LArTPC Document 180-v2

A Large Underground Liquid Argon Detector without a Cryostat

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Kirk McDonald
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Kirk McDonald
Document Created:
29 Jun 2006, 08:11
Contents Revised:
10 Jul 2006, 17:48
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10 Jul 2006, 17:48
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29 Jun 2006, 08:11
The construction of a large liquid argon detector on the Earth’s surface is advantageous because of the extensive experience of the liquefied natural gas industry in low-cost fabrication of cryogenic tanks of order of 100 kton. However, fabrication of this type of tank in an underground cavern is likely to be prohibitively expensive. Here, we note that the thermal conductivity of granite is low enough that a large, uninsulated cavity filled with liquid argon leads to thermal losses very similar to those of a cryogenic tank on the surface IF the granite at the cavity surface can be cooled to 87 K. However, it would take thousands of years to cool the surrounding rock, so we conclude that an underground liquid argon detector must have thermal insulation.
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