is a device which responds to metal that may not be readily apparent.The simplest form of a metal detector consists of anoscillator producing an alternatingcurrent that passes through a coil producing an alternatingmagnetic field. If a piece of electrically conductive metal is close to the coil,eddy currentswill be induced in themetal, and this produces an alternating magnetic field of its own. If another coil is used tomeasure the magnetic field (acting as amagnetometer ), the change in the magnetic fielddue to the metallic object can be detected.The first industrial metal detectors were developed in the 1960s and were usedextensively for mining and other industrial applications. Uses includede-mining(thedetection of land mines), the detection of weapons such as knives and guns, especially inairport security,geophysical prospecting,archaeology andtreasure hunting. Metaldetectors are also used to detect foreign bodies in food, and in theconstruction industrytodetectsteel reinforcing barsin concrete and pipes and wires buried in walls and floors.
History and development
Toward the end of the 19th century, many scientists and engineers used their growingknowledge of electrical theory in an attempt to devise a machine which would pinpointmetal. The use of such a device to find ore-bearing rocks would give a huge advantage toany miner who employed it. The German physicistHeinrich Wilhelm Doveinvented theinduction balance system, which was incorporated into metal detectors a hundred yearslater. Early machines were crude, used a lot of battery power, and worked only to a verylimited degree.Alexander Graham Bellused such a device to attempt to locate a bulletlodged in the chest of American PresidentJames Garfieldin 1881; the attempt wasunsuccessful because the metal coil spring bed Garfield was lying on confused thedetector.
The modern development of the metal detector began in the 1930s.Gerhard Fisher haddeveloped a system of radio direction-finding, which was to be used for accuratenavigation. The system worked extremely well, but Fisher noticed that there wereanomalies in areas where the terrain contained ore-bearing rocks. He reasoned that if aradio beam could be distorted by metal, then it should be possible to design a machinewhich would detect metal using a search coil resonating at a radio frequency. In 1937 heapplied for, and was granted, the first patent for a metal detector. However, it was oneLieutenantJosef Stanislaw Kosacki, a Polish officer attached to a unit stationed inStAndrews,Fife,Scotlandduring the early years of World War II,that refined the designinto a practicalPolish mine detector . They were heavy, ran on vacuum tubes, and neededseparate battery packs.