The big move

Chris Polly

Chris Polly, project manager of the Muon g-2 project, wrote this column.

Many of you have probably seen the spectacular pictures coming from Brookhaven Lab showing the effort going into moving a 50-foot diameter electromagnet to Fermilab for the Muon g-2 experiment. Although pictures may be worth a thousand words, they are still are not enough to convey the enormous role that Fermilab’s Particle Physics Division has played in bringing this transport to fruition.

The concept of moving to Fermilab the g-2 equipment previously used at Brookhaven and coupling it to the post-Tevatron accelerator complex started several years ago. The immediate difficulty became how to move the large, delicate superconducting coils. Transport by water was clearly preferred, but the closest waterway to Fermilab still left a 30-mile jaunt through the busy Chicago suburbs.

With much assistance from Fermilab’s Procurement Department, PPD scientists and engineers commissioned feasibility studies from industry leaders to determine if the massive coils should travel by air or land to and from the barge. Led by Hogan Nguyen and Del Allspach, the team developed engineering specifications and investigated regulations. It soon became clear that ground transport was the only solution.

After a lengthy technical evaluation, the transport contract was awarded to Emmert International. The coordination effort has since expanded to include literally several hundred stakeholders, including two national laboratories, transportation authorities, state police, local law enforcement, community leaders and the media.

In parallel with the planning, many calculations have been performed to understand forces during both the marine and ground transport. Most recently, a full quality assurance plan to mitigate risk during transport was developed and implemented. The goal is to prevent the ring from flexing by more than one eighth of an inch and potentially damaging the superconducting coils during the transport. Strain gauges, accelerometers, slope meters and GPS were installed with a satellite uplink that will allow for continuous monitoring of conditions throughout the transport. Nitrogen bottles attached to the shipping fixture will continuously provide over-pressure to prevent air and moisture from entering the vacuum vessels located inside the magnet coils. You now can follow the move of the ring online.

None of this could have been possible were it not for the dedication of our very talented Fermilab staff. Thank you for all your hard work.

Del Allspach, PPD, shakes hands with Brookhaven scientist Bill Morse just before the Muon g-2 ring departs Long Island, NY.
The Muon g-2 ring departs Long Island on a barge headed down the east coast.