Barber-Nichols Delivers Liquid Argon Pumps In Support Of ProtoDUNE

Barber-Nichols Inc. (BNI) is pleased to be delivering four liquid argon pumps to CERN in support of ProtoDUNE, the prototype liquid argon detector that will inform the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) construction and operation. Despite being some of the most abundant particles in the universe, neutrinos are extremely difficult to observe and DUNE seeks to help us better understand the nature of matter and move us closer to realizing Einstein’s unified theory of matter and energy. Approximately 1000 researchers from 160 institutions in 30 countries are collaborating on DUNE, the neutrino production facility will be located at Fermilab near Batavia, Illinois and the detector facility will be located 800 miles (1300 kilometers) away and 4900 feet  (1500 meters) underground at the Stanford Underground Research Facility near Lead, South Dakota.

liquid argon pump

BNI’s pump, pictured above, circulates liquid argon through the refrigeration unit to maintain a constant -300º Fahrenheit  (88 Kelvin) temperature and through the filtration system to maintain purity. The pump has an extended impeller shaft and thermal isolation baffles to minimize heat transfer into the liquid argon and is hermetically sealed via. magnetic coupling to prevent contamination.

Barber-Nichols specializes in the design and production of custom turbomachinery including compressors, fans, pumps, turbines, generators, motors, and controllers for aerospace, cryogenic, defense, and energy applications. In addition to custom hardware, BNI also provides engineering consulting and contract manufacturing services.