U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Principles of Cryogenic Engineering course

Sponsoring University:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Principles of Cryogenic Engineering


John M. Pfotenhauer, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Steven W. Van Sciver, Florida State University

Purpose and Audience
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to cryogenic engineering principles. The course is suitable for students with an undergraduate degree in physical science or engineering. It should provide the student with a working knowledge of the field for particle accelerator or other large scale applications.

An understanding of the basic principles of upper division, college-level thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and materials properties.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that he or she meets the course prerequisites or has equivalent experience.

Cryogenics is a field that encompasses a wide variety of disciplines brought together for the common purpose of delivering a low temperature environment for applications. On completion of this course, students should be familiar with the breadth of the field of cryogenics, be able to perform basic design calculations and apply these principles in his/her work.

Instructional Method
The course format will consist of lectures in the morning on the theory and practice of cryogenic engineering. Afternoon sessions will be devoted to practical application of these principles through example, demonstration and in-class work. A comprehensive final exam will be given at the end of the course.

Course Content
This is an introductory course on the principles and practices of cryogenic engineering. Topics to be presented include: properties of materials commonly used in cryogenic systems; properties of cryogenic fluids including unique characteristics of liquid helium and hydrogen; cryogenic heat transfer and fluid dynamics; large-scale and cryocooler systems for refrigeration and liquefaction; elements of cryogenic system design; instrumentation: and safe storage and transfer of cryogenics fluids. The practical element of the course will consist of application of the principles and theory to the design of cryogenic systems. Specific examples to be discussed will include: design of low heat leak structural supports, thermal mass considerations, thermal insulation systems, liquefaction/refrigeration of cryogens, storage of cryogens, cryogenic heat exchangers, instrumentation for cryogenics, temperature measurement uncertainties.

Reading Requirements
(to be provided by USPAS) "Cryogenic Systems", 2nd Edition (1985) by Randall Barron. In addition, notes, examples and copies of viewgraph materials will be provided in pdf format.

Credit Requirements
Students will be evaluated based on performance as follows: final exam (50 % of final grade) and homework assignments (50% of final grade).

IU/USPAS course number P671