Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What is the purpose of an inductor?

  1. Sep 15, 2018 #1
    If an inductor requires a changing current to produce a voltage drop across itself Then is there any purpose to an inductor with constant current going through it? Is AC usually used with inductors since its always changing.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2018 #2

    NascentOxygen

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Inductors come in all shapes and sizes. They have various uses, many at the fundamental level basically exploit the inductor's mathematical function that ##v(t)\ =\ L.\dfrac{di(t)}{dt}##
    though some applications also exploit non-linear behavior of the inductor's core material.

    Where the inductor current is fixed, often it's the presence of the inductor that is causing the circuit current to be constant.

    An example where an inductor may be fed a constant current is an electromagnet.
     
  4. Sep 15, 2018 #3
    Here is another question about Inductors. What kind of energy is stored in inductors? Capacitor is easy because it is stored in an electric field and that is basically just more electrons on what side of a "plate" than the other which is potential energy in the classical mechanics sense. What about an inductor, is that potential energy, if so how so?
     
  5. Sep 15, 2018 #4

    anorlunda

    Staff: Mentor

    Magnetic field. To the uninformed, electric fields sound more "physical" than magnetic fields, but in reality they are both part of the same electromagnetic effects.
     
  6. Sep 15, 2018 #5
    I always found thinking of electromagnetism as oscillating charges as opposed to oscillating electromagnetic fields. Something more physical to grasp as an idea I suppose.
     
  7. Sep 15, 2018 #6

    anorlunda

    Staff: Mentor

    That is a really poor way to learn things, just sitting there trying to visualize them in your mind. I suggest a textbook, or a course on video as much more effective ways to learn.
     
  8. Sep 15, 2018 #7
    Thanks for the advice!
     
  9. Sep 15, 2018 #8

    jim hardy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The way to appreciate inductance is working with it -

    Sadly automobiles no longer have points .
    Every kid in my generation got 'bit' by the inductive 'kick' of an ignition coil;
    which gives you a literal feeling of e = -L di/dt . (or if you prefer Δamps / Δtime) .


    https://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Experiment-to-Visualize-Magnetic-Fields/
     
  10. Sep 16, 2018 #9

    jim hardy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Think of magnetic flux as a massless fluid that surrounds any current.
    We can't see it, i guess Mother Nature wanted us to figure it out when we were ready.
    But the old "Sprinkle iron filings around a coil with DC" trick reveals it
    picture courtesy of https://physics.unm.edu/pandaweb/demos/images/5h1540.jpg
    5h1540.jpg

    you can even see the little circles surrounding each individual wire . In a transformer they'd be 'leakage flux.

    With AC current the whole field expands, contracts and reverses direction at line frequency..

    So put your imagination to work and improve your mental image.
     
  11. Sep 19, 2018 #10
    Lives of buck converters, boost converters, and buck-boost converters would be so empty without inductors.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted