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Physics/The highest mass a 45 tesla magnet can lift?


QUESTION: Hi! I read that the most powerful magnet in the world is 45 teslas in strength. How many tons could we possibly lift with 45 teslas? And how does one determine the mass a magnet can lift?

ANSWER: How big a magnet?  Are you talking a star or a handheld magnet?  Totally different scales.  Or a 45T magnet the size of a car?  Still a different story.  I don't care what you were told, size matters for magnets.

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QUESTION: I was talking about this magnet:

The mass it could lift depends entirely on the material you're trying to lift.  Since that magnet has no information on its field gradient, there's really no way to tell.  I'm going to guesstimate that it could easily lift a tank, but there's no scientific way to determine this, since that is not the function of a large supermagnet.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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