Due to the high energies stored in its two beams and in its superconducting magnet system, the LHC has been a game changer in respect to machine protection. The safe extraction of the two beams and the controlled discharge of the energy from the superconducting main circuits of the LHC has to be ensured at any time. This is done by the most complex machine protection system ever built and used in an accelerator.
This presentation will give an overview of the machine protection challenges in the LHC and introduce the major parts of its machine protection system. Operational experience from the LHC Run 2 with focus on machine protection will be presented. Furthermore, experiments studying the interaction of protection systems with the circulating beam and the effect of beam impact on superconducting magnets will be introduced.