Scientists blow up their lab after creating strongest magnet ever

It's a record magnetic field, but... yeah. That didn't last long.

“With magnetic fields above 1,000 teslas, you open up some interesting possibilities,” lead researcher Takeyama explained. “You can observe the motion of electrons outside the material environments they are normally within. So we can study them in a whole new light and explore new kinds of electronic devices. This research could also be useful to those working on fusion power generation.”

The study, published in Review of Scientific Instruments, was released on September 17.

To achieve the record, the team used a technique known as electromagnetic flux-compression (EMFC). The instrument, which generates a low-strength magnetic field of 3.2 teslas, was attached to a row of capacitors that generate 3.2 megajoules, which is a huge amount of energy.

This compresses the magnetic field into a tiny area extremely quickly. But, as the team predicted, it can’t be compressed for long, eventually creating a shock wave that rips the instrument apart. They expected this to happen after about 700 teslas, as that’s what it was built to withstand. But incredibly, it reached 1,200 before exploding.

This image explains it a bit better, from the IEEE institute. “The University of Tokyo’s 1,200-Tesla magnetic field generator is powered by a bank of capacitors [on left, white] capable of storing 5 megajoules. The capacitors’ energy flows into the primary coil [bottom left, gray] and induces a counteracting current and magnetic field in the liner [orange]. This implodes the liner in 40 microseconds, compressing the magnetic field [bottom right].”

Watch it go boom

This article was reprinted with permission of Big Think, where it was originally published.

An implantable device could enable injection-free control of diabetes
MIT engineers designed an implantable device that carries islet cells along with its own on-board oxygen factory to keep the cells healthy.
Spending time in space can harm the human body − but scientists are working to mitigate these risks before we go to Mars
With NASA planning more missions to space in the future, scientists are studying how to mitigate health hazards that come with space flight.
Astronomers spot the first “bounce” in our Universe
Imprinted in the structure of the universe are “bouncing” signals from early on: where gravitating normal matter was pushed out by radiation.
New experiment brings us closer to unbreakable quantum encryption
Researchers at Linkӧping University have built a quantum random number generator to be easier to integrate into consumer electronics.
Device offers long-distance, low-power underwater communication
Researchers create a device with piezoelectric transducers that enables battery-free underwater communication.
Up Next
Subscribe to Freethink for more great stories