Big Bang machine had suffered glitch within hours of its launch

September 19th, 2008 - 3:43 pm ICT by ANI  

London, September 19 (ANI): The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the worlds largest particle collider, malfunctioned within hours of its launch, but its operator did not report the problem for a week.

According to a report in the Telegraph, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has revealed for the first time that a 30-tonne transformer that cools part of the collider broke, forcing physicists to stop using the particle collider just a day after starting it up last week.

When the transformer malfunctioned, operating temperatures rose from below 2 Kelvin to 4.5 Kelvin, warmer than the normal operating temperature.

The failure of the power transformer on one of the surface points of the LHC switched off the main compressors of the cryogenics for two sectors of the machine.

The transformer, weighing 30 tonnes and with a rating of 12 MVA , was exchanged over the weekend.

During this process, the cryogenics system was put into a standby mode with the two sectors kept at around 4.5 K .

Since the beginning of the week, the cryogenics team has been busy re-cooling the magnets and preparing for operation with beam.

This is arguably the largest machine built by humankind, it is incredibly complex, and involved components of varying ages and origins, so Im not at all surprised to hear of some glitches, said Steve Giddings, physics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Its a real challenge requiring incredible talent, brain power and coordination to get it running, he added.

The Large Hadron Collider is designed to collide protons in the beams so that they shatter and reveal more about the makeup of matter and the universe. It took nearly 20 years to complete at is one of the costliest and most complex scientific experiments ever attempted.

The 10th of September switch-on saw the testing of a clockwise beam, and then an anticlockwise beam, with the first collisions not expected for a number of weeks.

CERN have now replaced the faulty transformer and the ring in the 17-mile circular tunnel under the Swiss-French border.

It has also now been cooled back down to near zero on the Kelvin scale (minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit) - the most efficient operating temperature.

With the transformer replaced and the equipment rechilled, scientists expect to prepare experiments in the coming weeks. (ANI)

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