FSU MagLab sets new magnet strength record

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By: Associated Press | WCTV Eyewitness News
August 23, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is reclaiming its status as home to the world's strongest magnet.

Lab officials said Tuesday they tested a resistive magnet which reached 41.4-teslas. A tesla is a unit of magnetic field strength.

In so doing, the lab reclaimed the record for the world’s strongest resistive magnet, which it had held for 19 years up until 2014. A 38.5 tesla magnet in China had previously held the world record.

The effort to create a record magnet at the Florida State University facility was called "Project 11," in reference to the 1984 mockumentary "This is Spinal Tap" where a guitarist has an amp that goes to 11 instead of the standard 10.

Resistive magnets are a type of electromagnet used for research.

“Resistive magnets are the bread and butter of our DC Field Facility, and the demand of scientists sometimes exceeds supply,” said MagLab Director Greg Boebinger. “With the Project 11 magnet, we asked our engineers to ‘turn it up a notch’ and see what they could accomplish."

Pulsed magnets can reach a higher field, but can sustain that power for only a fraction of a second. Resistive magnets can run continuously.

Although MagLab staffers are proud to reclaim their long-held record, the deeper motivation is to enable exciting new science.

“It’s about providing the scientific community access to high fields,” said Tim Murphy, director of the DC Field Facility. “That’s why we’re here.”

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