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極低温水素システムヘリウム冷凍機の不具合調査と対策

Investigation and measures of abnormal events of helium refrigerator for cryogenic hydrogen system at J-PARC

麻生 智一 ; 勅使河原 誠  ; 長谷川 勝一  ; 青柳 克弘*; 武藤 秀生*; 野村 一隆*; 高田 弘  ; 池田 裕二郎

Aso, Tomokazu; Teshigawara, Makoto; Hasegawa, Shoichi; Aoyagi, Katsuhiro*; Muto, Hideki*; Nomura, Kazutaka*; Takada, Hiroshi; Ikeda, Yujiro

大強度陽子加速器施設(J-PARC)物質・生命科学実験施設の核破砕中性子源では、冷中性子用減速材として液体水素を用いている。2015年1月頃から液体水素を生成するヘリウム冷凍機において、熱交換器及び80 K活性炭吸着器(ADS)の差圧が上昇する事象が現れ始め、2015年11月には冷却性能の低下を引き起こすまでに進展した。この不具合の原因を究明するために冷凍機内の目視確認や循環ヘリウム中の不純物分析を行った。原因となる不純物は検出できなかったが、配管内にわずかに油の痕跡があった。他施設の同規模の冷凍能力を持つ冷凍機の不具合事例も参考にして、熱交換器の洗浄やADSの交換を行った結果、冷却性能は回復した。熱交換器を洗浄した液やADSの活性炭とそれを抑えるためのフェルトから油を検出した。特にADSのフェルトではヘリウムガス入口表面に膜状の油の蓄積が確認できた。ヘリウムガス中に含まれる油分は設計範囲の10ppb程度であったが、長期間の運転の結果、ADSのフェルト部への蓄積により差圧を発生させ、それが性能劣化をもたらした可能性があると推測している。今後さらに調査を進め、原因をより明確にする必要がある。

Liquid hydrogen is employed as a cold neutron moderator material at the spallation neutron source of Materials and Life science experimental Facility of Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC). From January 2015, it became observable that the differential pressure between heat exchangers and an 80 K adsorber (ADS) in a helium refrigerator system increased with operating time. In November 2015, the differential pressure rise became more significant, leading to degrade the refrigerating performance in cooling liquid hydrogen. In order to investigate the cause of the abnormal differential pressure rise between the heat exchangers and the ADS, we carried out visual inspection inside the heat exchangers and analyzed the impurities contained in the helium gas. Unfortunately, we could not identify the impurities causing the performance degradation, but observed a trace of oil in the inlet piping of the heat exchanger. Based on investigations of the abnormal events occurred in the refrigerators with similar refrigerating capacity at other facilities, we took measures that cleaning the heat exchangers with Freon and replacing the ADS with new one. As a result, the differential pressure rise phenomenon was removed to recover the performance. We have detected oil from the Freon used for cleaning the heat exchangers and at a felt supporting charcoal packed in the ADS. In particular, oil was accumulated in membranous form onto the felt at the entrance side in the ADS. The amount of oil contained in the helium gas was about 10 ppb or so, less than the design value, in the helium refrigerator. However, the oil accumulated onto the felt in the ADS through long operating period may cause abnormal differential pressure rise, leading to the performance degradation of the helium refrigerator. Further study is needed to specify the cause more clearly.

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