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Difference between an inductor and a solenoid

  1. Jun 13, 2009 #1
    I've just recently seen the term "inductor" for the first time and it kind of threw me off.
    I'm just wondering, what's the difference between an inductor and a solenoid, if there is one?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2009 #2
    Re: Inductor

    A solenoid most accurately describes an inductor wound in the shape of a cylinder.
  4. Jun 13, 2009 #3
    Re: Inductor

    Inductors are generally used to control current flow as a lossless impedance (jwL), as part of a resonant circuit (LC), or as a filter or reactance in a power supply. They are also used to store energy in switching supplies. The main difference is that inductors are used to control current and store magnetic energy, and solenoids are usually designed to provide a magnetic field. Efficient inductors have ferrite or laminated steel in them to enhance the B field.
  5. Jun 13, 2009 #4
    Re: Inductor

    That does seem to be the usual intent. The etymology derives from the greek solen, for pipe. RF inductors wound in a cylinder are referred to as solenoids, as well.
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