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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: 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;-)

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  • (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.