CCD4-2013: The 4th Cryogenic Cluster Day

Cryogenic Cluster Day CCD4

Great Speakers, a Bustling Exhibition, Excellent Lab Visits and Well-Prepared Posters at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Lab near Oxford in pretty decent English autumn weather - what’s not to like ? The Fourth Cryogenic Cluster Day on September 25th was well attended and packed lots in for an audience mainly from the UK plus visitors from Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland & USA.


From his special vantage point, John Raquet, owner of the Spiritus Consulting and gasworld & CryoGas magazines, presented a formidable analysis of the industrial gas business, with a special update on helium supplies from the US - forewarning of the Government shutdown there. Phil Pritchard, Founder of Deep Sea Recovery and Inventor of Controlled Buoyancy Systems, then took the audience through the fascinating story of his business, harnessing the buoyancy from vaporising liquid cryogens - with an intriguing animation illustrating a ‘subsea forklift’ assembling an underwater pipeline.

In the afternoon session chaired by David Cooke from Thames Cryogenics, Paul Maynard gave a memorable talk on the lethal dangers of asphyxiation in depleted oxygen conditions, highlighting the need for procedures, training and appropriate equipment - his firm Quantum being able to supply monitoring and alarms. Matthew Lewis, Commercial Manager at (appropriately) Proactive Gas Safety took part in a competition to illustrate the dangers, and won the prize of an Apple i-Pad 2 ! Joachim Roediger then gave a very thorough review of the characteristics required of cryogenic valves, with illustrations of the range of highly engineered products available from Stöhr Armaturen in Germany.

James Macnaghten’s talk on the Pumped Heat Electricity Storage [PHES] Systems being developed by his Isentropic company, involving argon gas and temperatures as low as -160˚C, went on to describe the extremely interesting concept of exploiting the low temperature side of PHES in [MgB2] superconducting electric power equipment like substations. Cluster Day finished with another talk involving Energy Storage, this time exploiting Liquid Air. Chairman of Dearman Engine Company Jeremy North gave an extremely enjoyable presentation, illustrating plans for the new Centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage in Birmingham, and the ‘Cool-E’ collaboration to put a Liquid Air Engine in a Truck. Presentations from Cluster Day can be found at :

Lab Visits

Cluster Day Delegates had the option of a short lab visit. A small, select number had pre-booked for a special tour of the Mouse Facility run by Martin Fray at MRC-Harwell, and spoke very highly of the visit - indeed two delegates have already asked if they can take this option next year if MRC can still provide it ! Other more substantial parties made visits to the Diamond Light Source hosted by Adam Rankin, to RAL Space guided by Bryan Shaughnessy, and the MICE Hall [not Mouse, but Muon Ionisation Cooling Experiment] and one of the Superconducting Magnets under development for MICE, led by Steve Watson and Tom Bradshaw.


Lunch was provided in the Exhibition Area, hosted by the following exhibitors :


A new feature of this year’s Cluster Day was the Poster Session in the Diamond Atrium, with the following participants :

CERN Precise Thermometry for Next Gen LHC Magnets, V Datskov et al
Cambridge University High Mag Fields from Bulk Superconductors at LT, John Durrell et al
EADS Astrium Development of Mechanical Cryocooler System, Shane Akbar et al
Manchester University Helium-4 Under Rotation in mK Regime, Matthew Fear et al
STFC Cryogenics ESA 2K Cooler, Compressor-Driven Cryo for Space, Geoff Gilley et al
STFC ISIS Closed Cycle Refrigerator Systems, Richard Down et al
STFC Materials Dynamic Mech Analysis & Thermal Contraction, Simon Canfer et al
STFC Technology Cryomodule for SRF Crab Cavities for HiLumi-LHC, Erin Nolan et al
Southampton University Short Circuit Test on HTS Synchronous Generator, W Bailey et al
Stratox Cooling Technology with Efficiency Gains v LN2, James Stenhouse

The Winning Poster Award was presented by Session Chair Dr Wendell Bailey from Southampton University to Dr Shane Akbar from EADS Astrium. Congratulations to Shane !


Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000