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Delivery of 4.000 tonnes of iron for CBM beam dump

After two weeks, almost 700 plates are stored on the southern FAIR construction site. Quelle: Markus Bernards for FAIR


Two weeks ago, the first of 900 iron plates weighing a total of 4,000 tonnes started making their way from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to FAIR and GSI in Darmstadt. The plates will be used in one of the large experiments being set up at the new particle accelerator facility FAIR, where they will slow down and absorb the part of the ion beam that cannot be used for the experiments. The transportation process involves some 11 to 14 semi-trailer trucks travelling every working day for three weeks, making an expected total of 161 journeys. The iron plates will be stored on the southern section of the FAIR construction site until they can be installed in the CMB detector complex.


For 30 years, the former Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (today KIT) analysed strange showers of cosmic rays that hit the earth. The centrepiece of the facility was a so-called hadronic calorimeter, consisting of detectors located between layers of iron plates of varying thickness. Over the past few years, the Karlsruhe KASCADE facility has been dismantled and the leftover iron plates can now be used by FAIR. In the future, they will function as “beam dumps” (devices designed to absorb energy within an energetic beam) for the CBM (compressed baryonic matter) experiment, with some plates being incorporated into the CBM detector complex. As atomic nuclei are very small in comparison to their electron shell, comparatively few ion beam nuclei end up colliding with the so-called “target” nuclei, which is the point at which they break apart and pass through the CBM detector to reveal information about their composition. A large proportion of the ions simply fly through the target at the speed of light, and are then caught and absorbed by a beam dump located behind the CBM detector.


The plates are 160 x 200 cm long; twelve, 24 or 36 cm thick; and weigh either three, six or nine tonnes. Their total weight of 4,000 tonnes is equal to more than half the iron used to build the Eiffel Tower.

(c) 2018 FAIR
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