CERN Pressure Test Failure

Posted on April 8, 2007  Comments (4)

photo of Femilab inner triplet quadrupole at CERN

On March 27th a high-pressure test at CERN of a Fermilab-built ‘inner-triplet’ series of three quadrupole magnets in the tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider failed. Fermilab Director on the test failure:

We test the complex features we design thoroughly. In this case we are dumbfounded that we missed some very simple balance of forces. Not only was it missed in the engineering design but also in the four engineering reviews carried out between 1998 and 2002 before launching the construction of the magnets. Furthermore even though every magnet was thoroughly tested individually, they were never tested with the exact configuration that they would have when installed at CERN–thus missing the opportunity to discover the problem sooner.

We need and want to make sure that we find the root causes of the problem and from the lessons learned build a stronger institution. Beyond that, there is no substitute for the commitment each of us makes to excellence, to critical thinking and to sweating every detail.

In a Fermilab Update on Inner Triplet Magnets at LHC they state: “The goal at CERN and Fermilab is now to redesign and repair the inner triplet magnets and, if necessary, the DFBX without affecting the LHC start-up schedule. Teams at CERN and Fermilab have identified potential repairs that could be carried out expeditiously without removing undamaged triplet magnets from the tunnel.”

Related: Fermilab Statement on LHC Magnet Test FailureAccelerators and Nobel LaureatesFind the Root Cause Instead of the Person to Blame

Big Bang at the atomic lab after scientists get their maths wrong:

A £2 billion project to answer some of the biggest mysteries of the universe has been delayed by months after scientists building it made basic errors in their mathematical calculations. The mistakes led to an explosion deep in the tunnel at the Cern particle accelerator complex near Geneva in Switzerland. It lifted a 20-ton magnet off its mountings, filling a tunnel with helium gas and forcing an evacuation.

Another photo from the CERN Large Hadron Collider:

CERN LHC

4 Responses to “CERN Pressure Test Failure”

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