skip to main content


Title: Photomultiplier tube failure under hydrostatic pressure in future neutrino detectors

Failure of photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) under hydrostatic pressure is a concern in neutrino detection, specifically, in the proposed Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment project. Controlled hydrostatic implosion tests were performed on prototypic PMT bulbs of 10-inch diameter and recorded using high speed filming techniques to capture failures in detail. These high-speed videos were analyzed frame-by-frame in order to identify the origin of a crack, measure the progression of individual crack along the surface of the bulb as it propagates through the glass, and estimate crack velocity. Crack velocity was calculated for each individual crack, and an average velocity was determined for all measurable cracks on each bulb. Overall, 32 cracks were measured in 9 different bulbs tested. Finite element modeling (FEM) of crack formation and growth in prototypic PMT shows stress concentration near the middle section of the PMT bulbs that correlates well with our crack velocity measurements in that section. The FEM model predicts a crack velocity value that is close to the terminal crack velocity reported. Our measurements also reveal significantly reduced crack velocities compared to terminal crack velocities measured in glasses using fracture mechanics testing and reported in literature.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Alfred Univ., Alfred, NY (United States). Multifunctional Materials Lab., Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering
  2. Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
  3. Alfred Univ., Alfred, NY (United States). Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1748-0221; R&D Project: PO-022; KA2201020; TRN: US1500490
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Instrumentation
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 1748-0221
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
Country of Publication:
United States
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; Materials for solid-state detectors; Photon detectors for UV; CHERENKOV COUNTERS
OSTI Identifier: