Long shutdown to consolidate LHC magnet interconnections

Feb 11, 2014 by Cian O'luanaigh
An engineer at work at a section where magnets join on the LHC. Credit: Michael Struik/CERN

Since April last year, the Superconducting Magnets And Circuits Consolidation (SMACC) team has been strengthening the electrical connections of the superconducting circuits on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). This work is taking place as part of the first LHC long shutdown.

To consolidate an interconnection between LHC magnets, the SMACC team has first to open the zone of the accelerator around the joints. The first step is to slide a custom-built metallic bellows of the way and remove the thermal shielding inside, revealing a series of metallic pipes linking the magnets to each other. One set of these pipes – the "M-lines" – must then be cut open to access the splices between the superconducting cables.

"Opening the M-lines allows us to check the quality of the existing connections, to determine if they need to be redone before they are consolidated," says CERN engineer Jean-Philippe Tock, who leads the SMACC project.

Last week, the team – composed of CERN staff, mechanics from Pakistan and industrial support – opened the last so-called M-line stainless steel sleeve. They celebrated this milestone in style, with a Formula-1 type photo opportunity.

Members of the Superconducting Magnets And Circuits Consolidation team (SMACC) in the LHC tunnel. Credit: Michael Struik/CERN

Tock says that the rest of the consolidation project is progressing well. "Over 1000 of the 1695 interconnections between magnets on the LHC have been re-welded," he says. "And more than a quarter of the accelerator has been permanently reclosed and leak tested."

An engineer inspects a splice inside a recently opened M line. Credit: Michael Struik/CERN

Tock says that all the activities are moving in harmony thanks to a dedicated coordination team and efficient supervision of the production team. "Consecutive activities take place one behind the other in a train-like structure moving along the accelerator," he says.

The work continues…

Explore further: Heat makes electrons spin in magnetic superconductors

Related Stories

Test magnet reaches 13.5 tesla – a new CERN record

Nov 18, 2013

The Short Model Coil (SMC) programme tests new magnet technologies with magnets about 30 centimetres long. The technology developed in the SMC will eventually help engineers build more powerful magnets for ...

X-ray tests: Night at the collider

Nov 26, 2013

When night falls over Geneva and technicians, engineers and physicists finish their work in the Large Hadron Collider tunnel to go home, Gunter Kniesche and his colleagues take the helm. They are non-destructive ...

CERN prepares its long-term future

Feb 06, 2014

Particle physics takes the long-term view. Originally conceived in the 1980s, the LHC took another 25 years to come into being. This accelerator, which is unlike any other, is just at the start of a programme ...

CERN has 2020 vision for LHC upgrade

Nov 16, 2011

CERN today kicked off the High Luminosity LHC study with a workshop bringing together scientists and engineers from some 14 European institutions, supported through the European Commission’s seventh Framework programm ...

CERN eyes new giant particle collider

Feb 06, 2014

Europe's physics lab CERN said Thursday it was eyeing plans for a circular particle collider that would be seven times more powerful than the facility which discovered the famous "God particle." ...

Recommended for you

Heat makes electrons spin in magnetic superconductors

Apr 24, 2015

Physicists have shown how heat can be exploited for controlling magnetic properties of matter. The finding helps in the development of more efficient mass memories. The result was published yesterday in Physical Review Le ...

ICARUS neutrino experiment to move to Fermilab

Apr 23, 2015

A group of scientists led by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia will transport the world's largest liquid-argon neutrino detector across the Atlantic Ocean from CERN to its new home at the US Department of Energy's ...

National security on the move with high energy physics

Apr 23, 2015

Scientists are developing a portable technology that will safely and quickly detect nuclear material hidden within large objects such as shipping cargo containers or sealed waste drums. The researchers, led ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.