The largest magnet on Earth is, in fact, the Earth. Our planet acts like one big bar magnet, with a magnetic north and south pole. However, it is not the strongest one on the planet. The most powerful, non-destructive magnet resides in New Mexico and was made by humans. In 2012, researchers at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico built one that could generate a record-setting magnetic field of 100 Tesla, a unit used to measure magnetic field strength.
To put that in perspective, the huge lifting magnets that swing cars around like they are mere toys are only around 2 tesla. The magnet created by the researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico clocks in at 100 Tesla━a magnetic force that is 2 million times stronger than Earth’s magnetic field. The magnetic energy is so intense that it even emits a shrieking sound when turned on. Because it is so powerful though, it can only be turned on for a few seconds, then it must be turned off.
The magnet isn’t necessarily the strongest that has ever been created either. However, it is the first that does not involve destruction or explosions in the process. With magnetic fields that strong, even the magnet needs help managing the strength of them. Before, powerful man-made magnetic fields were generated by using some form of explosives to compress the field inside the magnet as it pulsed. Using this method, researchers could reach measurements as high as 1,000 Tesla, but only for a few microseconds. With the 100 Tesla magnet, researchers can use it again and again.
So what’s the point of creating a super powerful magnet besides the fact that it sounds really cool? The man-made magnet is actually a valuable resource in furthering research on superconductors, quantum behaviors and a number of other magnetic phenomenon.