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# Plotting B-H Curves

CONTENTS
Experiments In Plotting Magnetization Curves ..................................................................... 2
Core Windings ............................................................................................................. 2
Circuit diagram ............................................................................................................ 2
Circuit Construction ...................................................................................................... 3
Principle Of Operation ................................................................................................... 3
Finding H .................................................................................................................... 3
Finding B .................................................................................................................... 4
Plotting B against H ...................................................................................................... 4
Calculating The Permeability Of A Core ........................................................................... 5
Results Using Op-Amp Integrator And Test Core .............................................................. 7
Estimating Hysteresis Losses ......................................................................................... 8
B-H Curve Demonstration Unit ........................................................................................ 10
Triangle Wave Generator ............................................................................................ 10
Coil Driver ................................................................................................................. 10
Integrator ................................................................................................................. 11
Core ......................................................................................................................... 11
Circuit Construction .................................................................................................... 12
Complete Circuit ........................................................................................................... 13
Issues .......................................................................................................................... 14

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## Plotting B-H Curves

Experiments In Plotting Magnetization Curves
The circuit discussed can be used to measure the B-H characteristics of certain ferromagnetic
components.
The core should be a toroid or other shape having a closed magnetic path. A proof of concept
circuit was constructed and used to plot hysteresis loops with a rectangular core about 15mm
by 10mm with a square cross section about 3mm by 3mm, giving a mean magnetic path length
of about 50mm and a core volume of about 450mm3

## The required plot is of B against H (Flux Density vs

Magnetic Field Strength) typically of the form shown on
the right

Core Windings
Two windings on the core are required (a primary, and a secondary). The experimental core
was wound with as many turns on the primary as would fit (to ensure the core could be taken
to saturation with a reasonably small primary current).
Thick wire (29 SWG approx. 0.35 mm ) was used for the primary to ensure minimal
primary resistance and so low I2R losses (the permeability for typical ferrites being significantly
temperature dependent).
The primary and secondary were bifilar wound to ensure good coupling (and for expedience..).

Circuit diagram

## R1 = 5 x 10 resistors in parallel = 2 , 1.25 W

R2 = 100 K
C1 = 470 nF
L1: Bifilar windings, 60T.
Primary wound with thickest wire practical.
Secondary thickness not important, so use
thin wire so the secondary occupies the
minimal volume.
Signal source: 5 KHz, variable amplitude

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## Plotting B-H Curves

Circuit Construction
The test circuit was constructed on Vero board:

## Core under test

R1
R2
C1

Principle Of Operation
The core is energized through the primary using an AC source. The wave shape is not
important a sinusoidal wave is most easily obtained, but a triangular wave is preferable for
even display brightness (the waveform is used to drive the X axis of an oscilloscope in X-Y
mode so a sine wave will dwell at the extremes of the sweep).

Finding H
The current in the primary winding is monitored by measuring the voltage developed across R1:
I p = V R1 / R1

Equation 1

## The resulting magnetic field strength in the core is defined as:

H = Np x Ip / L

Eq. 2

where:

I p = Primary current
N p = Number of turns
L = Mean magnetic path length

From Eq. 1:
V R1

Ip

V R1

So:

Proportionality 1

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## Plotting B-H Curves

Finding B
From Faradays Law:
V s = N s d/dt

Eq. 3

where:

## d/dt = Rate of change of flux

N s = Number of turns in secondary

V s dt = N s

Eq. 4

## The RC network R2 C1 gives an approximate integration of the voltage on the secondary

assuming the time constant R2 x C1 is long compared with the signal frequency (so V c is small
resulting in the voltage across R2 being approximately constant and so making the charging
current proportional to V s ).
So the capacitor voltage is proportional to the flux:
Vc

Prop. 2

B=/A

Eq. 5

where:

## A = cross sectional area of core

So
Vc

Prop. 3

Plotting B against H
The key relationships are the proportionalities Prop. 1 and Prop. 3:
V R1
Vc

So plotting V C against V R1 on an oscilloscope in X-Y mode will plot the B-H curve for the core.

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## Plotting B-H Curves

Below are plots produced by the test circuit:

Core saturating

## Both plots: X axis 50mV/div

Y axis: 5mV/div
Calculating The Permeability Of A Core
To make accurate calculations of the permeability of the core, a more accurate integrator is
required. The standard op-amp integrator circuit can be used as shown below, R3 goes some
way towards reducing drift, but offset null circuitry would be required to remove completely the
tendency for the integrator to accumulate the effects of the op-amp input voltage and current
offsets.

## Op-Amp output, V 0 , is the inverse to the integral of

the input voltage:
Vo = -

V s /(C1 R2) dt

R1 = 5 x 10 resistors in parallel = 2
R2 = 1 K
R3 = 10 M
C1 = 0.47 F
To calculate the permeability of the core, the physical dimensions of the core and the turns on
the secondary winding must be known.
For the experimental core:
N p = 60
N s = 60
Mean Magnetic Path Length, L = 50 mm
= 0.05 m
Core cross sectional area,
A = 3 x 3 = 9 mm2 = 9x10-6 m2

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## Plotting B-H Curves

V c and V R1 are read directly from the oscilloscope and I p calculated from Eq 1
Referring to Eq. 2, values for N p , I p and L can be entered allowing a value for H to be
calculated:
H = (N p V R1 ) / (L R1)

Eq. 6

Vo = -

V s /(C1 R2) dt

## Taking constants outside the integral:

V o = - 1/(C1 R2) x

## But from Eq. 4:

So

V s dt = N s

V s dt

V o = - (N s ) / (C1 R2)

## Rearranging (and ignoring the minus sign) gives:

= (V o C1 R2) / N s

## Flux density is given by:

B=/A
So
B = (V o C1 R2) / (N s A)

## Where V o , C1, R2, N s and A are all known

Eq. 7

With the two values provided by Eq. 6 and Eq. 7, the permeability can be calculated:
=B/H

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## Plotting B-H Curves

The core losses can also be calculated (approximately) from the area enclosed by the hysteresis
loop.
Draw a rectangle round the hysteresis loop the energy represented by the rectangle (E R ) can
be calculated from the area knowing the scale factor from Eq. 6 and Eq. 7.
Measure / calculate the area of the hysteresis loop the energy represented by the loop (E L ) is:
E L = E R x (Area of loop) / (Area of rectangle)

## Results Using Op-Amp Integrator And Test Core

The op-amp integrator circuit was constructed and the tests on the core repeated. The
following image shows the results:

X axis: 20 mV / Div
Y axis: 0.2 V / Div
Source Frequency: 250 Hz

Circuit values:

A = 9x10-6 m2
L = 0.05 m
N P = 60
N S = 60

R1 = 2
R2 = 1 K
C1 = 470 nF

## Substituting the above values in to Eq. 6 and 7:

H = (N p V R1 ) / (L R1)
H = (60 x 0.12) / (0.05 x 2)
H = 72 A/m

Eq. 8

B = (V o C1 R2) / (N s A)
B = (0.96 x 470 x 10-9 x 103) / (60 x 9 x 10-6)
B = 0.84 Tesla

Eq. 9
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Voltage measurements:
X axis: 120 mV (V R1 )
Y axis: 0.96 V
(V o )

## Plotting B-H Curves

Now the permeability can be calculated:
=B/H
= 0.84/72 H m-1
= 11.7 mH m-1
But

= 0 r

So

r = (11.7 x 10-3) / 0
r = (11.7 x 10-3) / (4 x 10-7)
r 9300

## Estimating Hysteresis Losses

1) The picture of the oscilloscope trace was
imported to a graphics package.

2)

## The "trace" selected and flood filled with

white to give a clearly delineated outline.

white.

4)

## The area outside the outline flood filled

black and the image cropped to just
enclose the curve.

Having achieved a clear, high contrast shape, a graphics analysis package will give the total
number of pixels in the image, and the total number of pixels coloured white. This task is
outside the ability of most "painting" type graphics packages so something a little more
specialised may be needed. ADI (Analyzing Digital Images) is free and does the job very easily.
ADI returned a "white to whole picture" ratio of 11.7% for the captured image above.

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## Plotting B-H Curves

The axes of the plot have units B and H. In fundamental units:
B

## = (Newton x second) / (Coulomb x metre)

= Amps / metre
= Coulomb / (second x metre)

## So an area on the plot has units:

B x H = (N x s x C) / (C x s x m2)
= N / m2
= Nm / m3
B x H = J / m3
So substituting the values for H and B obtained in Eq. 8 and 9:
Energy density for rectangle enclosing B-H curve = 0.84 x 72 J/m3
Energy density = 60.5 J/m3

Eq. 10

## Of this rectangle, 11.7% was enclosed by the hysteresis curve, therefore:

Energy density of losses per cycle = 0.117 x 60.5 J/m3
Multiplying the energy loss density by the core volume gives the actual core loss per cycle:
Core loss per cycle = 0.05 x 9 x 10--6 x 60.5 J
Core loss per cycle = 27.2 x 10--6

## As frequency of signal was 250 Hz:

Core loss per second = 250 x 27.2 x 10--6

J/s

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## Plotting B-H Curves

B-H Curve Demonstration Unit
Having shown the validity of the design concept, a completely self-contained demonstration unit
was designed with sufficiently robust construction to allow classroom use.
The demonstration unit includes a signal generator (to create the primary current waveform)
and power amplifier to drive the primary winding on the test core. The primary current
amplitude is adjustable to allow demonstration of the on-set of core saturation etc.
The secondary winding output is fed to an op-amp integrator.
The circuits run from a dual power supply regulated at plus and minus five volts. The regulated
supplies help to ensure minimum drift in the integrator circuits.

## Triangle Wave Generator

The primary current triangular waveform
is generated using the standard
inverting integrator circuit (U2, C1, R2)
and a non-inverting Schmitt Trigger (U1,
R1, R3).
The output swing of the Schmitt trigger
(the integration voltage) is not fully railto-rail which impacts on the output
frequency. The frequency of oscillation
of the circuit as built was 485Hz.

Coil Driver
The output of the triangle wave generator is fed to a small potentiometer (RV1) which allows
adjustment of the signal level.
The signal is AC coupled / DC restored by C2/R4 and fed to the power amplifier which has a
voltage gain of 15 (determined by R5 and R6) and current gain is provided by transistors Q1
and Q2.

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## Plotting B-H Curves

Integrator
The values of R8 and C3 were chosen to provide a suitably large integrated output (without
driving the op-amp U4 in to saturation) when the core was driven in to saturation.
RV2 and R12 provide off-set null and prevent drift of the integrator output.

Components R7, R8 and C3 are used in the calculation of B and H. Therefore these values need
to be known accurately. The components used were measured and the following values
recorded:
R7 = 10.6
R8 = 98.5 K
C3 = 11.6 nF

Core
The core used had the following dimensions:
OD:
ID:
Thickness:
Height:
Area:
Mean Path Length:
Primary turns:
Secondary turns:

15.6 mm
9.8 mm
2.9 mm
6.78 mm
19.7 mm
40 mm
75
75

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## Plotting B-H Curves

Circuit Construction

Power Input
Triangle wave
Schmitt trigger
Outputs:
0V
H output
B output

Voltage Regulation

B Integrator

Test core

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Complete Circuit

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## Plotting B-H Curves

Issues
The following issues will need to be considered:
1) The oscilloscope image was a photograph taken on a hand held, general purpose
camera, and so some degree of keystone distortion was present this will degrade the
accuracy of area calculations.
It would be preferable to use a proper oscilloscope camera or an oscilloscope that can
provide a digital screen capture
2) The value of core power loss was quoted above to two significant figures, but it is
difficult to read the oscilloscope to this level of accuracy.
An oscilloscope with cursors to read values would reduce this problem
3) The thickness of the trace in the images introduces uncertainty in the area
measurements.
An A3 printout of the curve was produced and the areas measured with a planimeter:

## This gave a curve/image ratio of 8.7%

4) The actual values / tolerance of R1, R2 and C1 will impact on the accuracy of the
calculations.
The true values of the critical components can be measured.
5) The core dimensions were estimated.
The real core dimensions would be available through manufacturers data.

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