Large Hadron Collider in final round of tests

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Large Hadron Collider in final round of tests

Examining splices around particle accelerator ring.

CERN has indicated the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is on track for relaunch in September “albeit about two to three weeks later than originally foreseen”.

Scientists from the European organisation for nuclear research said they were continuing to work on new systems and techniques to prevent a repeat of last year’s shutdown.

That was caused by a faulty splice in the high-current superconducting cable between two magnets.
There are some 10,000 splices around the Large Hadron Collider ring, contained in approximately 27 kilometres of tunnels under France and Switzerland.

CERN is still to test one more sector to determine whether any more splices are in need of repair.

The organisation said there were indications of at least one suspect splice in this remaining sector.

CERN is also constructing an enhanced quench protection system (QPS), which triggers evacuation of the stored magnetic energy quickly and safely should a part of the LHC’s superconducting system overheat again.

In addition, new pressure relief valves are being installed, the ultra-high vacuum system is being improved, and the systems anchoring the LHC magnets to the floor are being strengthened.

“All of this contributes to preparing the machine for a long and safe operational lifetime,” said CERN’s director for accelerators Steve Myers.

When it is back online, scientists hope, among other things, to use it to help explain the origins of mass in the universe.

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