Civil construction continues 10 weeks ahead of schedule; cryogenic cold box delivered in August

FRIB civil construction continues to progress 10 weeks ahead of schedule, with an increasing number of technical installations.

Most notably was the installation of the 100,000-pound vertical cryogenic cold box on 10 August. The cold box was built in Oklahoma and took 10 days to travel the roughly 900 miles to Michigan, as it could only travel during daylight due to Department of Transportation rules. In order to avoid transportation challenges around Chicago, the cold box ultimately arrived in Michigan by way of the Lake Michigan car ferry, SS Badger.

Due to the massive size of the cold box, it was delivered to FRIB with the assistance of a police escort. The cold box will be used to cool helium to an extremely low temperature. The helium will then be used to cool cryomodules in the linac tunnel.

Cryomodules contain superconducting radio frequency (SRF) cavities and must operate at temperatures hundreds of degrees below zero to make the cavities superconducting. When the cavities are superconducting, there is no resistance, meaning there is virtually no heat loss with an electrical current. This will make FRIB more energy-efficient as it accelerates rare isotope beams.

Two 800 kilowatt generators have also been installed, which can be switched on in under ten seconds, should a power outage ever occur at FRIB.

Concrete placement is on the verge of completion, with 40,558 yards representing 94 percent of the concrete required for the project.