Diamond Light Source (DLS) is the UK’s national synchrotron facility. Located in Oxfordshire, DLS is a centre for pioneering research where experiments involving anything from structural biology, fundamental physics and chemistry, through to cultural heritage research take place.
I21 was built for Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering (RIXS). It was a strict requirement that the laboratory should be able to maintain a stable air temperature within a tolerance of 1 deg C and a maximum rate of change of 1 deg C per hour. Air turbulence also had to be kept to an absolute minimum.
Both of these requirements had a significant impact on the mechanical and electrical services design and installation. To achieve the low air turbulence requirement, fabric ductwork was used. This introduced air at very low velocity over the entire roof void. Computational fluid dynamics modelling (CFD) was used to test the designs and demonstrate to the client that low air turbulence would indeed be achieved by using this unusual material.
Vibrations through the structure of the building could have a major impact on the results of experiments. Crofton’s structural engineers designed a multi-faceted and isolated floor slab, using specially developed concrete that eliminated vibration, expansion and contraction and minimized shrinkage over the building’s life span.
Meeting the highly technical brief without compromise was imperative. Crofton consulted with a third-party physicist to ensure they had fully understood the client’s needs from an experimental, scientific point of view.