A scientific quest to search for dark matter particles led to Tasweld Engineering being awarded a unique opportunity to fabricate a specialised tank, or namely a Sabre Veto Vessel. The vessel is to be used in a proposed underground facility, namely the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL) in Stawell.

The University of Melbourne has received $5m in Federal Funding to build the SUPL, which will be located approximately 1km underground in an unused gold mine in Stawell, Western Victoria. This facility will shield astrophysical particles and enable a range of experiments to be undertaken to determine the existence of dark matter, a form of matter that does not directly interact with light. Conducting experiments this deep in the earth will also ensure the testing protocol is free of noise and from other environmental factors.

Some of these experiments will be conducted inside the Sabre Veto Vessel. The vessel was designed by the University of Melbourne, in conjunction with FE Consulting Design Engineers and Tasweld Engineering. To provide the best chance of experimental success, the manufacture of the vessel involved the use of exotic stainless- steel materials which was sourced from Italy and had the lowest level of radio activity, which made it suitable for the proposed experimental testing.

Once fabrication commenced in Tasweld’s Warrnambool workshop, rigorous equipment and welding processes were used to prevent material contamination during the manufacture of the vessel. The flanges on this vessel were extremely difficult to machine due to the accuracy needed on the tolerances and the cleaning process was arduous to prevent any materials contamination.

All welding was carried out using a TIG process with lanthiumated tungsten’s, all consumables were new or unused to prevent cross contamination. Once the manufacturing was finished, the vessel undertook non- destructive testing on all welds, hydrostatic testing and a helium leak to ensure conformity and integrity. The vessel also features ports on the top of the vessel which provide assess for electrical and other connections and when empty weighs approximately 1,800kg. The vessel was manufactured to AS1210 standards and was commissioned in September 2019

The Sabre Veto Vessel was delivered on a purpose-built skid to Swinburne Universities Wantirna campus, where it will undergo preliminary testing prior to being installed in the SUPL facility in Stawell. The next stage of the project will involve fabrication of the vessel lid, designs are still being finalised. experiments, such as the effects of radiation in cancer cells. This can only be a good thing for everyone.

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