Strengthening electrical connections of the superconducting circuits on the Large Hadron Collider

May 6, 2014 by Cian O'luanaigh, CERN
An engineer uses a small mirror to inspect a shunt on an interconnection between superconducting magnets on the Large Hadron Collider Credit: Maximilien Brice/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). Last week they installed the last of 27,000 electrical shunts to consolidate "splices" – connections between superconducting magnets – on the accelerator.

Each of the LHC's 10,000 splices carries a hefty 13,000 amps. A shunt is a low-resistance connection that provides an alternative path for a portion of the current in the event that a splice loses its superconducting state. Check out some more of the main LHC consolidations.

On 19 September 2008, during powering tests on the LHC, a fault occurred in one of the splices, resulting in mechanical damage and release of helium from the magnet cold mass into the tunnel. Proper safety procedures were in force, the safety systems performed as expected, and no-one was put at risk. But the fault did delay operation of the accelerator by six months. The new shunts make such a fault unlikely to happen again.

To install a shunt the SMACC team first has to open the area around the interconnection they want to work on. They slide the custom-built metallic bellows out 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. The team opened up the last of the M lines in February and has been at work ever since adding the shunts.

Explore further: Long shutdown to consolidate LHC magnet interconnections

Related Stories

Long shutdown to consolidate LHC magnet interconnections

February 11, 2014

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 ...

CERN: World-record current in a superconductor

April 15, 2014

In the framework of the High-Luminosity LHC project, experts from the CERN Superconductors team recently obtained a world-record current of 20 kA at 24 K in an electrical transmission line consisting of two 20-metre long ...

Test magnet reaches 13.5 tesla – a new CERN record

November 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 the Large Hadron ...

CERN reports on progress toward LHC restart

June 22, 2009

At the 151st session of the CERN Council today, CERN Director General Rolf Heuer confirmed that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) remains on schedule for a restart this autumn, albeit about 2-3 weeks later than originally ...

LHC to Restart in 2009

December 8, 2008

CERN today confirmed that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will restart in 2009. This news forms part of an updated report, published last week, on the status of the LHC following a malfunction on 19 September.

X-ray tests: Night at the collider

November 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 testers – ...

Recommended for you

How heavy elements come about in the universe

March 19, 2019

Heavy elements are produced during stellar explosion or on the surfaces of neutron stars through the capture of hydrogen nuclei (protons). This occurs at extremely high temperatures, but at relatively low energies. An international ...

Trembling aspen leaves could save future Mars rovers

March 18, 2019

Researchers at the University of Warwick have been inspired by the unique movement of trembling aspen leaves, to devise an energy harvesting mechanism that could power weather sensors in hostile environments and could even ...

Quantum sensing method measures minuscule magnetic fields

March 15, 2019

A new way of measuring atomic-scale magnetic fields with great precision, not only up and down but sideways as well, has been developed by researchers at MIT. The new tool could be useful in applications as diverse as mapping ...

0 comments

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.