TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Engineers at a lab in Florida have been working quietly for the last two and a half years on building the most powerful magnet in the world.

And on Monday, they succeeded. The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory – whose main location is housed at Florida State University – met its goal and reclaimed its status as home to the world’s strongest magnet.

They called it “Project 11,”a nod to the comedy film “This is Spinal Tap” about a fictional heavy metal band whose guitarist boasts an amplifier doesn’t go up to 10 but to 11.

Lab officials said they tested a 41.4-tesla magnet, which is roughly 20 times the strength of a magnet used in medical imaging machines and vastly stronger than the ones that get stuck to the door of a household refrigerator. The Earth’s magnetic field, by comparison, is one twenty thousandth (.00005) of a tesla. A tesla is a measure of magnetic field strength.

The new magnet – which cost $3.5 million to build – beat the old mark for resistive magnets which was held by a 38.5 tesla magnet in China. The National MagLab had previously held the record for 19 years.

Greg Boebinger, the lab’s director, said the loss of the record prompted officials to tell engineers, “Go ahead and make the thing bigger, go ahead and use more power, just go full volume to 11 and see what you can do.”

Resistive magnets are a type of electromagnet used for research. They differ from pulsed magnets, which can reach a higher field but can sustain that power for only a fraction of a second. Resistive magnets can run continuously.

Researchers say they can use a powerful magnet such as the one at the National MagLab to answer many questions, such as what kind of materials will work best in quantum computers, how does a potential Alzheimer’s drug change the brain and what molecules make up a sample of crude oil – and will it be worth drilling for?

The power of the new record-setting magnet, which is confined to a single room inside the lab, doesn’t create the type of effects witnessed in the X-Men film series by Magneto.