Leadership

Use of Cryogens at Fermi Lab Could Pose Rescue Problems

Issue 5 and Volume 135.

Use of Cryogens at Fermi Lab Could Pose Rescue Problems Fire departments usually make rescue efforts while exposed to high temperatures, smoke and gases. Fire fighters at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Batavia, Ill., are confronted with possible rescue situations in extremely cold temperatures because of the presence of thousands of gallons of supercold liquids, called cryogens, as cold as 450 degrees below zero. Fermilab, as it is called, is engaged in high-energy physics research. The main atomic-particle accelerator is in a circular tunnel 20 feet underground and 4 miles in circumference. Fermilab photos. Like a giant slingshot, the Fermilab accelerator swings special tiny particles faster and faster around the ring—up to 50,000 times each second. Magnets are used to pull the particles into a circular path and accelerate them. When maximum energy builds up, the particles are thrown out of the ring and along the connecting straight track.…

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