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Strongest Magnet Ever Created by Scientists Results in Lab Explosion

Scientists knew that it would probably explode, but they did not expect to reach such a record magnetic field. Magnetic fields are measured in teslas, after Nikola Tesla. This one reached a record 1,200 teslas, 400 times stronger than an MRI; watch it explode in the video

Photo: The University of Tokyo.

Lead researcher Takeyama explained that magnetic fields above 1,000 teslas present new and exciting possibilities for scientific exploration. By observing the motion of electrons outside of their normal material environments, researchers can study them in a completely new way and potentially develop innovative electronic devices. The study, which was published in Review of Scientific Instruments on September 17, could also prove beneficial to those working on fusion power generation.

To achieve this breakthrough, the team employed electromagnetic flux-compression (EMFC) technology. The instrument used in the experiment initially generated a low-strength magnetic field of 3.2 teslas, which was then compressed into a tiny area using a row of capacitors generating 3.2 megajoules of energy. Although the team expected the instrument to fail at 700 teslas, it surprisingly withstood the pressure and reached 1,200 teslas before exploding.

Image by University of Tokyo.

The IEEE institute provides a clearer depiction of the experiment through an image. The University of Tokyo’s 1,200-Tesla magnetic field generator is depicted, powered by a bank of capacitors (white, on the left) that can store 5 megajoules of energy. The capacitors transfer their energy into the primary coil (gray, bottom left), inducing a counteracting current and magnetic field in the liner (orange). This causes the liner to implode within 40 microseconds, leading to the compression of the magnetic field

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