The Most Powerful Magnet Ever Unveiled
A massive magnet has arrived in France, but it will be used for something more important than finding loose change.
Scientists at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance showcased the first part of the world’s most powerful magnet, the central solenoid, last Thursday, 9 September.
Its purpose? To be used in a nuclear fusion reactor and research into fusion technology. Currently, the process requires a massive amount of energy in order to start, one that it’s akin to the fission that naturally occurs in the sun. Scientists are hoping to produce ten -times the amount by 2035.
Laban Coblentz, ITER spokesperson, said: “Each completion of a major first-of-a-kind component – such as the central solenoid’s first module – increases our confidence that we can complete the complex engineering of the full machine.”
The first component was sent by an American manufacturer, General Atomics in California – over 35 nations are involved in producing the final product that comprises six modules.
Once all the parts are put together, it will stand over 18 metres tall and be a little more than four metres wide, with a hefty weight of over 1 000 tonnes.
The most amazing fact about the completed device is that once it is fired up in 2026, it will produce a magnetic field approximately 280 000 times stronger than the one produced by the Earth, so much so it can basically lift an aircraft carrier with ease.
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