Listen to a magnet scream at a record-breaking 100 Tesla

Generating a non-destructive 100 Tesla magnetic field has been a project of the Los Alamos National Lab for about a decade and a half, and just yesterday, they managed to pull it off. A huge nested magnet hooked up to an even huger generator kicked out a pulse 2 million times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field, and it screamed in the process.

One Tesla (a unit used to measure magnetic field strength) is approximately equivalent to the field strength inside the coil in a typical loudspeaker. High resolution MRI machines generate about 10 Tesla. With 16 Tesla, you can levitate a frog. Up on the other end of the spectrum, neutron stars create magnetic fields in excess of 1,000,000 Tesla. So, Los Alamos isn't quite generating their own little neutron star over there, but 100 Tesla is still a hugely powerful field.

It's important to point out that this is a non-destructive 100T field because it's a lot easier to generate a powerful magnetic field when you're willing to have your magnets blow themselves up in the process. The world record for a human-generated magnetic field (that destroyed all the equipment used to create it) is about 730T, and using high explosives (nearly 400 pounds worth), some Russians were able to generate a field of a staggering 2,800 Tesla. But it's hard to do much with fields of this strength when simply generating them obliterates everything nearby, which is why LANL's stable and reproducible non-destructive 100T field (requiring a combination of seven coils sets weighing 18,000 pounds and powered by a huge 1,200-megajoule generator) is so useful.

As far as what one does with a 100T field, well, LANL makes no mention of superweapons or free energy or weather modification or anything like that. I guess it's important for studying material properties, quantum phase transitions, and new ultra high field magnetic states, some something about nanoscale microscopy, which sounds cool enough.

Watch the video below to see the 100T pulse in action: the actual shot (and magnet scream) happens at about 1:35, followed by a bunch of nerdy (and slightly awkward) hugs and high fives when the researchers realize that they hit 100.75T.

LANL, via Slashdot

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