An engineering company has provided equipment for a £1.3 billion international project to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang.
Garry Williams, technical director of hydraPower dynamics, has been asked to return to Switzerland by CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.
HydraPower, based in Birmingham, has provided specialist pipework to cool energy detecting crystals inside the CMS detector – a 20,000 tonne experiment as high as a six-storey office building and constructed underground – which will begin its operations at CERN next year.
The CMS is part of the biggest experiment ever undertaken by international scientists at CERN who will be the first to witness events which they believe created the universe
Scientists and engineers at CERN visited many companies in Europe including Germany and Russia – to seek out a firm capable of making and supplying a UK designed pipework system to meet the specific cooling requirements of the crystal detectors.
But the CERN scientists were unsuccessful until they found HydraPower dynamics in St Marks Street, Ladywood.
The company which has a turnover of more than £7 million annually and manufactures hose and tube assemblies, surface coating and aircraft test equipment, was visited by scientists from CERN who gave a detailed presentation of what they wanted to achieve with the special piping.
The staff at HydraPower dynamics was asked to work with the scientists and engineers to help solve the problem of cooling the CMS end cap detector.
This uses 16,000 crystals to view whatever comes from protons travelling close to the speed of light when they collide.
Mr Williams said: "The work we are putting into this project is immense and the technology is a huge step forward for our own capabilities.
"Once the procedures and approvals are gained we shall get a rating to carry out high-technology welding to supply specialised stainless steel pipework for atomic projects.
"Proving that the manufacture of the pipes meet trialling, testing and every other criteria and that also includes x-raying the joining points."
Patrick Browne, managing director of HydraPower Dynamics, which employs 90 people, said the £100,000 order carried enormous prestige and could lead to more orders in this specialist branch of engineering.
"The scientists who came from CERN were experts in particle acceleration and we had a four-hour discussion including the presentation to understand the critical nature of what they wanted.
"They had been unable to find anyone who could do this special pipe work but hydraPower dynamics has achieved what they were seeking.
"The piping they had would not settle properly because of the braze-weld and the need to get as much coolant as possible to the crystals.
"The project could not have thick tubes and heavy welds.
"By specially designing manipulated tubes and finding a way of attaching them, it maximised the amount of cooling to the base plate on the CMS End Cap next to the crystal detectors."
The Large Hadron Collider, due to begin running late in 2007, will accelerate streams of protons close to the speed of light and then cross the streams over each other causing violent collisions that are expected to create particles of the type which have not existed since the Big Bang.
The LHC is trying to understand the atomic make-up of the Universe, how it all began and how it was made.
Several large Big Bang experiments, of which CMS is one, are located up to 160 meters underground to shield it from cosmic radiation.
Protons will travel in a 17 kilometre circle of pipework and when the protons crash into each other they will release vast amounts of energy revealing the very basic components of matter for analysis by the CMS detector. These history-making collisions will occur within the HydraPower dynamics pipework zone.
Computers in the CMS detector will sift through the billion collisions that take place each second, looking for the handful that create a new type of particle. The most wanted particle is expected to appear just once in every ten million million collisions.
Mr Browne said: "We are absolutely enthralled about what is going to happen.
"It is intriguing to be involved in something which could help unravel some of the mysteries of the universe."