FAIR particle accelerator in Darmstadt

Dyckerhoff supplies building projects of international top research

The particle accelerator facility FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research) in Darmstadt is one of the world's largest construction projects for top international research. The dimensions of the facility are enormous: a total of 2 million m³ of earth is being moved, as much as for 5,000 single-family homes. 600,000 m³ of concrete will be used, eight times as much as for the football stadium Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt.

Dyckerhoff and HeidelbergCement are supplying a total of around 80,000 metric tons of cement for the northern facility area in a supplier consortium. The scope of supply includes the CEM III/A 32.5 N-LH (na), CEM III/B 32.5 N-LH/SR (na) and CEM II/B-S 42.5 N cement grades. Dyckerhoff supplies the construction site from its Wiesbaden plant. In order to process the cement directly into concrete on site, Mobile Betonkonzepte GmbH from Munich operates two specially installed mixing plants on the construction site. A total of 310,000 m³ of concrete is required for the northern facility area.

The majority of the concrete will be special concrete – with the heavy aggregate basalt – for shielding the plant, which must have a corresponding thickness and weight. The recipes had to be officially approved.

The heart of the new facility is a 1.1-kilometer-long superconducting ring accelerator that runs 17 meters underground. The existing accelerator facility of the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research (GSI Helmholtzzentrums für Schwerionenforschung) will be used as a preliminary stage for FAIR.

With FAIR, matter can be produced and explored in the laboratory as it otherwise only occurs in the universe. Scientists from all over the world expect new insights into the structure of matter and the development of the universe from the Big Bang to the present day from the partly subterranean particle accelerator.

The research institute is maintained by eleven countries in international cooperation. The partner from Germany is the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research. GSI and FAIR employ a total of 1,450 people. The facility will be used by 3,000 scientists from over 50 countries.

The facility covers an area of 20 ha. Porr Germany is the contractor for the northern construction project.

Photos 1, 9: GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, T. Middelhauve; photos 2, 3, 4: GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, M. Konradt; photos 5, 6, 7: GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, G. Otto, photo 8: GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, L. Weitz; picture 10: ion42 für FAIR/GSI