Final plastic extrusion for NOvA far detector produced

The last shipment of Extrutech Plastics extrusion panels for the NOvA far detector is on its way to Minnesota. From left: Jim Fagan (Fermilab), Chuck Grozis (Extrutech) and Greg Sheehy (Extrutech). Photo courtesy of Chuck Grozis, Extrutech Plastics

Last week, Extrutech Plastics, based in Manitowoc, Wisc., produced the final plastic extrusion panel for the NOvA far detector in northern Minnesota. Together, these 21,504 PVC extrusions will hold 2.7 million gallons of the liquid scintillator needed to detect neutrino interactions.

Each 15.5-meter-long PVC panel (see this photo) is made up of 16 hollow tubes arranged side by side. Each tube, made of white, highly reflective plastic, is filled with the liquid scintillator. When a neutrino strikes an atom in the scintillator, the liquid will release a burst of photons, and photodetectors will sense the resulting pattern of lighted tubes. Scientists can then determine the kind of neutrino that caused the interaction. Each tube measures 3.9 cm wide, 6.0 cm deep and 15.5 m long.

Now that the final extrusion panel is complete, members of the NOvA collaboration can finish assembling the modules for installation in the detector.

View a 7-minute video on the assembly of the NOvA far detector.