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How 3D Printing Is Helping CERN Scientists Upgrade the World's Largest Machine


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The accelerator is a 27-kilometer-long ring in which particles such as protons and electrons are projected against one another at high speeds.

A researcher turned to three-dimensional (3D) printing to produce replacement parts for the Large Hadron Collider.

Credit: CERN

Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have been working for the past five years to upgrade to the large hadron collider (LHC), the largest and most powerful particle accelerator ever built.

The LHC is a 27-kilometer-long ring that can recreate the conditions from one hundredth of a billionth of a second after the Big Bang, which scientists can observe via high-precision detectors.

To improve the detectors' accuracy, the scientists turned to three-dimensional (3D) printing, which they used to make parts for the detectors' cooling system.

CERN used printers from South Carolina-based 3D Systems  to produce light titanium bars that are 1.6 mm wide and 0.1 mm thick.

The bars must be wafer-thin because as little material as possible should separate the coolant and the surface to be cooled for maximum effectiveness, and 3D printing can accomplish this with less money and manpower.

From ZDNet
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