University of Wisconsin-Madison Physical Sciences Lab

Archive for July, 2013

The Askaryan Radio Array Drill Season 2013

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

For PSL engineers, designing equipment for use in extreme frigid temperatures involves meticulous consideration to the function and design of the equipment.  When the South Pole is the destination, other details become very complicated, for example the size when shipping. Everything that is sent to the Pole must be able to fit on a military cargo plane. Sending crates and boxes requires a lot of work, but items as large as the Askaryan Radio Array hose reel requires extensive planning and thought.

Instrument Technician Darrell Hamilton explained the complications involved with the ARA hose reel. Two additional size challenges were calculated when designing the reel: shipment and final assembly in the large equipment bay at the South Pole. Jeff Cherwinka was the lead engineer for the hose reel and he designed it with both space requirements in mind. For the reel to fit on the cargo plane it had to fold in on itself. Once it arrived at the South Pole, the hose reel had to undergo final assembly and be raised into an upright position. When raised into its upright position the hose reel now had to be able to pass through the bay door, however the reel gave a false appearance of not clearing the large maintenance bay door. Despite the team’s prior calculations on clearance, measurements were taken several times before the move took place. As Darrell said, “The clearance was minimal to come out of the building.”

Pretesting of the drill and hose reel took place close to the station before moving to remote areas and testing of the new drill went very well.  Darrell explains that the drill is a new technology that has not been used previously. He explains, “The method that was employed for dry hole drill was to have two hoses descend in tandem. One hose supplied the hot water for melting ice, while the second hose returned the melt water to the surface to be reheated and reused.”

Not only were the pretests successful, but the entire drilling season. Each of the holes were drilled to a depth of 200 meters and met all requirements. A total of thirteen holes were drilled at two stations located two kilometers apart, each station contains six holes that contain data acquisition electronics.

If future funding allows, the entire ARA project will contain 37 stations and will cover an area of 100 square kilometers, 100 times the size of the IceCube project.

New PSL Newsletter for Summer 2013

Friday, July 12th, 2013

  • Upgrades at CERN

    The Large Hadron Collider is shutdown for two years for maintenance and upgrades. PSL engineer Dan Wenman traveled to Geneva for some maintenance work, and will be returning soon to perform the upgrades.

  • Innovative Drill, Instrumentation and Hose Reel for ARA

    With all the success behind the IceCube drill, it might seem simple to use the same design and build a similar but smaller hot water drill for ARA.

  • Making Parts Work in Harmony

    Sitting across the table and listening to Ron Smith discuss his years of work, you see someone who really appreciates the coincidences that brought him to PSL.

  • From a Galaxy Far Far Away

    The IceCube neutrino telescope detected two high power neutrinos that researchers believe are from further out in our galaxy, or are from another galaxy.

  • Safety Manager Bruce Neumann

    After nearly twelve years of work at the Kegonsa Research Campus, Bruce Neumann is leaving us for new opportunities.

  • Bring Your Child To Work Day

    Dan Wenman’s daughter, Emma was here to see what it is like to be a PSL engineer.

Ron Smith Retires

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

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Instrument Maker Specialist Ron Smith has retired from PSL. Ron has been an integral part of our Machine Shop, working on projects from monochromators, to the Large Hadron Collider’s Compact Muon Solenoid, to the ICECUBE project. Our newsletter has a feature about Ron and his work here at PSL. Ron will be greatly missed by everyone at PSL.