LDX Vacuum Vessel Status

July 22, 1999

Vacuum Vessel Construction Continues…

On Thursday, July 22, we lifted the vacuum vessel up and attached the aluminum legs. Here are a series of pictures from throughout the day. We began by (not shown) attaching the primary crane to hooks on one side of the vacuum vessel, and a set of pulleys and chains to the other side, so that the weight was split between the crane and the set of chains. (The crane is only rated for up to 10 tons, and our vessel weighs around 10.5 tons.)
Here the vessel is first lifted off its wooden supports (above), and finally clears our heads (above right). After a long time of pulling chains through pulley/gear systems (which lift the vessel one inch for every eight or ten feet of chain pulled through), the vacuum vessel finally reached its target spot, ten feet from the ground, with the middle of the vessel at eye-level for observers on the mid-level deck (at right).
We took our time making sure that the vessel was level (left), before beginning to attach legs (shown below).
While they were working on making sure that the vessel was perfectly level, I got a change to walk up the orange staircase in the southeast corner of the experimental cell (see pictures of cell in earlier reports) to get another angle on the vacuum vessel.
With the vessel finally in place, we were able to start attaching the legs (above left). The six legs attach at equal intervals along the top rim of the bottom third of the vessel, and then attach in pairs to insulated pads (above right) which are firmly attached to the floor: the bolts go seven or eight inches into the concrete.
With a few legs in place, we felt confident enough to spot weld the legs to the vessel itself. The next step will be to attach the remaining legs to the vessel; then they can be attached to their base pads, which are finally screwed in tightly.
With all six legs in place and most of the primary welding done, we get our first glimpse of what the completed LDX (minus attachments) will look like. A very exciting time for all of us!
The real superstars of the project: two students working on LDX for the summer. Santiago Velez (below; left) is a Nuclear Engineering major at Worcester Polytechnical Institute, and Isaac Benowitz (below; right) is an Applied Physics major at Columbia University.