Oxford engineering students to study new solutions for vacuum chambers

In April, eleven engineering science students in their third year at Oxford University were invited here to present their design ideas for new vacuum chamber materials to be used in accelerators. We publish below an abstract of the article that the University of Oxford featured on its website.


The 11 Oxford students who worked at CERN on alternatives to beryllium in vacuum chambers. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford.)

Engineering Science students invited to design for CERN’s Large Hadron Collider

In April, eleven Engineering Science students in their third year were invited to the CERN laboratory in Geneva to present their ideas for new vacuum chamber designs for the experiments of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Their design objectives were to propose alternatives to beryllium – the material used for some of the existing experimental vacuum chambers. Beryllium (chemical element with the symbol Be and atomic number 4) is toxic, expensive, difficult to machine and join, and can have associated health problems if personnel were exposed to the element in a particle form caused by damage to a chamber.

The hadron beam at CERN's Large Hadron Collider is held in vacuum, and a structural vacuum chamber is needed around the entire 27 kilometre ring. It is paramount that, at the beam collision points, the chambers to be designed are transparent to particles created during a collision, so that the products can be detected, unimpeded, by the LHC experiments. Eleven Oxford students have worked in three teams and designed alternative systems to using beryllium. By exploiting advanced carbon composites they have developed alternatives with similar transparency but using safer materials. They also presented solutions for quick changeover of components, which could help minimise exposure of technicians to hazardous environments.

All three teams of students developed theoretical designs from intensive research on-line.

Access the full article here.

by Department of Engineering Science - University of Oxford