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The world record for a sustained magnetic field was broken on December 18 during the initial test of a new magnet developed at MIT's Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory.
The laboratory broke its own previous record of 31.8 tesla (about 700 times the earth's magnetic field) in a volume of 33mm diameter when the new hybrid reached 33.5 tesla, according to John E.C. Williams, head of the laboratory's Magnet Technology Division.
The hybrid magnet is a combination of a high-power, water-cooled solenoid producing 20.5 tesla, in the bore of a superconducting solenoid producing 13 tesla.
The water-cooled solenoid was of a new form, manufactured using electric-discharge machining. The superconducting solenoid was energized at a temperature of 456 degrees Fahrenheit below zero.
This hybrid magnet is the fourth in a line of magnets developed over a period of 16 years by MIT engineers with support from the National Science Foundation. It will be used for scientific research, including elucidating the transport behavior of electrons in electronic devices and the properties of high-field superconductors.
A version of this article appeared in the January 8, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 36, Number 16).