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Discovering the God Particle




Pumping slot shield




CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, is one of the World’s largest and most respected centers for scientific research. Its business is finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At its heart is the Large Hadron Collider, buried deep beneath the mountains on the French-Swiss border, a 27km long particle accelerator in which trillions of protons race around 11,245 times a second, travelling at 99.9999991% the speed of light.

The pumping slot shields produced by Brandauer form part of the so-called beam screens inside the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator. They act as electron shields, protecting the LHC’s 9300 superconducting dipole magnets from electron cloud effects inside the ultra-high vacuum beam tubes. Without the pumping slot shields, it would not be possible to maintain these magnets at their operating temperature of minus 271 Celsius.

The 2800 pressure relief springs manufactured by Brandauer are essential to protect the 27 kms of LHC cryostats from over pressure.

They have two main functions; to ensure that the flanges on the vacuum vessels remain tightly in place during LHC operations and that the 1metre diameter cryostat vessels cannot exceed their internal design pressure in case of an accidental release of helium from the superconducting magnets.

Brandauer and CERN engineers worked together to design and test the springs before the four different sizes were manufactured. The majority of springs were installed in 2012, with the remainder put in place during the machine’s shutdown in 2013.

Further reading

Brandauer help discover the god particle

Brandauer, a manufacturer of complex components had a small yet very significant part to play in the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle.

Learn More

“Brandauer is one of very few high-precision presswork specialists in Europe with the necessary skills and technical capability to produce components that meet CERN’s extremely demanding specifications. The Company’s contribution to the Large Hadron Collider demonstrates that small and medium-sized specialists such as Brandauer continue to offer world-class design and engineering services at the highest level”

Paul Cruikshank
Senior Mechanical Engineer, CERN

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