Safe transmission of loads between the CFRP structures and the metal parts it supports at the ends of the tube also called for special reinforcements. Kirchberger notes the adhesive could degrade over time from exposure to high radiation levels, so CERN chose Teufelberger’s T-IGEL® system to connect the aluminum flanges and the CFRP pipe structure.
Some of CERN’s standards were a challenge to meet. “CERN really had an eye on the laminate quality. They were looking for a very low corrosion level,” Kirchberger explains. “Getting the corrosion levels down to below one percent was one of the biggest challenges.” Kirchberger also says CERN had very tight geometry specifications. The structure was manufactured using wet filament winding. While the steel mandrel proved useful for the inner dimensions, having no tooling for the outside surface made it problematic to manufacture the structure to meet the geometric requirements. Ultimately, Teufelberger succeeded in meeting CERN’s stringent requirements.
Experiments with the LHC resumed in April. Now, according to CERN, the energy of particle collisions will be 62.5 percent higher per beam. Higher energy allows physicists to search for new particles and to check previously untestable theories. Among other improvements, the time separating the bunches of protons in the accelerator has been halved to 25 nanoseconds, meaning the LHC can deliver more particles per unit time, as well as more collisions, to the experiments. Kirchberger is excited that CFRP plays a small, but important role in the groundbreaking scientific research done at CERN.