In 2008, an electrical fault led to a freaky magnetic quench at the Large Hadron Collider, which in turn released a lot of helium, damaging dozens of superconducting magnets in the process and setting the LHC back a full year. Magnetic quenches happen often in particle accelerators, and helium is often released in the process, but the accident at the LHC was spectacular in scale.

A cousin of the LHC is the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Both are hadron accelerators and, of course, use superconducting magnets. The colliders are similar enough that I think they warrant a close comparison. I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of the magnets themselves, though.

Are the magnets at the RHIC as susceptible to damage as the magnets at the LHC?


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