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An Introduction To Eddy Currents And Its Applications

Author : Chris Sturat

Eddy currents are produced in response to a changing magnetic field. The current moves in a direction that is opposite to that of the source magnetic field. If the magnitude of the source magnetic field is increase, the force of the eddy current, likewise enhances. The current setup in the conductor is as a result of electrons experiencing a Lorentz Force. As a result, you can see them moving to the right or the left direction, influenced by the direction in which force is applied. It is to be noted that the production of eddy currents can happens not just when a conducting object is exposed to a magnetic field that lies outside its body, but also when there is a change in the direction of the magnetic field inside the conductor also.

The discovery of Eddy Currents

The process of Eddy currnents was first observed by Francois Arago in 1824. h put forth the theory of rotatory magnetism, but comprehensive explanation on the working of eddy currents was given by Michael Faraday. Further research in the operation of eddy currents was done by Heinrich Lenz. L?on Foucault was the person who brought out the operation of eddy current with considerable experiments in 1855 and is also credit with its real discovery. In 1879 D.E. Hughes conducted some non-destructive test using eddy currents.

Eddy Currents and its Applications

Eddy currents have several applications. They are seen in proximity sensors, traffic sensors, metal detectors and mechanical speedometers. They are primarily used to transform useful energy into other forms. Mostly, you can see it transforming useful energy into a less useful form. One of the most practical examples of such a conversion is the application of brakes. When the brakes are applied, the metal wheels are exposed to a magnetic field, which causes eddy currents to generate in the wheels, making the wheels slow down. In coin operating vending machines, eddy currents are used to find out the presence of fake coins. When eddy currents are applied to the coins, it slows down their movement. The movement of fake coins is much slower than that of real coins and this feature helps to differentiate them from original ones.

Eddy currents can create heat and electromagnetic force, both of which can be applied in so many different ways. The heat can be used for induction heating and the electromagnetic force can be used for creating movement and even levitation. They are commonly used in nondestructive examination (NDE) of different metallic structures.

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Read more details about eddy currents and how do ocean currents affect climate .

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Submitted : 2011-04-22    Word Count : 870    Times Viewed: 443