Cryogenic Cluster Day

Rutherford Appleton hosted its 7th Cryogenic Cluster Day on September 20th

The event, first held in 2010 and opened by Andrew Taylor, is comprised of seminar sessions, a table-top trade show, lab visits and posters, and was devised as a forum for bringing the cryogenic community together in a location arguably at the heart of the world’s most powerful concentration of cryogenic expertise which is Oxfordshire.

Previous Cluster Days have seen a series of brilliant speakers, and CCD7 was no exception.  Over 120 delegates registered for this year’s event - some travelling from Austria, Germany, Poland and Switzerland - with the first talk, from Martin Wilson, revealing how ‘Rutherford Cable’ was developed over 40 years ago, in efforts to harness filamentary superconductors in particle accelerators. In a later talk, Jerome Fleiter from CERN identified 7,500 km of Rutherford Cable in use on the LHC!

In the second talk of the day, Peter Iredale from Honeywell Hymatic discussed their commercialisation of the small-scale ‘Oxford Cooler’ technology developed at RAL and being transferred to them under licence.  Peter’s talk was supplemented by an entry in the poster session, and a visit for some delegates to the cryocooler lab, led by Geoff Gilley.

Cryogenics Scores Goals!

Before breaking from the Pickavance Theatre for coffee and the poster session in the Diamond Atrium, Assistant Professor Agnieszka Piotrowska from the Wroclaw University of Science and Technology  -  who is also the manager of R&D in Creator Cryogenics  -  gave a presentation on Cryotherapy.  This application of cryogenics is apparently growing fast in sectors such as sport and health spas.  The fact that last year’s Premier League-winning Leicester football team use cryotherapy to aid recovery of their players was not lost on Agnieszka’s audience.

Diveena Danabalan from Durham University won last year’s Poster Prize, and returned this year to provide an update on the helium prospecting system she revealed in 2015, and which was behind the recent substantial discoveries of helium in Tanzania.  Birmingham and Cambridge Universities, ISIS and the Central Laser Facility also entered the competition, but this year’s winner was Tristan Valenzuela from RAL Space with a poster, recently presented in Barcelona, on his work in laser cooling for quantum application.

The Exhibition

Seventeen exhibitors filled the Visitor Centre, which was also the venue for lunch.  They ranged from local Oxfordshire firms like Carlton Thermal Systems and Mach-Tech, other Cluster Members like Industrial Electronic Wiring, Proactive Gas Safety, Statebourne and Wessington Cryogenics, and RUAG Space, one of the International Members of the Cluster.  A prototype of the Dearman Engine, powered by liquid nitrogen [and the subject of technical support from RAL] was on display, and made subject of a short presentation by tom Bradshaw.

Two parties of visitors were taken on tours, one to the cryocooler lab, and one, led by Sam Tustain to the new RAL Space R100 building - which had been the venue for last year’s poster session, when it was yet to be populated with equipment.

Cluster Day was brought to a close with the talk from Jerome Fleiter, followed by Professor Graham Machin from NPL and Professor Martin Freer from the University of Birmingham.  Professor Machin is leading the project on Implementation of the new kelvin, the new digitally based standard for temperature.  ‘Doing Cold Smarter’ was published by the University of Birmingham, and Professor Freer illustrated challenges ahead  -  30% loss of food between harvest & table due to shortcomings in the associated Cold Chain [an application which the Dearman Engine is designed to address], also the projection that energy demands for cooling will in future exceed those for heating, a function of growing population, urbanisation and standard of living, which in turn drive demand for food (and the cold chain) air conditioning and data (needing more cooling).

There is an archive of presentations & posters from Cluster Days at http://www.stfc.ac.uk/ccd7, with links to the exhibitors. STFC support has been vital for Cluster Day, with over 30 people contributing in some way, from Reception to the Webteam, Media Services and this year the Tarmac Team too. Thanks go to everyone involved, perhaps especially to Vicky Stowell in Public Engagement!