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Winter 2002

All-copper Accelerator

Eight one-meter-long copper sections comprise the cryogenic linear accelerator at Los Alamos National Laboratory Eight one-meter-long copper sections comprise the cryogenic linear accelerator at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The body is brazed out of oxygen-free, highconductivity copper, while the flanges are made of Glidcop, a unique copper strengthened by dispersion with alumina. Each section weighs about 600 pounds.

Special coppers were used to construct a powerful linear accelerator (linac) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The special coppers passed a series of demanding tests - electrical, physical and mechanical - and showed excellent workability.

The linac is the hardware aspect of the Advanced Accelerator Applications Program. The cryogenic apparatus is used to produce tritium as an alternative to the usual means, i.e., as a by-product of nuclear reactors.

Mostly oxygen-free, high-conductivity (OFHC) copper was used for the proton linac, which is the third-most-powerful in the world. Its output power is 670 kilowatts and its output energy is 6.7 million electron volts, which corresponds to a proton velocity of about 12% of the speed of light. In addition to the all-copper linac, the New Mexico lab also fabricated accelerators from copperplated aluminum and copperplated steel.

Hussey Copper and Hitachi of Japan through Cambridge- Lee Industries supplied the OFHC copper, C10100. The end flanges on the elements are made of “Glidcop”, C15715, a copper strengthened by dispersion with alumina, supplied only by OMG Americas, formerly SCM Metals.

To make sure that the special coppers chosen would meet its demanding needs, the lab had earlier subjected them to extensive testing, including: tensile strength, hydrogen embrittlement, gas permeation, helium leak, residual resistivity ratio and ambient and cryogenic temperature cavity Q (cavity quality factor). They were also subjected to six simulated braze cycles at 1,850º F in a hydrogen atmosphere. The OFHC coppers passed all these tough tests.

Cambridge-Lee: 713-984-0222
Hussey Copper: 800-733-8866
OMG Americas: 919-544-8090

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