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Do Particle Accelerators Experience Torque?

  1. Oct 19, 2011 #1
    In particular, ones that aren't linear, of course.

    Does the particle stream or individual particle, whatever they're firing, impart some sort of vector force on the structure of the accelerator itself via the magnetic field, and into the magnets?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2011 #2
    It must. I don't think the force would apply a torque though.
  4. Oct 19, 2011 #3


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    In the LHC the acceleration is accomplished not by magnets but by electric fields, namely eight superconducting RF cavities with a field gradient of 5 MV/m.

    Forces on the magnets arise from the two countercirculating beams but also from internal stresses due to the maximum magnetic field of 8 Tesla. The beam energy is 350 MJ, but the energy stored in the magnets is much greater, 11 GJ.
  5. Oct 19, 2011 #4
    So basically, no, because the field strength is higher than the angular momentum of the particle stream?
  6. Oct 19, 2011 #5


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    I'm going to assume you're wondering if Newton's 3rd law applies (in this case torques only exist in equal and opposing pairs), and it does. Any acceleration of mass by a field will ultimately have an equal and opposing effect on the apparatus (and whatever the apparatus is attached to, such as the earth) that generated the field.
  7. Oct 20, 2011 #6
    That's exactly what I was wondering, thank you.
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