Saturday, January 28, 2017

LHC robots

Symmetry has an article about the robots of the LCH.
As you might expect, the subterranean tunnel which houses the LHC is not always the friendliest place for human visitors.

“The LHC contains 120 tons of liquid helium kept at 1.9 Kelvin,” says Ron Suykerbuyk, an LHC operator. “This cooling system is used to keep the electromagnets in super conducting state capable of carrying up to 13,000 Amps of current through its wires. Even with all the safety systems we have in place, we prefer to limit our underground access when the cryogenic systems are on”.

Unfriendly is a bit of an understatement. When the magnet quenched the resulting explosion shoved a 35 t dipole magnet into its neighbor, and the escaping liquid helium allegedly condensed the air.

Near the collision points the radiation levels are pretty doggone high. I'm not sure robots would survive in the collision halls--for that matter I don't know if they can go in. And you have to worry about little things like the fringe of the magnetic field for CMS--high enough to mean that power supplies have to be kept far away from the electronic devices they power--which costs some DC power loss.

So, meet TIM. Except the picture at the top of the article isn't of TIM ("the Train Inspection Monorail. TIM is a chain of wagons, sensors and cameras that snake along a track bolted to the LHC tunnel’s ceiling"). The video is, though.

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