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03/11/2011

Mission Accomplished!

There's quite a bit of excitement at NAHAD member company, IVG, about the completion of a project called, "IceCube." You'd think that January would be the least likely time for excitement about anything frozen, but the IceCube project is more than just ice. The excitement extends all the way to the South Pole where scientists have completed installation of an extraordinary research tool comprised of over 5000 devices called "DOMs" and designed to detect mysterious particles called Neutrinos, buried in a cubic kilometer of ice.

Mid-December 2010, marked the completion of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory located at the National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. The project spanned more than a decade. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project is managed by the University of Wisconsin in Madison. This "Discovery Class" neutrino detector uses over 5,000 sensors deployed in the ice, some as deep as 8000 feet. Its purpose is to discover the origin of our universe by studying the trajectories of these neutrinos.

IVG was chosen to engineer and produce the special hose needed to drill in the ice through a system of cycled hot water. The hose needed to be extremely long (over 9000 feet made of tightly connected 400 foot sections), highly resistant to elongation and capable of working at very low temperatures. The special couplings used were also designed by IVG and needed to guarantee tight connections at extremely high loads while having a very low profile in order to rest easily onto the reel.

A Google search of "IceCube Neutrino Observatory" yields roughly 217,000 results with articles and websites explaining the unique system. Any of the search results will provide ample details about the technology and amazing prospects for scientific discovery. IVG employees like to think that if this observatory will ever discover the origin of our universe, essential part of the success will be thanks to the performance and reliability of their hose.


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