U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Cryogenic Engineering course

Sponsoring University:

Old Dominion University


Cryogenic Engineering

Course website


Tom Peterson, Fermilab, and John Weisend, European Spallation Source

Purpose and Audience
The purpose of this course is to provide a basic introduction to cryogenic engineering. Students should have an undergraduate degree in physics, chemistry, or mechanical or chemical engineering. This course is suitable for graduate students, senior undergraduate students, engineers and technicians with a particular interest in cryogenics. The course will focus on large-scale cryogenics for particle accelerators.

Students should have an understanding of basic thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid flow, and stress analysis.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that he or she meets the course prerequisites through college-level classes or has equivalent experience.

Cryogenic engineering utilizes the principles of mechanical and electrical engineering to provide low temperature cooling for applications. Upon completing this course, students should be familiar with the principles and common practices of cryogenics and should be able to perform basic analysis and design for low temperature applications.

Instructional Method
The course will consist of morning lectures on the fundamentals of cryogenic engineering. Afternoon sessions will focus on applications of those fundamentals, examples of designs, and problem solving. Homework problems will be assigned daily, and the class will conclude with a final project involving conceptual design of a cryogenic system which utilizes much of the course material.

Course Content
The course will cover the fundamentals of cryogenic engineering and provide examples and exercises in the practice of cryogenic engineering. Topics will include: properties of cryogenic fluids typically used in particle physics such as helium (including superfluid helium), hydrogen, nitrogen, and argon, properties of materials which are typically used at low temperature, heat transfer, fluid dynamics, refrigeration, instrumentation, storage of cryogens, design of cryostats and distribution systems, pressure vessel issues, cryocoolers, emergency venting, and safety. Applications and practical problems will include superconducting magnet cooling, cryogenics for superconducting RF, cryogenics for targets and particle detectors, cryogen transfer, thermodynamic processes in refrigeration, design of low temperature load bearing structures, design of venting systems, and design of test apparatus.

Reading Requirements
(to be provided by the USPAS) "Cryogenic Systems", 2nd Edition (1985) by Randall Barron. We will also provide lecture materials and design examples in pdf format.

Credit Requirements
Students will be evaluated based on performance as follows: final project (30% of final grade) and homework assignments (70% of final grade).

IU/USPAS course: Physics 671