Spotted: Something cooking in SLAC’s Building 26

by Linda Hubbard on August 15, 2011

Tucked away in a corner of SLAC’s Building 26, across from the big vacuum chamber, are two restaurant-grade mixers.

Aside from its lack of ambiance, the Heavy Fabrication Building does not seem the sort of location where one finds appliances commonly associated with the food industry. The usual ingredients for concoctions whipped up here are metal, metal, and more metal – sheet, wire, or finely formed parts – perhaps seasoned with a splash of chemicals and a soupçon of silicon. According to Jeff Garcia, acting supervisor of the structural fabrication and installation group, the mixers are just as important for baking up an accelerator magnet as for creating any soufflé.

“They’re used to mix epoxy,” Garcia explained, which, in turn, impregnates the coils of the magnet to provide structural stability, insulate the coils, and fill voids within the coil windings – all important concerns when making a magnet that will be subjected extreme forces. The epoxy itself is subjected to  vacuum in the nearby chamber, the low-pressure environment enabling gasses within the mixture to bubble out, then “baked” at up to 130° C to harden, further strengthening and protecting the magnet.

Lately the chefs at the Heavy Fabrication building have been working on a batch of kicker magnets intended for End Station A, and the development of the End Station Test Beam.

Bon appétit!

From SLAC Today


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