via Space Marauder
Researchers at CERN have released a new timetable for the restart of the Large Hadron Collider after a problematic electrical connection forced the facility to be closed for repairs, just 9 days after its launch. Originally slated for an early spring restart, the announcement points to a restart in late September with the first proton collisions to occur about 4 weeks later.
The Large Hadron Collider is contained in a 17 mile long tunnel under the Swiss-French border. Over 1 billion people watched as protons first passed through the tunnel on September 10th. On September 19th, researchers were testing the electrical wiring to make sure that it could handle the massive currents needed to pass protons around the ring when the connection between two magnets melted, causing the cryogenic plumbing to be damaged. The plumbing keeps the superconducting magnets frigid at nearly -455.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
The damage caused a helium leak in sectors 3 and 4, and in order for repairs to take place 53 of the LHC’s magnets had to be brought to the surface. The repairs and other preventive measures are expected to cost CERN nearly €20 million. New monitoring systems include 230km of cables that will detect nano-ohm rises in electrical resistance in the wires that are used to conduct the massive currents used to bend the magnets. Physicists were not able to reach an agreement however on another preventive measure that would have each magnet fitted with helium valves to reduce the impact of a specific failure in the system. Continue reading