Massive Electromagnet To Be Moved From New York To Chicago
June 17, 2013

Massive Electromagnet To Be Moved From New York To Chicago

Lawrence LeBlond for - Your Universe Online

A super-massive electromagnet scheduled to be moved from Long Island to Chicago beginning this past weekend has been postponed due to inclement weather.

The 50-foot-wide, circular electromagnet will be carefully moved in one piece from its current home in New York to the US Department of Energy´s (DOE) Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Illinois, where it will become part of the Muon g-2 experiment. The 3,200-mile move by land and sea is now rescheduled to begin on June 22.

The large magnet was constructed at the DOE´s Brookhaven National Laboratory in NY in the 1990s, where it was used to study the properties of muons (subatomic particles that live only 2.2 millionths of a second). The magnet will conduct similar experiments at its new home in Chicago.

The electromagnet is constructed of aluminum and steel and contains superconducting coils within its ring. The structure cannot be disassembled and must be moved in one piece. However, the move will be a long, slow process, as twisting of the frame even a few millimeters could damage the coils beyond repair.

While it may make more sense to just build a new one in Chicago, the cost of moving the existing electromagnet is 10 times less expensive. The magnet will remain inert, exhibiting no magnetic properties during transport.

The trip will begin by carefully lifting the ring from its current home, transporting it from Brookhaven on Saturday, June 22. The magnet will be moved down the William Floyd Parkway to the Smith Point Marina on Sunday, June 23 and into Monday morning, June 24.

Once the magnet is loaded onto a barge, it will be carried down the East Coast, around the southern tip of Florida and through the Gulf of Mexico toward Mobile, Alabama. Once the barge enters Mobile Bay, it will move up through a series of rivers on its way to Illinois. The magnet is scheduled to arrive in Lemont, a suburb of Chicago, in late July, where it will be loaded onto a specially built truck for the ride to its new home at Fermilab. The trip from Lemont to Fermilab is expected to take two nights.

Members of the public can follow the ring´s journey at a new website launched especially for the trip. The page includes a GPS-powered map tracing the path of the ring in real time and a blog that will be updated with images, videos and news about the move. Public events are also scheduled to celebrate the ring´s arrival in Chicago.

“It´s not often our neighbors get a ringside seat for something this complex and interesting,” said Chris Polly, Muon g-2 project manager for Fermilab. “We´re excited to get this move underway.”

Fermilab is America´s premier national laboratory for research of particle physics. It is an arm of the DOE´s Office of Science and is operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance, LLC.