Cryogenic Performance of a Superfluid Helium Relief Valve for the LHC Superconducting Magnets
The high-field superconducting magnets of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project at CERN will operate below 1.9 K in static baths of pressurized helium II. In case of resistive transition (“quench”), the resulting pressure rise in the cryostats must be limited to below their 2 MPa design pressure. This is achieved by discharging helium at high flow-rates into a cold recovery header, normally maintained at 20 K. For this purpose, we have designed, built and tested a cryogenic quench relief valve with a nominal diameter of 50 mm and an opening time of below 0.1 s. The valve, which can be opened on an external trigger, also acts as a relief device actuated by the upstream pressure when it exceeds 0.4 MPa. In normal operation, the closed poppet must be helium-tight, for hydraulic and thermal separation of the magnet baths from the recovery header. Following mechanical qualification tests under vacuum, we have mounted the relief valve in a dedicated cryogenic measuring bench, in order to perform precision thermal measurements with pressurized helium II.
KeywordsConvection Platinum Helium Refrigeration
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