Saturday, January 23, 2010

LHC: quench protection system

The LHC collider is currently stopped for two months because the energy is more expensive during the winter. Recall that the collider's power consumption matches that of Geneva, the city - which is almost certainly more than the saving of the whole world's transition from proper light bulbs to the fluorescent ones. ;-)

The collider will be restarted in one month, in the second part of February. The video above explains the new quench protection system (QPS) that should protect the device against new incidents similar to the September 2008 event. The quench has to be detected and lots of energy has to be taken away from a segment of the LHC to avoid the further loss of superconductivity.

If this turns out to be the only "stopper", I would say that the LHC activation should be called a rather straightforward exercise, relatively e.g. to LEP (which stood for Lots of Extra Problems haha). Just realize how many complex components have to co-exist and co-operate in the collider - and many of these co-operations haven't been previously tested.

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