Vacuum Switches: Surprisingly Exotic
Pressure switches are important, if relatively obscure, utilities in a number of industrial, commercial and consumer contexts. They are regularly used in a lot of regular, relatively boring contexts, such as in automobile engines. However, they are also employed in some more exotic contexts. Take, for example, the CERN Nuclear Research Laboratory. CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) laboratory is home to some of the most esteemed eggheads on the planet, all of whom are conducting some of the most complicated and expensive scientific experiments in history. The equipment of which the research staff make such extensive use is some of the most advanced ever conceived. But it’s important to remember that all of this advanced equipment is made up of lots of individual parts, which are themselves not necessarily advanced.
In case you’re not familiar with CERN’s LHC, it’s a multinational, cooperative science experiment in which particles get banged together at high speeds in a long underground tube that straddles the border between France and Switzerland. While it would take too long to describe the purposes and methods of the experiment, suffice it to say that it’s the world’s largest and most expensive physics experiment. But again, despite its largeness and advanced nature, it is made up of a lot of things that aren’t particularly advanced. Tubes, valves and even vacuum pressure switches.
Vacuum switches are a good example of a fairly simple piece of equipment that can contribute to the accomplishment of very complex tasks. Specifically, vacuum pressure switches are used on the LHC to help regulate the temperature and pressure of equipment that is used in experiments. It’s likely that they’re used for several other purposes within CERN’s LHC lab as well. CERN’s example is just one of many likely examples of ordinary utilities helping to achieve extraordinary purposes.