Culprit found for latest Large Hadron Collider leaks

The liquid helium leaks that have pushed back the restart of the Large Hadron Collider are thought to have been caused by a fault in flexible hosing.

The latest delays to the restart of the Large Hadron Collider are likely to have been caused by a faulty hose, according to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Liquid helium leaks in the world's largest particle accelerator were probably caused by a problem with a flexible hose in the liquid helium transport circuits, the organization said an article in its official bulletin, published on Friday.

Images: Where particles, physics theories collide
Click image for gallery on the Large Hadron Collider. Maximilien Brice for CERN

The hose vented helium into the vacuum insulation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CERN officials suspect.

CERN has revised the restart date of the LHC several times since the experiment was put out of action in September by an electrical fault. According to the latest estimates, the particle acceleration experiment is unlikely to restart before mid-November.

The vacuum leaks occurred in sectors 8-1 and 2-3 in July. At the time, CERN said that the sectors would have to be warmed from 80 Kelvin (-315.67 degrees Fahrenheit) to room temperature to effect repairs.

On Monday, the organization changed that plan, saying the vacuum subsectors at the end of the sectors will be warmed to room temperature to locate the leaks and repair them. The rest of those sectors will "float" in temperature from 80K.

Both leaks happened at the place where the final magnet of those sectors, which is known as Q7, joins the electrical feedbox, known as the DFBA.

The LHC experiment is designed to enable research into fundamental questions about nuclear particles, such as the existence of dark matter.

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.

 

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