‘The particle accelerator facility, the only one of its kind in the world, will provide new insights into the evolution of the universe. In addition to the research, it is important for us that we transfer possible applications derived from it into society and the business sphere,’ says Paolo Giubellino, scientific director of FAIR and GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH. The new facility enables several physics research programs to be run in parallel. It provides the framework for scientists to discover missing information on the evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang to the present day. This is made possible by the alliance of a multi-national consortium of 10 member states to form FAIR GmbH. The Federal Republic of Germany and the Federal State of Hesse are the principal investors in the research facility. About one third of the total construction costs of approximately one billion euros is contributed by the partner countries Finland, France, India, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia and Sweden, as well as the United Kingdom as associated partner.
600,000 Cubic Meters of Concrete and 65,000 Tons of Steel
‘FAIR is an ambitious building project with numerous trades and parties involved. As a result, the close co-ordination of structural and civil engineering, technical building installations and science is particularly important. We benefit from the experience that we have already gathered in many research projects, such as RWTH Aachen University,’ explains Dietmar Zwipp, Associate Partner at Drees & Sommer SE. Drees & Sommer, already a stable factor within the project for the past ten years, provides support for the construction of the accelerator complex as project manager. Together with FAIR Site & Buildings, it also acts as developer.
The team includes project management and Lean Construction Management experts. Based on the lean approach, Drees & Sommer applies knowledge and experience from the automotive industry to construction projects and building sites.
The construction of the research center is adapted to the complex technological requirements and is sub-divided into several modules. The buildings will be constructed according to the design of the ion42 consortium (DGI Bauwerk and schneider+schumacher). A start was made in July 2017 with the excavation and removal of two million cubic meters of earth, with the carcass work beginning in April of this year. 600,000 cubic meters of concrete and 65,000 tons of steel will be used. The facility is scheduled to be fully operational by 2025.
Closing Gaps in the Interrelationships between Matter and the Universe
The Darmstadt, the City of Science, fulfills the conditions necessary for the construction of the facility, with an existing laboratory (GSI) and researchers on hand. The GSI site provides 20 hectares of land, which is sufficient space for the complex technical infrastructure required by FAIR. This includes 24 buildings and a ring accelerator with a circumference of 1.1 kilometers, up to 17 meters under the ground – the heart of the facility. Researchers intend to use it to bring electrically charged particles (anti-protons and ions) close to the speed of light and observe their impact on samples of material. This is expected to close gaps in our knowledge of the interrelationships between matter and the universe. Further objectives include the discovery of chemical elements, the search for cancer therapy applications and materials research.