Tuesday, August 04, 2009

LHC's troubles continue to mount

According to an article in the NYT Space & Cosmos section - faulty electrical connections plus the already discovered vacuum leaks continue to push back the full power tests. As many as 5000 splices in the super-conducting cables need to be redone otherwise the resistance in the splices will prevent the LHC from going to full power. It has also been discovered that many of the super-conducting magnets can no longer perform at the specified high currents. Before the magnets are installed, they are slowly exposed to higher and higher current loads there by conditioning them. Many magnets will have to be removed and "retrained" if the collider is to reach its' target of 7 tev or 7 trillion electron volts. Without reconditioning LHC may only reach 6.5 tev and it should be noted that a great deal of time would be be need for the retraining.

After being informed that it would be winter sometime before they could set a date for full power restarts, many scientists at LHC opted to move to Fermilab, where the Tevatron accelerator has been in operation for a decade.

Many scientists have stated that they would be happy with even 5 tev from the LHC as that is substantially higher than Fermilab's Tevatron which can reach 1 tev.

complete NYT article

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