Helium Transfers are

Helium Transfers are "Cool"

July 14 was not only Bastille Day, but also liquid helium transfer day in the Kirschvink Lab! Once every one and a half years, the liquid helium running our oven and our magnetometer runs out, meaning that the machines cannot operate. Thus, we go through the process of requesting liquid helium. We got around 160 liters, all in special dewars to keep it at a low temperature!

The first step to the transfer is checking how much helium is in the tank. We have a special metal rod to help us. It oscillates slowly when at the bottom of the container. We then pull it out slowly and at the liquid helium line at the top, it begins to oscillate quickly. We measure the distance between the slow oscillation and fast oscillation point on the rod and use a scale to transfer the measure in inches to a measure in liters. We had 99.4 L in our large, 100 L tank, so that was pretty good.

We then began the transfer. About five or six of us took the liquid helium dewar into the clean room, and then we were all assigned different jobs. My job was to check how full the magnotometer tank was and record it every one to five minutes. Other people measured the pressure, made sure all the parts stayed connected, and increased the flow of the helium. All in all, it took around 30 minutes.

At the end, we all went out to the Ath to celebrate finishing the transfer, my PI’s birthday, and of course, Bastille Day.

The biggest liquid helium dewar.

Ominous “smoke” from the liquid helium surrounding the magnotometer set up.