Skip to main content
Educator Resource: Curriculum Module

Argon Transfer Challenge

How do you transfer 70,000 tons of argon nearly one mile underground to the DUNE detectors? Learn about phase changes in matter and design an engineering solution to this ‘enormous’ problem.
Middle School
Time required
A minimum of five 55-minute sessions

A new international mega-science project, DUNE (Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment) will use 70,000 tons of argon in the neutrino detector, located nearly one mile below the surface at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. Scientists and engineers must answer the question, “How can we transport 70,000 tons of liquid argon to a detector in a cavern nearly one mile underground?”

Working as a team, students will learn about energy transfer and phase changes as they devise a plan to move argon to the underground detector.


Argon Transfer Design Challenge

MS-PS1-4 Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.

MS-PS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer.*