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  1. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, an engineer’s playground can present more challenges far beyond the perception of any one engineer, physicist or scientist. From a simple design of a…….. to the design and maintenance of the Tevatron, a four mile ultra high vacuum tube encased in sixteen ton magnet steers antiprotons and protons toward  the paths of each other at 99.999% the speed of light. As an engineering student at the lab many design challenges have come my way. My most challenging task is the placement of fragile macor rings as supports to two annular copper tubes to be installed into a stainless steel tube.
  2. In design, things tend go fit really well together in our imagination. Without taking factors such tolerances and imperfections in manufacturing into considering we leap into action. My problem began in deciding how I would incorporate macor, a type of ceramic material in the design of a Faraday Cup.  Macor is fragile and had to be used to stabilizer and insulators to two annular copper cylinders. Initially, I envisioned fastening macor rings strategic point of the inner and outer cylinder. Theoretically, this design would perform flawlessly, but in practice it is almost impossible to machine cylinders with perfectly rounded contours. Tightening the fragile macor ring to the cylinders could cause the rings crack as it deflects to fill the imperfections. The rings could also break from the effects of vibration and sudden shock. This would render the Faraday cup, a ten thousand dollar device useless.
  3. The solution to this problem came ………………
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