Fabrication of cryogenic lines for the Large Hadron Collider
CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a 17 miles long ring structure, and built 328 feet underground, located near the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. It is the world’s largest particle accelerator. Very high-energy protons are fired in opposing directions through particle beam pipes; the resulting collisions are studied for clues about super symmetry, dark matter and the origin of the mass of elementary particles. These protons, which are accelerated to nearly the speed of light, are kept in circulation for hours, guided by very powerful superconducting magnets. The magnetic field required for such operations can only be generated by cooling the magnets with advanced cryogenic techniques. In the LHC, these techniques, which harness the properties of nitrogen and helium, were designed by Air Liquide Advanced Technologies. Boccard’s Piping & Modular Fabrication business Area contributed to this project by manufacturing the 530 piping modules that form the LHC ring. This work was carried out at our workshop in Portugal, which holds ALTAL and ISO 9001 certifications. These Stainless Steel modules were assembled using welding processes qualified to a temperature of -192°C. After subjecting every weld to Radiographic Inspection, the modules underwent a series of pneumatic pressure tests, thermal shock and helium leak tests, culminating in vacuum behavior tests.
Watch the Cern LHC video: