You have probably heard stories about patient injuries or death occurring when someone introduces a heavy metal object into the same room as an MRI machine. Obviously, we are talking about some seriously powerful magnets here. However, the US$10 million magnet currently under construction at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Florida is expected to reach 100 tesla when finished—about 67 times more powerful than a typical MRI machine.
That is just the kind of power needed to test the properties of high-temperature superconductors like iron oxyarsenide which may result in better, cheaper MRI machines and high-voltage power lines. It could also be used for certain zero-gravity experiments and magnetic propulsion systems that could eliminate the need for traditional rockets down the line. Researchers have been able to create magnetic fields over 100 T for years, but if successful, this would be the first magnet that could repeatedly hold up to the strain. According to Greg Boebinger, director of the Magnet Lab, the magnet will have to resist Lorentz forces "equivalent to the explosive force of 200 sticks of dynamite packed into a volume of space the size of a marble." [IEEE Spectrum Online via New Launches via DVICE]