating current could flow along the radial direction due to the existence of a turn-to-turn contact when a local hot spot was generated. The results of the quench test at a heater current (Ih) of 12, 13, and 14 A indicate that the MI coil possesses a self-protecting characteristic resulting from the "current bypass" through the turn-to-turn contact. However, the test coil was not self-protecting at Ih = 15 A because the Joule heat energy generated by the radial current flow was not completely dissipated due to the characteristic resistance of the metallic insulation tape and the non-superconducting materials, including the substrate, stabilizer, and buffer layers within the high-temperature superconductor (HTS) tape. Even though the MI coil possesses superior thermal and electrical stability relative to those of conventional HTS coils co-wound with an organic material as turn-to-turn insulation, it is essential to consider the critical role of the Joule heat energy resulting from the operating current and stored magnetic energy as well as the characteristic resistances in order to further develop self-protective 2G HTS magnets.
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