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A solenoid ( // , ) is a type of electromagnet, the purpose of which is to generate a controlled magnetic field through a coil wound into a tightly packed helix. The coil can be arranged to produce a uniform magnetic field in a volume of space when an electric current is passed through it. The term solenoid was coined in 1823 by André-Marie Ampère to designate a helical coil.
In the study of electromagnetism, a solenoid is a coil whose length is substantially greater than its diameter.The helical coil of a solenoid does not necessarily need to revolve around a straight-line axis; for example, William Sturgeon's electromagnet of 1824 consisted of a solenoid bent into a horseshoe shape.
In engineering, the term may also refer to a variety of transducer devices that convert energy into linear motion.In simple terms, a solenoid converts electrical energy into mechanical work. The term is also often used to refer to a solenoid valve, an integrated device containing an electromechanical solenoid which actuates either a pneumatic or hydraulic valve, or a solenoid switch, which is a specific type of relay that internally uses an electromechanical solenoid to operate an electrical switch; for example, an automobile starter solenoid or linear solenoid. Solenoid bolts, a type of electromechanical locking mechanism, also exist. In electromagnetic technology, a solenoid is an actuator assembly with a sliding ferromagnetic plunger inside the coil. Without power, the plunger extends for part of its length outside the coil; applying power pulls the plunger into the coil. Electromagnets with fixed cores are not considered solenoids.
The term solenoid also refers to any device that converts electrical energy to mechanical energy using a solenoid. The device creates a magnetic field from electric current, and uses the magnetic field to create linear motion.
An infinite solenoid has infinite length but finite diameter. "Continuous" means that the solenoid is not formed by discrete finite-width coils but by many infinitely thin coils with no space between them; in this abstraction, the solenoid is often viewed as a cylindrical sheet of conductive material.
The magnetic field inside an infinitely long solenoid is homogeneous and its strength neither depends on the distance from the axis nor on the solenoid's cross-sectional area.
This is a derivation of the magnetic flux density around a solenoid that is long enough so that fringe effects can be ignored. In Figure 1, we immediately know that the flux density vector points in the positive z direction inside the solenoid, and in the negative z direction outside the solenoid. We confirm this by applying the right hand grip rule for the field around a wire. If we wrap our right hand around a wire with the thumb pointing in the direction of the current, the curl of the fingers shows how the field behaves. Since we are dealing with a long solenoid, all of the components of the magnetic field not pointing upwards cancel out by symmetry. Outside, a similar cancellation occurs, and the field is only pointing downwards.
Now consider the imaginary loop c that is located inside the solenoid. By Ampère's law, we know that the line integral of B (the magnetic flux density vector) around this loop is zero, since it encloses no electrical currents (it can be also assumed that the circuital electric field passing through the loop is constant under such conditions: a constant or constantly changing current through the solenoid). We have shown above that the field is pointing upwards inside the solenoid, so the horizontal portions of loop c do not contribute anything to the integral. Thus the integral of the up side 1 is equal to the integral of the down side 2. Since we can arbitrarily change the dimensions of the loop and get the same result, the only physical explanation is that the integrands are actually equal, that is, the magnetic field inside the solenoid is radially uniform. Note, though, that nothing prohibits it from varying longitudinally, which in fact, it does.
A similar argument can be applied to the loop a to conclude that the field outside the solenoid is radially uniform or constant. This last result, which holds strictly true only near the center of the solenoid where the field lines are parallel to its length, is important as it shows that the flux density outside is practically zero since the radii of the field outside the solenoid will tend to infinity.
An intuitive argument can also be used to show that the flux density outside the solenoid is actually zero. Magnetic field lines only exist as loops, they cannot diverge from or converge to a point like electric field lines can (see Gauss's law for magnetism). The magnetic field lines follow the longitudinal path of the solenoid inside, so they must go in the opposite direction outside of the solenoid so that the lines can form a loop. However, the volume outside the solenoid is much greater than the volume inside, so the density of magnetic field lines outside is greatly reduced. Now recall that the field outside is constant. In order for the total number of field lines to be conserved, the field outside must go to zero as the solenoid gets longer.
Of course, if the solenoid is constructed as a wire spiral (as often done in practice), then it emanates an outside field the same way as a single wire, due to the current flowing overall down the length of the solenoid.
Applying Ampère's circuital law to the solenoid (see figure on the right) gives us
where is the magnetic flux density, is the length of the solenoid, is the magnetic constant, the number of turns, and the current. From this we get
This equation is valid for a solenoid in free space, which means the permeability of the magnetic path is the same as permeability of free space, μ0.
If the solenoid is immersed in a material with relative permeability μr, then the field is increased by that amount:
In most solenoids, the solenoid is not immersed in a higher permeability material, but rather some portion of the space around the solenoid has the higher permeability material and some is just air (which behaves much like free space). In that scenario, the full effect of the high permeability material is not seen, but there will be an effective (or apparent) permeability μeff such that 1 ≤ μeff ≤ μr.
The inclusion of a ferromagnetic core, such as iron, increases the magnitude of the magnetic flux density in the solenoid and raises the effective permeability of the magnetic path. This is expressed by the formula
where μeff is the effective or apparent permeability of the core. The effective permeability is a function of the geometric properties of the core and its relative permeability. The terms relative permeability (a property of just the material) and effective permeability (a property of the whole structure) are often confused; they can differ by many orders of magnitude.
For an open magnetic structure, the relationship between the effective permeability and relative permeability is given as follows:
where k is the demagnetization factor of the core.
A finite solenoid is a solenoid with finite length. Continuous means that the solenoid is not formed by discrete coils but by a sheet of conductive material. We assume the current is uniformly distributed on the surface of the solenoid, with a surface current density K; in cylindrical coordinates:
The magnetic field can be found using the vector potential, which for a finite solenoid with radius R and length l in cylindrical coordinates is
Here, , , and are complete elliptic integrals of the first, second, and third kind.
the magnetic flux density is obtained as
On the symmetry axis, the radial component vanishes, and the axial field component is
Inside the solenoid, far away from the ends (), this tends towards the constant value .
For the case in which the radius is much larger than the length of the solenoid, the magnetic flux density through the centre of the solenoid (in the z direction, parallel to the solenoid's length, where the coil is centered at z=0) can be estimated as the flux density of a single circular conductor loop:
For cases in which the radius is not large compared to the length, this estimate can be further refined by summating it over N number of wire turnings/coils at different positions along z.
Within the category of finite solenoids, there are those that are sparsely wound with a single pitch, sparsely wound with varying pitches (varied-pitch solenoid), or those with a varying radius for different loops (non-cylindrical solenoids). They are called irregular solenoids. They have found applications in different areas, such as sparsely wound solenoids for wireless power transfer,varied-pitch solenoids for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and non-cylindrical solenoids for other medical devices.
The calculation of the intrinsic inductance and capacitance cannot be done using those for the traditional solenoids, i.e. the tightly wound ones. New calculation methods were proposed for the calculation of intrinsic inductance(codes available at ) and capacitance. (codes available at )
As shown above, the magnetic flux density within the coil is practically constant and given by
where μ0 is the magnetic constant, the number of turns, the current and the length of the coil. Ignoring end effects, the total magnetic flux through the coil is obtained by multiplying the flux density by the cross-section area :
Combining this with the definition of inductance
the inductance of a solenoid follows as
A table of inductance for short solenoids of various diameter to length ratios has been calculated by Dellinger, Whittmore, and Ould.
This, and the inductance of more complicated shapes, can be derived from Maxwell's equations. For rigid air-core coils, inductance is a function of coil geometry and number of turns, and is independent of current.
Similar analysis applies to a solenoid with a magnetic core, but only if the length of the coil is much greater than the product of the relative permeability of the magnetic core and the diameter. That limits the simple analysis to low-permeability cores, or extremely long thin solenoids. The presence of a core can be taken into account in the above equations by replacing the magnetic constant μ0 with μ or μ0μr, where μ represents permeability and μr relative permeability. Note that since the permeability of ferromagnetic materials changes with applied magnetic flux, the inductance of a coil with a ferromagnetic core will generally vary with current.
Electromechanical solenoids consist of an electromagnetically inductive coil, wound around a movable steel or iron slug (termed the armature). The coil is shaped such that the armature can be moved in and out of the space in the center of the coil, altering the coil's inductance and thereby becoming an electromagnet. The movement of the armature is used to provide a mechanical force to some mechanism, such as controlling a solenoid valve. Although typically weak over anything but very short distances, solenoids may be controlled directly by a controller circuit, and thus have very quick reaction times.
The force applied to the armature is proportional to the change in inductance of the coil with respect to the change in position of the armature and the current flowing through the coil (see Faraday's law of induction). The force applied to the armature will always move the armature in a direction that increases the coil's inductance.
Electromechanical solenoids are commonly seen in electronic paintball markers, pinball machines, dot matrix printers, and fuel injectors. Some residential doorbells make use of electromechanical solenoids, whereby electrification of the coil causes the armature to strike metal chime bars.
Included in this category of solenoids are the uniquely designed magnetic circuits that effect analog positioning of the solenoid plunger or armature as a function of coil current. These solenoids, whether axial or rotary, employ a flux carrying geometry that both produces a high starting force (torque), and has a section that quickly begins to saturate magnetically. The resulting force (torque) profile as the solenoid progresses through its operational stroke is nearly flat or descends from a high to a lower value. The solenoid can be useful for positioning, stopping mid-stroke, or for low velocity actuation; especially in a closed loop control system. A uni-directional solenoid would actuate against an opposing force or a dual solenoid system would be self cycling. The proportional concept is more fully described in SAE publication 860759 (1986).
Focusing of the magnetic field and its attendant flux metering, as illustrated in the SAE paper, is required to produce a high starting force at the start of the solenoid stroke and to maintain a level or declining force as the solenoid moves through its displacement range. This is quite contrary to that experienced with normal diminishing air gap types of solenoids. The focusing of the magnetic field to the working air gap initially produces a high mmf (ampere turns) and relatively low flux level across the air gap. This high product of mmf x flux (read energy) produces a high starting force. As the plunger is incremented (ds) the energy of motion, F∙ds, is extracted from the air gap energy. Inherent with the plunger increment of motion, the air gap permeance increases slightly, the magnetic flux increases, the mmf across the air gap decreases slightly; all of which results in maintaining a high product of mmf x flux. Because of the increased flux level a rise in ampere-turns drops elsewhere in the ferrous circuit (predominately in the pole geometry) causes the reduction of air gap ampere-turns and, therefore, the reduced potential energy of the field at the air gap. Further incrementing of the plunger causes a continuing decrease of the solenoid force thus creating an ideal condition for motion control as controlled by the current to the solenoid coil. The aforementioned pole geometry, having a linearly changing path area, produces a nearly linear change in force. An opposing spring force or a dual ended solenoid (two coils) allows over and back motion control. Closed loop control improves the linearity and stiffness of the system.
The rotary solenoid is an electromechanical device used to rotate a ratcheting mechanism when power is applied. These were used in the 1950s for rotary snap-switch automation in electromechanical controls. Repeated actuation of the rotary solenoid advances the snap-switch forward one position. Two rotary actuators on opposite ends of the rotary snap-switch shaft, can advance or reverse the switch position.
The rotary solenoid has a similar appearance to a linear solenoid, except that the armature core is mounted in the center of a large flat disk, with three inclined raceways coined into the underside of the disk. These grooves align with raceways on the solenoid body, separated by ball bearings in the races.
When the solenoid is activated, the armature core is magnetically attracted toward the stator pole, and the disk rotates on the ball bearings in the races as it moves towards the coil body. When power is removed, a spring on the disk rotates it back to its starting position both rotationally and axially.
The rotary solenoid was invented in 1944 by George H. Leland, of Dayton, Ohio, to provide a more reliable and shock/vibration tolerant release mechanism for air-dropped bombs. Previously used linear (axial) solenoids were prone to inadvertent releases. U.S. Patent number 2,496,880 describes the electromagnet and inclined raceways that are the basis of the invention. Leland's engineer, Earl W. Kerman, was instrumental in developing a compatible bomb release shackle that incorporated the rotary solenoid. Bomb shackles of this type are found in a B-29 aircraft fuselage on display at the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton, Ohio. Solenoids of this variety continue to be used in countless modern applications and are still manufactured under Leland's original brand "Ledex", now owned by Johnson Electric.
Appearing on the market in the 1980s, the solely rotary solenoid with a balanced 3-lobed iron vane rotor offered improved vibration isolation by eliminating the axial motion of the rotor. This device allowed proportional, quiet positioning as well as a rapid rotation for uses such as mail sorters and conveyor gating. Then followed a permanent magnet rotor version (U.S. Patent 5,337,030; 1994 ) that provided rapid, electrical, bi-directional rotation.
A rotary voice coil is a rotational version of a solenoid. Typically the fixed magnet is on the outside, and the coil part moves in an arc controlled by the current flow through the coils. Rotary voice coils are widely employed in devices such as disk drives.[ citation needed ] The working part of a moving coil meter is also a type of rotary voice coil that pivots around the pointer axis, a hairspring is usually used to provide a weak nearly linear restoring force.
A pneumatic solenoid valve is a switch for routing air to any pneumatic device, usually an actuator, allowing a relatively small signal to control a large device. It is also the interface between electronic controllers and pneumatic systems.[ citation needed ]
Hydraulic solenoid valves are in general similar to pneumatic solenoid valves except that they control the flow of hydraulic fluid (oil), often at around 3000 psi (210 bar, 21 MPa, 21 MN/m2). Hydraulic machinery uses solenoids to control the flow of oil to rams or actuators. Solenoid-controlled valves are often used in irrigation systems, where a relatively weak solenoid opens and closes a small pilot valve, which in turn activates the main valve by applying fluid pressure to a piston or diaphragm that is mechanically coupled to the main valve. Solenoids are also in everyday household items such as washing machines to control the flow and amount of water into the drum.
Transmission solenoids control fluid flow through an automatic transmission and are typically installed in the transmission valve body.
In a car or truck, the starter solenoid is part of an automobile engine's ignition system. The starter solenoid receives a large electric current from the car battery and a small electric current from the ignition switch. When the ignition switch is turned on (i.e. when the key is turned to start the car), the small electric current forces the starter solenoid to close a pair of heavy contacts, thus relaying the large electric current to the starter motor. This is a type of relay.
Starter solenoids can also be built into the starter itself, often visible on the outside of the starter. If a starter solenoid receives insufficient power from the battery, it will fail to start the motor and may produce a rapid, distinctive "clicking" or "clacking" sound. This can be caused by a low or dead battery, by corroded or loose connections to the battery, or by a broken or damaged positive (red) cable from the battery. Any of these will result in some power to the solenoid, but not enough to hold the heavy contacts closed, so the starter motor itself never spins, and the engine fails to start.
In physics, the Lorentz transformations are a six-parameter family of linear transformations from a coordinate frame in spacetime to another frame that moves at a constant velocity relative to the former. The respective inverse transformation is then parameterized by the negative of this velocity. The transformations are named after the Dutch physicist Hendrik Lorentz.
An electromagnet is a type of magnet in which the magnetic field is produced by an electric current. Electromagnets usually consist of wire wound into a coil. A current through the wire creates a magnetic field which is concentrated in the hole, denoting the center of the coil. The magnetic field disappears when the current is turned off. The wire turns are often wound around a magnetic core made from a ferromagnetic or ferrimagnetic material such as iron; the magnetic core concentrates the magnetic flux and makes a more powerful magnet.
Inductance is the tendency of an electrical conductor to oppose a change in the electric current flowing through it. The flow of electric current creates a magnetic field around the conductor. The field strength depends on the magnitude of the current, and follows any changes in current. From Faraday's law of induction, any change in magnetic field through a circuit induces an electromotive force (EMF) (voltage) in the conductors, a process known as electromagnetic induction. This induced voltage created by the changing current has the effect of opposing the change in current. This is stated by Lenz's law, and the voltage is called back EMF.
The Mie solution to Maxwell's equations describes the scattering of an electromagnetic plane wave by a homogeneous sphere. The solution takes the form of an infinite series of spherical multipole partial waves. It is named after Gustav Mie.
Skin effect is the tendency of an alternating electric current (AC) to become distributed within a conductor such that the current density is largest near the surface of the conductor and decreases exponentially with greater depths in the conductor. The electric current flows mainly at the "skin" of the conductor, between the outer surface and a level called the skin depth. Skin depth depends on the frequency of the alternating current; as frequency increases, current flow moves to the surface, resulting in less skin depth. Skin effect reduces the effective cross-section of the conductor and thus increases its effective resistance. Skin effect is caused by opposing eddy currents induced by the changing magnetic field resulting from the alternating current. At 60 Hz in copper, the skin depth is about 8.5 mm. At high frequencies the skin depth becomes much smaller.
An electromagnetic four-potential is a relativistic vector function from which the electromagnetic field can be derived. It combines both an electric scalar potential and a magnetic vector potential into a single four-vector.
In electromagnetism, permeability is the measure of magnetization that a material obtains in response to an applied magnetic field. Permeability is typically represented by the (italicized) Greek letter μ. The term was coined in September 1885 by Oliver Heaviside. The reciprocal of permeability is magnetic reluctivity.
A magnetic circuit is made up of one or more closed loop paths containing a magnetic flux. The flux is usually generated by permanent magnets or electromagnets and confined to the path by magnetic cores consisting of ferromagnetic materials like iron, although there may be air gaps or other materials in the path. Magnetic circuits are employed to efficiently channel magnetic fields in many devices such as electric motors, generators, transformers, relays, lifting electromagnets, SQUIDs, galvanometers, and magnetic recording heads.
Magnetic vector potential, A, is the vector quantity in classical electromagnetism defined so that its curl is equal to the magnetic field: . Together with the electric potential φ, the magnetic vector potential can be used to specify the electric field E as well. Therefore, many equations of electromagnetism can be written either in terms of the fields E and B, or equivalently in terms of the potentials φ and A. In more advanced theories such as quantum mechanics, most equations use potentials rather than fields.
The search coil magnetometer or induction magnetometer, based on an inductive sensor, is a magnetometer which measures the varying magnetic flux. An inductive sensor connected to a conditioning electronic circuit constitutes a search coil magnetometer. It is a vector magnetometer which can measure one or more components of the magnetic field. A classical configuration uses three orthogonal inductive sensors. The search-coil magnetometer can measure magnetic field from mHz up to hundreds of MHz.
In physics, the Einstein relation is a previously unexpected connection revealed independently by William Sutherland in 1904, Albert Einstein in 1905, and by Marian Smoluchowski in 1906 in their works on Brownian motion. The more general form of the equation is
The covariant formulation of classical electromagnetism refers to ways of writing the laws of classical electromagnetism in a form that is manifestly invariant under Lorentz transformations, in the formalism of special relativity using rectilinear inertial coordinate systems. These expressions both make it simple to prove that the laws of classical electromagnetism take the same form in any inertial coordinate system, and also provide a way to translate the fields and forces from one frame to another. However, this is not as general as Maxwell's equations in curved spacetime or non-rectilinear coordinate systems.
In physics, Maxwell's equations in curved spacetime govern the dynamics of the electromagnetic field in curved spacetime or where one uses an arbitrary coordinate system. These equations can be viewed as a generalization of the vacuum Maxwell's equations which are normally formulated in the local coordinates of flat spacetime. But because general relativity dictates that the presence of electromagnetic fields induce curvature in spacetime, Maxwell's equations in flat spacetime should be viewed as a convenient approximation.
There are various mathematical descriptions of the electromagnetic field that are used in the study of electromagnetism, one of the four fundamental interactions of nature. In this article, several approaches are discussed, although the equations are in terms of electric and magnetic fields, potentials, and charges with currents, generally speaking.
The Chandrasekhar number is a dimensionless quantity used in magnetic convection to represent ratio of the Lorentz force to the viscosity. It is named after the Indian astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.
An electromagnetic lock, magnetic lock, or maglock is a locking device that consists of an electromagnet and an armature plate. There are two main types of electric locking devices. Locking devices can be either "fail safe" or "fail secure". A fail-secure locking device remains locked when power is lost. Fail-safe locking devices are unlocked when de-energized. Direct pull electromagnetic locks are inherently fail-safe. Typically the electromagnet portion of the lock is attached to the door frame and a mating armature plate is attached to the door. The two components are in contact when the door is closed. When the electromagnet is energized, a current passing through the electromagnet creates a magnetic flux that causes the armature plate to attract to the electromagnet, creating a locking action. Because the mating area of the electromagnet and armature is relatively large, the force created by the magnetic flux is strong enough to keep the door locked even under stress.
The article Ferromagnetic material properties is intended to contain a glossary of terms used to describe ferromagnetic materials, and magnetic cores.
Magnets exert forces and torques on each other due to the rules of electromagnetism. The forces of attraction field of magnets are due to microscopic currents of electrically charged electrons orbiting nuclei and the intrinsic magnetism of fundamental particles that make up the material. Both of these are modeled quite well as tiny loops of current called magnetic dipoles that produce their own magnetic field and are affected by external magnetic fields. The most elementary force between magnets is the magnetic dipole–dipole interaction. If all of the magnetic dipoles that make up two magnets are known then the net force on both magnets can be determined by summing up all these interactions between the dipoles of the first magnet and that of the second.
An electropermanent magnet or EPM is a type of permanent magnet in which the external magnetic field can be switched on or off by a pulse of electric current in a wire winding around part of the magnet. The magnet consists of two sections, one of "hard" magnetic material and one of "soft" material. The direction of magnetization in the latter piece can be switched by a pulse of current in a wire winding about the former. When the magnetically soft and hard materials have opposing magnetizations, the magnet produces no net external field across its poles, while when their direction of magnetization is aligned the magnet produces an external magnetic field.
A loop-gap resonator (LGR) is an electromagnetic resonator that operates in the radio and microwave frequency ranges. The simplest LGRs are made from a conducting tube with a narrow slit cut along its length. The LGR dimensions are typically much smaller than the free-space wavelength of the electromagnetic fields at the resonant frequency. Therefore, relatively compact LGRs can be designed to operate at frequencies that are too low to be accessed using, for example, cavity resonators. These structures can have very sharp resonances making them useful for electron spin resonance (ESR) experiments, and precision measurements of electromagnetic material properties.
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