Engineers at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at the Florida State University are closer than ever to launching a new generation of high-field magnet, being 3,000 times stronger than an ordinary refrigerator magnet and will be able to generate a field about 45% more powerful than the strongest superconducting magnet currently available.
The new high tech magnet will be made of a high-temperature superconductor that is far less expensive to operate than its conventional counterparts and more energy efficient. According to the researchers, it could mark the beginning of a new generation of super powerful magnets that help lower both the carbon footprint and cost of scientific research.
The magnet will use about 5 miles of cable made of a superconducting material called yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO). YBCO does not require a low operating temperature, and once brought up to speed it requires little or no electric energy. YBCO can operate in magnetic fields higher than 23 Tesla, and in fact the new magnet is expected to achieve 32 Tesla. It has been developed in collaboration with industry partner SuperPower Inc., a global specialist in superconductors.
“High-temperature superconductors have shown rapid progress, especially YBCO conductors, and 30 tesla, while challenging, is still far away from any fundamental limit,” said Huub Weijers, who oversees coil testing at the magnet lab. “With continued R&D, even stronger all-superconducting magnets are possible.”
Scientists claim that this type of magnets could be used in new sustainable technologies from small hand-held battery powered devices on up to battery powered cars.