Accelerator Division Fabrication Specialist Larry Bradley came to Fermilab in 1979. He started working in what was then called the Magnet Facility. Larry joined the Beams Division (now AD) in 1981, where he worked as a technician for several years. His work included leak checking and delivery of cryogenic assemblies. Over time, Larry’s job included visiting plating companies to oversee the work they did for the lab. This led to Larry becoming an expert on plating, coating and other types of surface processing for accelerator components. While Larry took a number of courses such as chemistry and blueprint reading, most of Larry’s expertise came from working with Fermilab engineers and outside vendors over many years.
There are a number of reasons for taking the extra step of processing the material’s surface. When is plating a better choice than painting? What is the best surface process for a moving surface that needs to have low friction? Does the surface need protection from environmental factors? When is black oxide a better choice over zinc chromate? Larry’s vast knowledge of different types of surface processing ensured that the best process would be selected for the design and the most qualified vendor was selected for the job.
As one example, Larry was instrumental in identifying and working with a local surface treatment vendor to process the NuMI focusing horn inner conductors for electroless nickel coating. This coating was required to prevent erosion of the aluminum base material from the effects of the aggressive cooling water spray and served to encapsulate the conductor material. This led to enhanced fatigue life in the harsh environment present in the Neutrino Target Halls. The horn inner conductor is a critical component of the focusing horn and is a large, precision and expensive part. The handling and processing of this component represented challenges in many areas, including several chemical cleaning and processing steps and involved a significant volume of processing chemicals. Larry’s experience in surface treatments and his vendor base knowledge resulted in successful processing of all NuMI horn inner conductors, resulting in well over a decade of reliable horn inner conductor operation for each horn.
Larry has been eager to share his knowledge, influencing many engineers and scientists through the years. His enthusiasm and quick response to help will be missed, as will his charisma and spontaneous Frank Sinatra croonings. A retirement lunch honoring Larry’s service will take place on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 11:30 a.m. at the Stonebridge Country Club in Aurora. Please contact Ruth Becker at x4736 by Jan. 18 for reservations or for more information.