Steel Facility for Neutron Research

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Neutron ScienceSteel is one of the most incredibly versatile materials known to man, a fact that is highlighted continually within our daily lives. From the most basic piece of household equipment to outstanding design structures, steel is the favourite choice. This outstanding metal has been used for colossal bridges and other structures including an exciting new research facility in Sweden.

The Swedish city of Lund is home to the European Spallation Source (ESS) facility, which is now covered by a unique steel structure designed by Buro Happold. ESS has the most powerful neutron source in the world, and hopes to create a multi-disciplinary research environment in neutron science. Neutrons generated by spallation will allow scientists to study materials on an atomic and molecular level. The research will boost knowledge of life, energy, environmental science, materials and archaeology.

The steel structure has been designed by Henning Larsen and COBE architects, and adheres to operational and flexibility requirements. The design has been developed to function without compromise in the event of things like severe earthquakes and heavy snow fall. The cantilevering roof reaches up to 35 metres beyond the perimeter of the building. The steel cover is strong and robust as well as visually impressive.

Project leader at Buro Happold Adam Pekala, explains: “The cladding of the overhanging roof is clad in L-shaped aluminium lamellas mounted onto panels.  The nature of these panels prevents detrimental snow accumulation on the overhang, reducing the total load acting on the large overhangs.

“We used parametric modelling to define the optimum shape and layout of the panels and reduced the number of bespoke assemblies by 87%. This helped to minimise wastage by using materials and production resources in a more sustainable way, whilst enabling much faster fabrication and assembly.”

ESS will be in full operation by 2027 once the civil construction works are completed, and will proceed to carry out research in neutron science.

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