There is an almost inexhaustible series of applications for the electric blankets produced by CAP IT, but it was hardly conceivable that this product could also become a valid support for the study of the Universe. Instead EGO (European Gravitational Observatory), located near Pisa, made use of the electric blankets to solve an important problem in its Virgo plant.
Virgo is a gigantic laser interferometer (3 km arms) made to perform a direct detection of gravitational waves. The experimentation, development and maintenance of the detector are managed by the “EGO” Consortium (European Gravitational Observatory), created on the initiative of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics and the French CNRS. The detection of gravitational waves is an activity that can help to understand the origins of the Universe and its evolutions. The system, as you can imagine, is extremely complex and presents critical issues related to the stability of the environment in which it is located.
Vibrations, noises and even subtle thermal changes can affect the accuracy of your measurements. For the temperature factor, whose oscillation must be less than 0.1 ° C, the system components involved needed to be stabilized effectively and safely but in compliance with some specifications: no additional noise, therefore circuits for the circulation of the ‘hot water; easy to install, so as not to significantly interfere with the general planning of the system; not hindering the opening and closing operations of the structure; non-polluting due to dust released from the composition materials; flexible, to be easily reconfigured.
The electric blankets produced by CAP IT, in customized sizes to “dress” some components of Virgo over 8 meters high and with a circumference of about 6, proved to be the ideal solution: nylon fabric for the outside, velcro for quick fixing to the cylinders, electrical resistance, robustness and reliability of the product.
A new version of the detector is being studied, the Advanced Virgo, which proposes a sensitivity such as to increase the volume of the Universe explored by 1000 times. If necessary, CAP IT will be ready to collaborate also for the success of this new adventure.