Monday, July 30, 2012

Back on the horse Monday

Monday turned into a busy day at work. I am working on several projects that are high profile with the upper level engineering folks. One of the projects is a large superconducting solenoid magnet for the MICE project. MICE stands for Muon Ionization Cooling Experiment. Mice or from the Cern courier MICE . This is a big collaboration project between several labs from all over the world. The tiny part I play in the machine is with the coupling coils. These are large doughnut shaped magnets wound with superconducting wire. These large magnets like the one below,
get inserted into effectively what is a big thermos bottle. We have a fancy name for it which is a cryostat. Then the entire mass gets cooled down to a few degrees above absolute zero (4.2 Kelvin) with liquid helium to make the wire a superconductor. Superconductor That's Jim in the picture posing for scale and preparing the quench protection loops and their landing pads.
 The coil in the picture above fits in the center of this assembly inside the larger squarish box (cryostat).

There is a tricky operation coming up in the next few days where we pull a vacuum on the inside of the coil and pot the space between the windings and the outer housing with a thermally cured epoxy. You only get one chance at it so we have to make sure it going to work. There is a huge amount of work already invested by our teammates at this so we have to be cautious. Not like making a surfboard or art sculpture. Dozens of people all over the world have spent hours and hours on this one coil. Nothing like a stress sandwich with your magnum sized energy drink.

One of the other projects I am working on is called the Neutralized drift compression experiment. Here is a link to a slideshow Jeff, one of our engineers put together of the boys and me having some fun putting stuff together. NDCX2 Pics and Vids This one is a real running project. We are currently commissioning it and configuring all the operating parameters for full scale operations. Our team has been working on this project for the last two years. Lots of different systems and parts that all have to work together to deliver a bunch of lithium ions on a gold foil target with very precise timing. Below is a WARP simulation of the accelerator in action.
 At the heart of the NDCX2 machine is guess what? More magnets of course.  These are little baby ones. Only a couple of Tesla peak field strength. They consume a megawatt of electricity in a millisecond to produce that field. We do lots of things with magnets of all flavors as you will see as this little yarn meanders along.

Ok, off to the studio to do a little work at home while I still have a little energy left. 

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