Abstract The problem of “rate of change” for fractal functions is a very important one in the study of local fields. In 1992, Su Weiyi has given a definition of derivative by virtue of pseudo-differential operators [Su W. Pseudo-differential operators and derivatives on locally compact Vilenkin groups. Sci China [series A] 1992;35(7A):826–36. Su W. Gibbs–Butzer derivatives and the applications. Numer Funct Anal Optimiz 1995;16(5&6):805–24. [2,3]]. In Qiu Hua and Su Weiyi [Weierstrass-like functions on local fields and their p-adic derivatives. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals 2006;28(4):958–65. ], we have introduced a kind of Weierstrass-like functions in p-series local fields and discussed their p-adic derivatives. In this paper, the 3-adic Cantor function on 3-series field is constructed, and its 3-adic derivative is evaluated, it has at most ln 2 ln 3 order. Moreover, we introduce the definition of the Hausdorff dimension [Falconer KJ. Fractal geometry: mathematical foundations and applications. New York: Wiley; 1990. ] of the image of a complex function defined on local fields. Then we conclude that the Hausdorff dimensions of the 3-adic Cantor function and its derivatives and integrals on 3-series field are all equal to 1. There are various applications of Cantor sets in mechanics and physics. For instance, E-infinity theory [El Naschie MS. A guide to the mathematics of E-infinity Cantorian spacetime theory. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals 2005;25(5):955–64. El Naschie MS. Dimensions and Cantor spectra. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals 1994;4(11):2121–32. El Naschie MS. Einstein’s dream and fractal geometry. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals 2005;24(1):1–5. El Naschie MS. The concepts of E infinity: an elementary introduction to the Cantorian-fractal theory of quantum physics. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals 2004;22(2):495–511. [9–12]] is based on random Cantor set which takes the golden mean dimension 5 - 1 2 as shown by El Naschie.