CERN discovers 'God' particle - Fine Tubes supplied vital cooling tubes
PUBLISHED: 23 Jul 12
Fine Tubes Ltd has supplied CERN with 130km of cooling tubes
Fine Tubes Ltd has played a key role in the manufacture and supply of critical components for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), who has announced the historic discovery of a new particle in one of the word's longest and most expensive physics experiment involving over a thousand international scientists.
CERN scientists have declared the finding of a sub-atomic particle consistent with the Higgs boson or 'God particle', thought to be an essential building block that led to the creation of the universe. The Higgs boson's existence could explain why all matter, from the smallest atoms to the largest planets, has mass rather than floating around the Universe. This monumental breakthrough will help scientists better understand the origin of our universe. Fine Tubes Ltd has played a major role in supplying essential cooling tubes to the Large Hadron Collider that made this discovery possible.
The LHC, the world's largest particle accelerator, produces head-on collisions between two beams of particles of the same kind - either protons or lead ions. Superconducting magnets operating at extremely low temperatures guide the beams of the LHC around the circumference of the ring that is located 100m underground, near the Franco-Swiss border.
Fine Tubes produced and supplied the cooling tubes for the beam screens of the LHC arc magnets that carry a flow of supercritical helium. As these arc magnets operate in a super fluid helium bath at 1.98 degrees Kelvin (equivalent to -271 °C) the high specification cooling tubes had to be manufactured from a specially developed austenitic stainless steel grade that provides high mechanical strength in combination with very low magnetic permeability at cryogenic temperatures.
The seamless tubes with an outside diameter of 4.76mm and a wall thickness of just 0.53mm are then laser-welded onto the beam screens and inserted into the beam pipes of the collider's superconducting magnets. The seamless tubes also had to provide very strict leak tightness as any leakage of the helium into the vacuum would disrupt the functioning of the LHC. Special equipment for helium leak detection and turbo-molecular pumping systems were supplied by CERN to test the tubes at the Fine Tubes mill in Plymouth.
In total Fine Tubes Ltd has supplied CERN with 130km of cooling tubes and the company is proud to be a part of one of the greatest achievements of modern science.
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