Vanzetti Engineering cryogenic pumps were chosen as part of the Aria Project of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) in partnership with Carbosulcis, a company owned by the Sardinia Region. Aria Project is a cryogenic distillation tower for the production of high purity enriched stable isotopes, in which the cryogenic pumps are part of the auxiliary circuit of the plant, which has the task of recirculating the liquid nitrogen in the primary distillation unit of super pure argon.

The Aria Project is an integral part of the DarkSide-20k experiment, which will be carried out at the National Laboratories of Gran Sasso (LNGS) of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) and whose scientific objective is the direct detection of dark matter. Dark matter, whose nature remains unknown to this day, represents most of the matter that makes up our universe, where it is present in five times greater quantity than the ordinary matter of which everything we observe today is made of. Understanding its nature is therefore one of the main areas of research in fundamental physics because it would make a decisive contribution to the studies of cosmology, physics and astrophysics.

The DarkSide-20k experiment, run by the DarkSide International Scientific Collaboration in which over 500 researchers from universities and research institutes work around the world, involves the use of a detector that uses liquid argon as a scintillator fluid for the interaction of WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particle), a particular type of particles that according to some theories is among the most promising candidates for constituting dark matter. To carry out this experiment, large quantities of depleted argon are required, i.e. without the isotope 39.

Dark matter.

Hence the birth of two projects related to DarkSide: Urania and Aria. The first involves the construction of a plant, currently under construction, in Colorado where a source of clean argon has been identified in the subsoil, sheltered from cosmic rays and therefore not contaminated by them. Thanks to the Urania Project (also owned by INFN) the depleted argon will be obtained which will then be transported to Sardinia, where it will be further filtered and purified by the distillation column created thanks to the Air Project. Finally, pure argon will be brought inside the DarkSide-20 detector in the Gran Sasso National Laboratories for research activities.

Vanzetti Engineering takes part in Aria Project

The Aria Project, launched in 2015, requires a well developed underground to anchor the distillation column, about 350 meters high, because it would be impossible to build a support structure of similar dimensions on the surface. Hence the idea of exploiting the 350-meter-deep well of the coal mine located in the province of South Sardinia and managed by Carbosulci, a company owned by the Sardinia Region.

The final project involves the construction of the distillation column, the heart of the plant, plus the liquid nitrogen refrigeration system. In this auxiliary refrigeration circuit, the equipment of Vanzetti Engineering comes into play: two liquid nitrogen booster pumps, which serve to move the liquid nitrogen from the bottom to the top of the column. These are two identical VT-1 Series alternative cryogenic pumps, which act as a back-up to the other.

Highlights

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