Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, in New Mexico are in the process of creating a pulsed electromagnet that will reach 100 tesla. Greg Boebinger, director of the project, says that these forces are “equivalent to the explosive force of 200 sticks of dynamite packed into a volume of space the size of a marble.”
Boebinger goes on to say that power of this magnitude is essential for testing the properties of newly discovered high-temperature superconductors like iron oxyarsenide. Other potential uses allow for zero-G experiments without the bother of traveling to space. Even further out, there is the possibility of someday developing magnetic propulsion systems that could replace rocket fuel.
Super magnet, indeed. The 100 tesla mark has been reached before, but always at the cost of the magnet. The forces are just too powerful. Using nested coils, liquid nitrogen as coolant and nanoparticle wire the researchers hope to get 10,000 pulses out of the magnet before it destroys itself. More gory details, here.