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posted by CoolHand on Wednesday June 14, @07:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the we'd-use-a-dyson dept.

Everyone has heard of the Large Hadron Collider, but how many have stopped to think how it gets cleaned? Or even suspected it required cleaning? Sarah Charley tells us how it works:

The inside of the beam pipes need to be spotless, which is why the LHC is thoroughly cleaned every year before it ramps up its summer operations program.

It's not dirt or grime that clogs the LHC. Rather, it's microscopic air molecules.

"The LHC is incredibly cold and under a strong vacuum, but it's not a perfect vacuum," says LHC accelerator physicist Giovanni Rumolo. "There's a tiny number of simple atmospheric gas molecules and even more frozen to the beam pipes' walls."

Protons racing around the LHC crash into these floating air molecules, detaching their electrons. The liberated electrons jump after the positively charged protons but quickly crash into the beam pipe walls, depositing heat and liberating even more electrons from the frozen gas molecules there.

This process quickly turns into an avalanche, which weakens the vacuum, heats up the cryogenic system, disrupts the proton beam and dramatically lowers the efficiency and reliability of the LHC.


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by krishnoid on Wednesday June 14, @07:42PM (5 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Wednesday June 14, @07:42PM (#525627)

    This process quickly turns into an avalanche, which weakens the vacuum, heats up the cryogenic system, disrupts the proton beam

    That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip -- thanks, charon.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by bob_super on Wednesday June 14, @07:52PM (2 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday June 14, @07:52PM (#525633)

      Remember kids: Always double-check for avalanches before firing your Proton Torpedoes.

      • (Score: 2) by rts008 on Wednesday June 14, @08:15PM (1 child)

        by rts008 (3001) on Wednesday June 14, @08:15PM (#525648)

        Good advice, at least until you get caught in an avalanche of proton torpedoes...then it's the beginning of a bad day! ;-)

        • (Score: 1) by Farmer Tim on Wednesday June 14, @10:15PM

          by Farmer Tim (6490) on Wednesday June 14, @10:15PM (#525695)
          The end of a bad day, too.
          --
          Caution: 90% probability the above is tongue in cheek.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, @08:40PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, @08:40PM (#525658)

      Wait. I'm unclear. Is this as bad as crossing the streams?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, @07:59PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, @07:59PM (#525636)

    You implement NAFTA, and it cleans it out, complete with Giant Sucking Sound(tm).

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, @08:33PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, @08:33PM (#525655)

    According to a reliable source (my father) in the olden days they used a ferret to clean the beam pipe;-)

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by bob_super on Wednesday June 14, @09:00PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday June 14, @09:00PM (#525663)

      "According to our collision curves, the quarks exhibit a new and exciting non-linear behavior around what we have decided to call the F-Droppings point"

    • (Score: 2) by inertnet on Wednesday June 14, @09:36PM

      by inertnet (4071) on Wednesday June 14, @09:36PM (#525683)

      Ah, they call rabbit holes beam pipes nowadays?

    • (Score: 2) by Rivenaleem on Thursday June 15, @10:09AM

      by Rivenaleem (3400) on Thursday June 15, @10:09AM (#525931)

      Sucked through a near perfect vacuum, yeah, I'm sure that would do the trick.

    • (Score: 0) by fakefuck39 on Friday June 16, @02:30AM

      by fakefuck39 (6620) on Friday June 16, @02:30AM (#526299)

      aah yeah. i love it when a ferret cleans my beam pipe.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, @01:03AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, @01:03AM (#525787)

    Take some iron (Fe), arrange in a wheel pattern, and you get a Fe wheel.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, @05:09AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, @05:09AM (#525872)

      No. No.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, @03:06PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, @03:06PM (#526044)

        I guess nobody gets the joke.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, @08:09PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, @08:09PM (#526187)

          You used the chemical symbol for iron, which suggests to me that your intended audience is people with a fair bit of chemical knowledge. For such an audience, it may be best to specify that the iron is in the +2 oxidation state; for a general audience, you can omit the mention of the oxidation state, and also omit the chemical symbol. The joke can also be told with a diagram:

          Thank you for trying to introduce a touch of humour into an otherwise sombre discussion.

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