Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker

DCT - number: 2006.051

B.P.T. van Goch

0528204



















May 24 2006



Supervisors
Dr. ir. M.J.G. van de Molengraft
Ir. R.J.E. Merry
Ing. R. Verhage
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Contents


Summary .................................................................................................................... 3
Introduction................................................................................................................. 5
1. Solenoid principle ................................................................................................... 7
2. Requirements ......................................................................................................... 9
2.1 Transported distance.................................................................................... 9
2.2 Energy........................................................................................................ 10
2.3 Geometry ................................................................................................... 11
2.4 Requirements............................................................................................. 12
3. Approach .............................................................................................................. 13
3.1 FEMM......................................................................................................... 13
3.2 Mesh size................................................................................................... 14
3.3 Energy calculation...................................................................................... 15
3.4 Lua scripts.................................................................................................. 15
3.5 Data processing ......................................................................................... 16
4. Optimization.......................................................................................................... 17
4.1 Solenoid ..................................................................................................... 17
4.2 Plunger....................................................................................................... 18
4.2.1 Plunger length..................................................................................... 18
4.2.2 Plunger radii ........................................................................................ 19
4.2.3 Plunger material .................................................................................. 20
4.2.4 Plunger geometry................................................................................ 21
4.3 Shield ......................................................................................................... 22
4.3.1 Shield material .................................................................................... 22
4.3.2 Shield thickness .................................................................................. 23
4.4 Coil ............................................................................................................. 24
4.4.1 Turns................................................................................................... 24
4.4.2 Layers ................................................................................................. 25
4.4.3 Length................................................................................................. 26
4.4.4 Wire thickness..................................................................................... 26
5. Final design....................................................................................................... 29
5.1 Final parameters ........................................................................................ 29
5.2 Transported distance.................................................................................. 30
5.3 Shooting parameters.................................................................................. 32
5.4 Temperature............................................................................................... 32
6. Conclusion............................................................................................................ 33
Recommendations.................................................................................................... 35
Bibliography.............................................................................................................. 37
List of symbols.......................................................................................................... 39
Appendix 1: Time constant figure ............................................................................. 41
Appendix 2: Example of a lua script ......................................................................... 43
Appendix 3: AWG data............................................................................................. 45
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Summary

This study, performed for the TechUnited team, continues the research for
using a solenoid as a kicking mechanism for Robocup purposes. In a former study, it
was found that a solenoid is the most useful option for such a mechanism for a
Robocup robot.

A solenoid is a coil that generates a magnetic field. Due to this magnetic field,
a force acts on a ferromagnetic projectile, called the plunger, in this magnetic field.
This force moves the plunger toward the centre of the coil. This moving plunger can
be used to kick the ball. The robot of the team the plunger does not kick directly
against the ball, but it uses a lever to kick. Due to restrictions of the Robocup
federation, as well as demands of the team, the robot designed in the former study
will be optimized. This optimization should result in a robot which works at a lower
power level. The solenoid designed previously worked at 30.8 kW, and the aim of this
study is to obtain a solenoid working at 3 kW. It also has to fit in the existing
TechUnited robot, called the Turtle.

The solenoid designed in this study is tested in a computer program called
FEMM. In this program different parameters of the solenoid are studied, like the coil
itself, the plunger in it, a shield to get a greater force to the plunger. Geometric
properties as well as different materials are investigated.

All results are put together and a solenoid is designed which meets all
requirements. The solenoid designed consists of a coil of 16 AWG copper wire, with
2080 turns in 26 layers, a length of 105 mm and an outer radius of 35 mm. The
plunger is a solid cylinder of 1020 Steel with a length of 160 mm and a radius of 13
mm. The shield is also made of 1020 Steel and has an axial thickness of 10 mm and
a radial thickness of 50 mm.

With these characteristics, the voltage and power required are strongly
reduced, and the length of the system is much smaller than the maximal length
allowed. However, a lot of research has to be done before the optimal solenoid for
the robot is obtained.
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Introduction

Since 2005, the University of Technology Eindhoven, together with the
University of Technology Delft, participates in the midsize league of the Robocup,
under the name TechUnited. Before entering the playfield, a complete robot team
had to be built. One of the mechanisms a Robocup robot consists of is a shooting
mechanism to kick the ball. A robot of the team, called the turtle, is shown in Fig. 1,
which is equipped with a shooting mechanism based on a pneumatic spring.

In a previous study, Cees-Jan Zandsteeg studied different types of shooting
mechanisms and found that there are three kinds of major shooting devices: springs,
pneumatics and solenoids [1]. In this previous project, properties of the different
shooting types, such as shooting power, costs, power modulation etc. were
compared. The solenoid was found to be the most attractive option. Based on the
requirements and demands of the TechUnited team and Robocup regulations, a
solenoid has been designed.

However, the solenoid designed could be improved in several ways. The
solenoid works at a very high power level, therefore the efficiency should be studied
and a new solenoid has to be designed. It has to be equipped with a controller to
make it useful to work with. It also has to be tested to check the predicted
parameters.

The aim of this study is to optimize the solenoid, improving its efficiency and
decrease the required power. To get an idea of the solenoid’s working mechanism,
this is first explained in Chapter one. Chapter two handles the requirements that have
to be met. In Chapter three the approach of analyzing the solenoids is shown. The
optimization is described in Chapter four, which leads to the final design in Chapter
five. The conclusions can be found in Chapter six.


















Figure 1: A Turtle
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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1. Solenoid principle

When a current is sent through a loop of a wire, a magnetic field is build. A
solenoid is based on this principle, shown in Fig. 1.1. It contains a lot of loops of wire,
forming a coil, producing a magnetic field when an electrical current is send through
it.
For a Robocup shooting mechanism, an electromechanical solenoid is found
to be the most optimal solution [1]. Electromechanical solenoids consist of a coil
wound around a movable steel or iron projectile, called the plunger. The shape of the
coil allows the plunger to move in and out of the center. This alters the coil's
inductance, which is a measure of the amount of magnetic flux produced for a given
electric current. The inductance is dependent of the position of the plunger.
The plunger is used to provide a mechanical force which will be used to kick
the ball. The force applied to the plunger by the coil is proportional to the change in
current, radius and length of the coil, etc. and will always move the plunger in a
direction that increases the coil's inductance.
Solenoids have a typical time constant with a value of L/R, which is the
inductance L divided by the electrical resistance R of the coil. The time constant
causes a delay in turning the coil on and off. It takes about 5 times the time constant
to build up or break down the current required in the coil. So a large time constant
means an increase of the reaction time of the solenoid. An example of the current
build up or break down is given in Apendix 1.


Figure 1.1: A schematic representation of a solenoid
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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2. Requirements

The solenoid for the Turtle has to meet some requirements. These are
restrictions by the Robocup federation as well as demands of the team.

2.1 Transported distance

In the Robocup rules, the size of each midsize league robot player must meet
the following criteria [3]:

1. Each robot must possess a configuration of itself and its actuators, where
the projection of the robot’s shape onto the floor fits into a square of size
at least 30 cm × 30 cm and at most 50 cm × 50 cm.

2. Every robot may not have configurations of itself and its actuators, where
the projection of the robot’s shape onto the floor exceeds a square of size
60 cm × 60 cm.

3. The robot should be in the configuration that fits within the 50 cm × 50 cm
square for the majority of play time, in particular when moving
around the field, and only occasionally, e.g. when kicking or dribbling,
extend to the 60 cm × 60 cm limit.

To fulfill these requirements the solenoid of the previous study, has a
transported distance of 100 mm. The solenoid directly hits the ball. Therefore, the
robot would instantaneous be 60cm x 50cm during shooting, which is not in violation
of the rules.

However the shooting mechanism has been modified. Nowadays the shooting
action is performed with a kicking “leg”, so the robot can also perform lop balls. This
leg can be modeled as a lever, as shown in Fig. 2.1. The leg is a curved strip
containing a rotational joint at the top.

Figure 2.1: Schematic picture of the leg
100mm
70mm
Solenoid
Ball
Rotational joint
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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To fulfill the Robocup rules with this new configuration, the maximum
transported distance of the lower end of the leg has to be 100 mm. With the given
configuration, this results in a maximum transported distance of the solenoid of 70
mm.

2.2 Energy

A maximum ball speed of 10 m/s delivered by the shooting mechanism is
desired. To calculate the energy required from the solenoid, the energy needed to
reach a ball speed of 10m/s has been calculated [4]:

[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
s
rad
r
v
m kg r m J
m r
kg m
s
m
v
J v m E
ball
ball
ball
ball ball ball
ball
ball
ball
ball ball ball ball ball
91
10 63 . 3
3
2
11 . 0
45 . 0
10
2
1
2
1
2 3 2
2 2
≈ =
⋅ ⋅ = =
=
=
=
+ =

ω
ω


This gives an energy needed:

[ ] J E
ball
5 . 37 ≈


Due to the conservation of energy:

] [ 5 . 37 J E E
ball solenoid
= = (2.4)

The friction in the joint, as well as the displacement of the leg is neglected because
the leg moves only over a very small angle and the energy consumption of that action
is very low.
(2.1)





(2.2)

(2.3)
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2.3 Geometry

In the Turtles, only limited space is available for the shooting mechanism. In
Fig. 2.2 a Turtle is shown (without the shooting leg). The area shown in the ellipse is
reserved for the shooting mechanism.



















Picture 2.2: A Turtle

The layer with the shooting mechanism is 95 mm high. The maximum length of
the shooting mechanism is 420 mm as shown in the top view of the robot in Fig. 2.3.
Figure 2.3: Top view of the robot

420mm
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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2.4 Requirements

The solenoid previously designed required a voltage of 450 V and a current of
68 A, which results in a power of 30,6 kW [1]. This high power is very dangerous to
work with. To get a solenoid working at a lower power level, a more efficient solenoid
has to be designed. Here efficiency stands for the ratio of the power delivered by the
plunger devided by the power consumed by the solenoid. The solenoid in this study
is chosen to have a maximal value of 3 kW, reducing the power by about factor 10. In
this study the current is chosen to be 20 A at maximum and the voltage is 150 V at
maximum. The reason why the current is more reduced than the voltage is because
the heat production in the coil is more dependent on the current.
All requirements are shown in table 2.1.


Table 2.1: requirements for the solenoid
Specifications Zandsteeg [1] This study
Ball speed [m/s] 10 m/s 10 m/s
Energy [J] 37.5 J 37.5 J
Transported distance [mm] 100 mm 70 mm
Length [mm] 200 mm 420 mm
Diameter [mm] 31 mm 95 mm
Power [W] 30600 W 3000 W
Current [A] 68 A 20 A
Voltage [V] 450 V 150 V

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3. Approach

Only one solenoid will finally be designed. However, various options and
parameters are evaluated.
3.1 FEMM

To model and analyze the designed solenoids a finite element method
program called Finite Element Method Magnetics (FEMM) is used. In FEMM, 2-
dimensional and axis-symmetric time independent problems can be solved. The
program uses Maxwell equations combined with finite element method. For a more
detailed explanation of the FEMM solving method, see [1].


Figure 3.1: The FEMM interface

The interface of FEMM is shown in Fig. 3.1. In this figure, a solenoid is drawn
in the axis-symmetric solver. By placing nodes and connecting them by lines, closed
surfaces are made in FEMM. It is possible to create almost every surface. Different
properties such as material properties, circuit properties (in case of the coil),
geometric properties, boundary conditions and mesh conditions can be attached to
these surfaces.
The program contains a library of common used materials. Winding wires,
ferromagnetic materials, air properties, B-H curves, different boundary conditions and
many other relevant parameters are stored in it [6].
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3.2 Mesh size

To analyze and solve a model, a mesh has to be created. This mesh is a sort
of web of little triangles, which are necessary for the finite element method. In Fig. 3.2
a meshed model is shown.

(a) (b)
Figure 3.2: A model meshed in FEMM, (a) small mesh size, (b) large mesh size

The size of the little triangles is called the mesh size. A larger mesh size
means larger triangles and therefore a reduced number of triangles for a given size
model. This results in a shorter calculation time, but also in a less accurate
calculation. In Fig. 3.2, both small and large mesh sizes are shown. For the models
used in this study, it is necessary to analyze the models as accurate and as quick as
possible. Therefore, a test is performed to determine the optimal mesh size. A model
has been made and it is tested with a small mesh size (0.25) and a large mesh size
(5) and many sizes between these two, in very small steps. The results of the tests
were not very different from each other, in fact the results of mesh size 0.25 and 5
differed not even 1%. But the calculation time changed very much, as shown in Fig.
3.3.

Figure 3.3: Mesh size versus calculation time
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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The calculation time at the mesh size of 0.25 is 14:37:30 hours, which is
52650 seconds. The calculation time at the mesh size of 5 is only 38 seconds.
Therefore, a mesh size of 5 for the future models was chosen.


3.3 Energy calculation

FEMM knows the B and H values of the materials used, which are parameters
related to the magnetic behaviour of the material. Therefore, FEMM can calculate the
magnetic field energy W
c
with the following equation [6]:

dV dH H B W
H
c
í í
|
|
¹
|

\
|
=
0
' ) ' ( (3.1)

After calculating the co-energy at several positions of the plunger in the coil,
the solenoid force at these positions can be estimated with the following equation:

δ
δ ) ( ) ( x W x W
F
c c
− +
= (3.2)

Where x denotes the initial position, x +  denotes the perturbed position, and
 is the magnitude of the perturbation. The force F determined in this way acts along
the direction of the perturbation.
The parameter needed is the energy absorbed by the plunger. First, in FEMM
the solenoid force is calculated at n positions. Now the energy is calculated with the
following equation:

i
n
i
i solenoid
x F E ∆ =
¯
= ... 2 , 1
) ( (3.3)

With F(x
i
) the force at position x
i
and 
i
the distance to the following position in
which the force is calculated.

3.4 Lua scripts

In FEMM, it is possible to create script files. These have to be written in the
programmer language lua. With these script files it is possible to give commands to
FEMM, and for example modify and analyse the models. So when a lot of
calculations on the same model have to be done, such scripts are very useful files. In
this case, the energy delivered by the solenoid has to be known, therefore it is
necessary to know the force applied by the solenoid at several positions.
Furthermore a lot of properties have to be analysed. So in this case a lot of lua
scripts are used. In Apendix 2 at page 30 a lua script example is given. This script
changes the position of the plunger in a model and calculates the solenoids force at
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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all the given positions. It also puts the results in a text file so the results can be used
later on. Explanation of the script is entered in the script after the -- signs.
3.5 Data processing

To obtain the energy data to see if the solenoids meet the requirements, the
FEMM outputs are imported in excel. In excel the data is processed to obtain
graphics and to know the energy delivered by the solenoid in one stroke.
To get an overview, the whole approach is presented in Fig. 3.4.



Figure 3.4: The approach
FEMM LUA-script
Commands
Results (Force)
Textfile: position [mm]
force [N] and changed
property
Excel
Data processing
Solenoid diagram
0
200
400
600
800
1.000
1.200
1.400
1.600
-75 -70 -65 -60 -55 -50 -45 -40 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0
Posi t i on [ mm]
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
Force
Energy
Velocity
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4. Optimization

To design a new solenoid, several parameters are studied in this study. In this
chapter all the investigated parameters are optimized.
4.1 Solenoid

To optimize the solenoid, it is useful to first look at the aspects of the solenoid.
To make this something easier, a schematic figure of a solenoid is shown in Fig. 4.1.











Figure 4.1: Schematic solenoid

The solenoid mainly consists of 3 parts: the plunger, the shield and the coil.
The plunger is the movable part which delivers the force to the leg.
The shield makes sure that the magnetic field doesn’t influence other systems
in the robot, like the motors or the laptop and also makes sure that the other systems
don’t influence the magnetic field built by the coil.
The shield also decreases the reluctance at the outer positions of the solenoid.
Where reluctance is like electric resistance, the higher the reluctance of a material,
the more energy is absorbed by this material. So to be sure most energy will be
available inside the coil, the reluctance outside the coil has to be as little as possible.
The reluctance of a steel shield is much less than the reluctance of air. So the shield
makes the solenoids also more efficient.
The coil is necessary to build the magnetic field.

To get the most efficient solenoid, all three parts of Fig. 4.1 have to be
optimized. There are a lot of properties which can be optimized. In this study, the
properties examined are:

• Plunger: length, inner and outer radius, material, other geometric
aspects
• Shield: material, thickness
• Coil: length, layers, turns, wire thickness
Coil
Plunger
Shield
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4.2 Plunger

4.2.1 Plunger length

First the parameters of the plunger are analysed. The length of the plunger is
the first parameter investigated. For every length of the plunger, the energy delivered
by the solenoid is calculated, which is shown in Fig. 4.2.
Figure 4.2: Plunger length versus the energy

On the x-axis, the plunger length in mm is given, decreasing from 170mm to
45mm. It can be seen that a longer plunger absorbs more energy than a short one,
which means that it also delivers more energy due to the conservation of energy. The
explanation for this is the fact that a longer plunger has a greater appearance in the
magnetic field and thus absorbs more magnetic energy.
The graph goes asymptotic when the plunger is longer than 110 mm. This is
because above a certain length, the extra length moves in an area far outside the
coil, where the magnetic field is almost zero and very little extra energy is delivered to
the plunger.

Plungerlength
0,0
5,0
10,0
15,0
20,0
25,0
30,0
35,0
40,0
45,0
50,0
170 165 160 155 150 145 140 135 130 125 120 115 110 105 100 95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50 45
Plungerlength [mm]
E
n
e
r
g
y

[
J
]
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4.2.2 Plunger radii

The next properties of the plunger analyzed are the radii of the plunger. The
outer radius as well as the inner radius is investigated. The outer radius is the radius
of the cylinder. The inner radius is the radius of the hole when using a hollow
cylinder. So when looking at the inner radius, it is investigated whether a hollow
cylinder is more efficient than a solid one. The two radii are shown in the Fig. below.






Figure 4.3: Inner (a) and outer (b) radius of the plunger

The energy dependencies of the two radii are plotted in Fig. . In this case the
inner radius of the coil is 13.5 mm. Varying the inner radius of the plunger, the outer
radius of the plunger is kept constant at 13 mm. Varying the outer radius of the
plunger, the plunger is a solid cylinder.
Figure 4.4: The radii of the plunger versus the energy

Out of Fig. 4.4 two conclusions can be drawn. First, the inner radius has to be
as small as possible to get the most energy. A solid cylinder is the most efficient
plunger type.
Second, the outer radius has to be as large as possible to get the most
energy. This implies that the gap between the coil and the plunger has to be as small
as possible. This is because air has a high reluctance and the smaller the gap, the
less energy is absorbed by the air and the more energy is available for the plunger to
absorb. The outer radius of the plunger will be 13 mm.
b
a
Radii of the plunger
0,0
5,0
10,0
15,0
20,0
25,0
30,0
35,0
40,0
45,0
13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
Radii of the plunger [mm]
E
n
e
r
g
y

[
J
]
Inner radius
Outer radius
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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0,0
10,0
20,0
30,0
40,0
50,0
60,0
70,0
80,0
90,0
100,0
E
n
e
r
g
y

[
J
]
1
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Plungermaterial
Plungermaterial
4.2.3 Plunger material

A lot of materials can be used for the plunger. There are a lot of ferromagnetic
materials. Therefore, a model is used in which the energy delivered by the solenoid is
calculated for the different materials. The results are presented in Fig. 4.5.
Figure 4.5: The material of the plunger versus the energy

Three materials are most the attractive to use for the solenoid: Supermalloy,
Silicon Core Iron and Carpenter Electrical Iron. However these materials are all three
very difficult to get. So it is no option to use these materials. From the other materials
left, 1020 Steel is the best option, can be seen. For the solenoid, 1020 Steel will be
used.

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4.2.4 Plunger geometry

The plunger will have a cylindrical shape, as described in section 4.2.2. No
hollow cylinder is used, but perhaps holes at the end or a bulging end of the cylinder,
as drawn in Fig. 4.6, will increase the efficiency of the solenoid. This was
investigated, but a hole did not affect the efficiency positively. Only the elongation
which is involved with a bulging end has little positive effect, but an elongation of the
cylinder with the same length has a larger effect. A bulged end has a greater air gap
than a cylindrical elongation, so less energy is stored in the plunger. Therefore there
will be no holes at the end of the cylinder or a bulged end. The plunger will be a long
solid cylinder, with no holes, made out of 1020 Steel.



(a) (b)

Figure 4.6: axial intersection of plungers with holes (a) and bulged ends (b)

Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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4.3 Shield

4.3.1 Shield material

Only two properties of the shield are considered in this study, the material and
the thickness. First the material of the shield is studied. For the material of the shield
a similar test is performed as the test for the material of the plunger. The results are
given in Fig. 4.7 below.
Figure 4.7: The material of the shield versus the energy

Here the same conclusion can be drawn as for the material of the plunger.
Supermalloy, Silicon Core Iron and Carpenter Electrical Iron are the best options.
However because of the low availability those three are put aside and the fourth best
option is chosen, 1020 Steel.

36,0
37,0
38,0
39,0
40,0
41,0
42,0
43,0
E
n
e
r
g
y

[
J
]
1
0
0
6

S
t
e
e
l
1
0
1
0

S
t
e
e
l
1
0
1
8

S
t
e
e
l
1
0
2
0

S
t
e
e
l
1
1
1
7

S
t
e
e
l
4
1
6

S
t
a
i
n
l
e
s
s

S
t
e
e
l
4
3
0

S
t
a
i
n
l
e
s
s

S
t
e
e
l
4
5
5

S
t
a
i
n
l
e
s
s

S
t
e
e
l
S
i
l
i
c
o
n

C
o
r
e

I
r
o
n
M
-
1
9

S
t
e
e
l
M
-
2
7

S
t
e
e
l
M
-
3
6

S
t
e
e
l
M
-
4
5

S
t
e
e
l
H
i
p
e
r
c
o
-
5
0
V
a
n
a
d
i
u
m

P
e
r
m
e
d
u
r
S
u
p
e
r
m
a
l
l
o
y
M
u

M
e
t
a
l
C
a
r
p
e
n
t
e
r

E
l
e
c
t
r
i
c
a
l

I
r
o
n
P
u
r
e

I
r
o
n
U
S

S
t
e
e
l

T
y
p
e

2
-
S

0
.
0
1
8

i
n
c
h

t
h
i
c
k
n
e
s
s
U
S

S
t
e
e
l

T
y
p
e

2
-
S

0
.
0
2
4

i
n
c
h

t
h
i
c
k
n
e
s
s
Shieldmaterial
Shieldmaterial
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
23
4.3.2 Shield thickness

The second property of the shield analyzed is the thickness of the shield. First,
some insight in the reluctance theory of a coil is required. This reluctance theory is
similar to the theory of the resistance in an electric scheme, using the following
equivalents.

• The equivalent to resistance is reluctance, ℜ .
• The equivalent to current is flux, F.
• The equivalent to voltage is magneto motive force (mmf), M.

An axis-symmetric representation of a solenoid with a shield is shown in Fig.
4.8, where the line at the bottom of the picture is the symmetric axis. Herein the
dotted line is a field line of the magnetic field. In this figure, 1 represents the plunger,
while 2 and 4 are the axial parts of the shield. 3 stands for the radial part of the
shield. Each part has it’s own reluctance. This is schematically given right beside the
arrow in the figure.
Figure 4.8: An axi-symmetric solenoid with the reluctance interpretation
For electric circuits holds:
R
U
I = (4.1)
In which I is the current, U the voltage and R the resistance. For magnetic circuits
holds:

=
M
F (4.2)
The reluctance ℜ is defined as [1]:
µ
1
⋅ = ℜ
c
A
l
(4.3)
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
24
The length l is the length of the path of the magnetic field line given by the
dotted line in Fig. 4.8. The cross-section A
c
is the area where the field runs trough
and  is a material parameter called the permeability, which has to be high for a low
reluctance. This parameter is the best for 1020 Steel as described in the previous
section.

Because the coil is not changed when adding a shield, the total reluctance of
the total system is:

4 3 2 1
ℜ + ℜ + ℜ + ℜ = ℜ
total
(4.4)

The flux and magneto motive force do not change, because they only depend
on the coil. Eq. 4.2 shows that the total reluctance also does not change.
For most of the energy to be absorbed by the plunger, the reluctances of 2, 3
and 4 have to be as low as possible, according to (4.4). From (4.3) it can be seen
that the thicker the shield, the greater the cross-section and the more efficient the
solenoid.

A thick shield of 1020 Steel has to be designed. The size is limited by the
height requirement as described in Chapter 2, in combination with the thickness of
the coil, which will be discussed in section 4.4. In section 4.4 the final shield
thickness will be given.

4.4 Coil

The coil has many parameters to modify, like the number of turns, the length,
the number of layers, the wire thickness.
4.4.1 Turns

First the number of turns is examined. Eq. 4.5 calculates the magnetic field
intensity inside a coil, or vector H [11]:

+ −


+ +
+
=
2 2 2 2
) ( ) (
4
a b x
b x
a b x
b x
b
NI
H (4.5)

With the number of turns N, current I, half the length of the coil b, radius a and
position in the coil x, with x = 0 at the centre of the coil. Out of (4.5), it seems that the
more turns in a coil, the stronger the magnetic field. A stronger field results in a
greater force to the plunger and therefore more energy will be absorbed by the
plunger in this study. When adding more turns, the length or the radius or both will
increase. These aspects will be analysed in the next sections.

There is also a negative aspect related to a higher number of turns. More turns
will increase the time constant of the coil, as can be seen in (4.6) till (4.10). This
results in an increase of the reaction time of the coil and a longer time to control the
coil (see Appendix 1).
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
25


The equation for the inductance of a coil and the resistance of a coil are [1]:

) ( 10 9
2
6
2
0315 . 0
1 2
2 1
2
2 1 2
R R l
R R
R R
N
L
coil
− ⋅ + ⋅ +
+

|
¹
|

\
| +
⋅ ⋅
= (4.6)

With R
2
the outer radius, R
1
the inner radius, N the number of turns and l
coil
the
length of the coil. The resistance of the coil is [1]:

wire coil
l R ⋅ = ρ (4.7)

With  the resistance per unit length, where the AWG number still has to be
chosen, out of Apendix 3 at page 31 and l
wire
can be calculated with [1]:

N
R R
R l
wire
⋅ |
¹
|

\
| −
+ =
2
) (
2
1 2
2
π (4.8)

With R
2
the outer radius, R
1
the inner radius and N the number of turns. The
time constant can now be calculated with [1]:

coil
R
L
= τ (4.9)

When substituting Eq. 4.6, 4.7 and 4.8 in 4.9, gives:

)
2
) (
( 2
1
) ( 10 9
2
6
2
0315 . 0
1 2
2 1 2
2 1
2
2 1
R R
R R R l
R R
R R
N
coil

+ ⋅ ⋅

− ⋅ + ⋅ +
+

|
¹
|

\
| +
⋅ ⋅
=
π ρ
τ (4.10)

In (4.10) τ increases linear with the number of turns N. But when a coil has
more turns, it has more layers or is longer. The radii and the length are also
parameters in (4.10). Therefore these are studied in the next sections.
4.4.2 Layers

When increasing the number of layers at a position, the magnetic field
intensity in the coil at that position increases too, seems out of (4.5). But due to the
increasing number of layers, the outer radius of the coil also increases. With the
increasing number of turns and the increasing outer radius the time constant also
increases. In this study it is found that 26 layers, working at 20 A, deliver enough
energy to meet the energy requirements of Chapter 2.

Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
26
4.4.3 Length

The length of the coil can be changed in two different ways. First, the number
of turns can be kept constant. When the coil is made longer, fewer layers are
present. Second, the number of turns per length can be kept constant. In this case, a
longer coil contains more turns. The first option results in a less strong coil at all
positions in the coil according to (4.5). But the force acts over a larger distance, the
time constant decreases.

The second option results in a coil that has a larger distance where the force
stays the same. This force does not increase or decrease. Due to the elongation of
the coil the number of turns increases, which results in a higher time constant. This
relation implies that, when keeping the coil at 26 layers, the coil does not have to be
very long. The length has to be appropriate to maintain the force while making the 70
mm stroke.

4.4.4 Wire thickness

When keeping the inner radius of the coil constant, the thickness of the copper
wire of the coil has no influence on the force applied by the coil. This can be seen in
(4.5). However the wire thickness influences an other parameter of the coil, the
resistance.

The resistance of Eq. 4.7 can be influenced by the wire thickness. In Apendix
3 it is shown that using a thicker copper wire decreases the resistance per unit
length. This results in a lower resistance. Because the current is kept the same, but
the resistance decreases when using a thicker wire, the voltage decreases according
to Ohm’s law (Eq. 4.1). To get a better idea of how these two values depend on each
other, in Fig. 4.9 the two are plotted against each other, in a standard coil model. A
negative aspect of a thicker wire is that the time constant increases.

When choosing the optimal wire thickness, the height restriction out of Chapter
2 and the number of layers and the thickness of the shield are all connected by the
following relation:

max 1
) ( 2 y s w d n R
wire
= + ⋅ ⋅ + ⋅ (4.11)

Here, R
1
is the inner radius of the coil, n the number of layers, d
wire
the
diameter of the copper wire, w the windingfactor, s the radial thickness of the shield
(number three in Fig. 4.8) and y
max
the maximum height. In this study the parameters
chosen are d
wire
: 1.29 mm which is 16 AWG. The radial thickness of the shield is set
to be 10 mm.
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
27
Figure 4.9: The wire thickness versus the voltage
Wire thickness versus Voltage
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Wire type (AWG)
V
o
l
t
a
g
e

[
V
]
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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5. Final design

After analyzing all parameters, the final design for the solenoid could be made.
5.1 Final parameters

The values of all parameters are presented in table 5.1 and visualised in Fig.
5.1.

Table 5.1: Final solenoid design
Coil
Length 105 mm
Inner radius 13.5 mm
Outer radius 35 mm
Wire type 16 AWG
Turns 2080
Layers 26

Shield
Material 1020 Steel
Radial thickness 10 mm
Axial thickness 50 mm

Plunger
Length 160 mm
Radius 13 mm
Material 1020 Steel

The radial thickness is the thickness of the shield radially connected to the coil
(see number 3 in Fig. 4.7). The axial thickness is axially connected (2 and 4 in Fig.
4.7).
Figure 5.1: Final solenoid design
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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5.2 Transported distance

The force versus position characteristic of the solenoid designed is given in
Fig. 5.2, using a current of 20A. The position is the position of the centre of the coil
versus the centre of the plunger. This position is negative because the plunger is
located at the back of the coil to be pulled inwards. The transported distance allowed
in the design is 70 mm according to the requirements. Out of Fig. 5.2 the 70 mm with
the highest force is taken to obtain the most energy absorbed by the plunger. These
70 mm are -105 till -35mm and given between the two vertical lines in the figure. This
implies that the optimal stroke of the plunger is performed in that area.
Figure 5.2: Force versus position

For the given positions, the total solenoid characteristic with the position
versus force, energy absorbed by the plunger, plunger speed without the ball and ball
speed is given in Fig. 5.3.


Force versus position
-100
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
-
1
1
5
-
1
1
1
-
1
0
7
-
1
0
3
-
9
9
-
9
5
-
9
1
-
8
7
-
8
3
-
7
9
-
7
5
-
7
1
-
6
7
-
6
3
-
5
9
-
5
5
-
5
1
-
4
7
-
4
3
-
3
9
-
3
5
-
3
1
-
2
7
-
2
3
-
1
9
-
1
5
-
1
1
-
7
-
3 1 5
Position [mm]
F
o
r
c
e

[
N
]
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Figure 5.3: Solenoid characteristic
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
-105 -101
-97 -93 -89 -85 -81 -77 -73 -69 -65 -61 -57 -53 -49 -45 -41 -37
Position [mm]
Force [N]
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
Energy [J],

Speed [m/s]
Force
Energy
Plunger speed
without ball
Ball speed
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
32

5.3 Shooting parameters

Eq. 4.6 is an indication used for the inductance. This equation holds for coils
with no plunger in it. In the solenoid designed, the plunger is already partially present
in the coil in the first phase. Therefore, the inductance (L) of the solenoid equals
0.1035 Henries. The resistance (R) is also encountered in FEMM and is 4.18517
Ohms.

With these two parameters and Eq. 4.9, the typical time constant can be
calculated. This time constant (τ ) is 0.02473 seconds. The reaction time of the
solenoid is five times the time constant, which is 0.12365 seconds. The plunger has
to be hold at its begin position during this reaction time. After this, the solenoid works
at full power and can be released. The plunger can be kept at its position by a
mechanical tool added to the solenoid.

The average velocity of the plunger is 7.15 m/s, so the plunger travels in about
10 milliseconds from the begin position till the end position. This together with the
reaction time takes about 0.134 seconds to shoot. This time combined with the 20A
and 84V the solenoids works with, results in an energy consumption of about 225 J
per shot.

5.4 Temperature

The heat production of the coil causes a temperature rise. This rise has to be
small, to prevent melting. The equation for the temperature rise due to the heat
production is [12]:

T c m Q
copper coil
∆ ⋅ ⋅ = (5.1)

Here c
copper
is the specific heat of the material of the coil, c
copper:
= 387 J/(kg K).
The mass of the coil is easily calculated by multiplying the wire cross-section area
times the length by the mass density of copper, which is, 
copper
= 8960 kg/m
3
. For Q
the resistance energy loss is taken, to get a broad approximation. This all results in
the following equation [12]:

T c l A t R I
copper copper wire wire c
∆ ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ = ∆ ⋅ ⋅ ρ
,
2
(5.2)

For 16 AWG, the cross-section area A
c,wire
is given in Apendix 3 at page 31,
Ø
16 AWG
= 1.31 mm
2
. To calculate l
wire
Eq. 4.8 is used, which gives: l
wire
 600 m.

This all results in a temperature rise of: T  0.1K per shot.
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
33
6. Conclusion

The requirements for the solenoid and the results of the solenoid designed are
all put together in table 6.1. As can be seen in the table, all objectives are obtained.
The voltage is even reduced by factor 5 instead of factor 3 and the power is reduced
by factor 18, instead of 10. The length of the total system is also much smaller than
the maximum length allowed.

Table 6.1: Solenoid properties
Specifications Objective Results
Ball speed [m/s] 10 m/s 10.02 m/s
Energy [J] 37.5 J 37.6 J
Transported distance [mm] 70 mm 70 mm
Length [mm] 420 mm 287 mm
Diameter [mm] 95 mm 90 mm
Power [W] 3000 W 1680 W
Current [A] 20 A 20 A
Voltage [V] 150 V 84 V


All the other parameters are all presented in the following table.

Table 6.2: Solenoid parameters
Coil: Length [mm] 105 mm
Wire type [AWG] 16 AWG
Turns [-] 2080
Layers [-] 26
Windings per layer [-] 80
Shield: Material [-] 1020 Steel
Shield: Radial thickness [mm] 10 mm
Shield: Axial thickness [mm] 50 mm
Plunger: Length [mm] 160 mm
Plunger: Radius [mm] 13 mm
Plunger Material [-] 1020 Steel
Plunger speed without ball [m/s] 10.6 m/s
Time constant [s] 0.02473 s
Shooting time [s] 0.134 s
Energy consumption per shot [J] 225 J
Temperature rise per shot [K] 0.1 K
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
35
Recommendations

There are still a lot of things to investigate before having the optimal solenoid
for the robot. Here are some recommendations for future work.

• Multiple coils:

To get more energy delivered to the plunger, it might be useful to use more
than one coil. The coils could be set in series, with a controller which turns the coils
on and off at the right moments.
An other option is a couple of coils with a plunger in each of it could be set
parallel to each other, connected at the front of the plungers. So the energies created
by the different solenoids could be taken together as the energy delivered to the
shooting leg.

• Eliminate the reaction time:

The reaction time of the coil could be eliminated. To do this, the start up time
has to be taken into count. It is necessary that the current taken at the begin
positions of the plunger is taken lower than it is at the end in this case. This makes
the reaction time shorter.

• Design a controller

One of the most useful properties of a solenoid is it controllability. It is much
easier to control than all other shooting mechanisms, as shown in the previous study
[1]. The controller to be designed can be equipped with the following useful
properties: Adjustable speed, to get nice passes and controlling the ball when
receiving it from an other player. These two should be really useful additions to the
robots.

• Geometry

When having different geometric properties the solenoid could also be
improved. The larger the transported distance allowed, the more energy can be
delivered to the plunger.
The same holds for the height requirement, when the outer radius of the
solenoid can be larger. The copper wire can be thicker, which decreases the voltage.

• Safety box

Although the power is very much reduced, it still is dangerous to work with.
When designing this system, it is recommended to cover all the dangerous
components in a safety box, so nobody would get injured.
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
36
• Holding mechanism

A holding mechanism has to be designed to keep the plunger at its beginning
position when needed.

• Use of the “Super materials”

It could be useful to work with the materials Supermalloy, Silicon Core Iron
and Carpenter Electrical Iron, as shown in sections 4.2.3 and 4.3.1. These materials
are not used in this study because of the difficulty to obtain these materials. However,
when an appropriate supplier is found, perhaps a more detailed look at these
materials could be useful. This would give harder shots with the same or less power,
when shooting as hard as with the 1020 steel. For example: when the solenoid
designed in this study is equipped with a supermalloy plunger and shield, with the
same dimensions, the energy absorbed in a transported distance of 70 mm is 212J.
This is five to six times the energy absorbed in the solenoid designed in this study.
This is enough for a kicking speed of about 22 m/s, while still using 20 A and 84 V.
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
37
Bibliography

1. C.J. Zandsteeg, Design of a Robocup Shooting Mechanism, June 29, DCT -
number: 2005.147

2. The Robocup website
http://www.robocup.org

3. The Robocup rules
http://www.idt.mdh.se/rc/Mid-Size/Documents/msl-rules-2005-
20050625.pdf

4. J.L. Meriam, L.G. Kraige, Engineering mechanics Dynamics, 4
th
edition

5. FEMM
http://femm.foster-miller.net/Archives/readme.htm

6. Dr. David Meeker, FEMM Manual v4.0, January 8 2006

7. Dr. David Meeker, FEMM v4.0 Tutorial, May 4 2006

8. Lua scripting
http://www.lua.org

9. AWG data
http://www.vandenhul.com/artpap/awg.htm

10. Wolters Noordhoff, Binas, 4
th
edition

11. J. Duarte, 2.1(3) Coil Gun – Modelling and design, 18 oct 2005, TU/e –
Elektrotechniek

12. Janna, Engineering heat transfer, 2
nd
edition

13. TechUnited
http://www.techunited.nl



Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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List of symbols

L Inductance [H]
R Resistance [Ohms]
E
ball
Energy of the ball [J]
m
ball
Mass of the ball [kg]
v
ball
Velocity of the ball [m/s]
J
ball
Moment of inertia of the ball [m
2
kg]

ball
Rotational speed of the ball [rad/s]
E
solenoid
Energy of the solenoid [J]
B Flux density [Tesla]
H Magnetic field intensity [A/m
2
]
W
c
Magnetic field energy [J]
V Volume [m
3
]
F Force [N]
 Perturbation [m]
U Voltage [V]
I Current [A]
ℜ Reluctance [AN]
F Flux [T]
M Magneto motive force [A]
l Length [m]
A
c
Cross-section Area [m
2
]
 Permeability [H/m]
N Number of turns [-]
a Radius of the coil [m]
b Half the length of the coil [m]
x Position [m]
R
1
Inner radius [m]
R
2
Outer radius [m]
l
coil
Length of the coil [m]
R
coil
Resistance of the coil [Ohms]
 Resitance per unit length [Ohms/m]
l
wire
Wire length [m]
τ Time constant [s]
Q Heat [J]
coil
m Mass of the coil [kg]
copper
c Specific heat [J/(kgK)]
T ∆ Temperature rise [K]
copper
ρ Resistance per unit length of copper [Ohms/m]
t ∆ Time [s]
wire
c
A
,
Cross-section Area of the wire [m
2
]
Ø
16 AWG
Cross-section area of 16 AWG wire [mm
2
]
n Number of layers [-]
d
wire
Diameter of the copper wire [mm]
w Windingfactor [-]
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Appendix 1: Time constant figure


Figure A1: Time constant example








Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
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Appendix 2: Example of a lua script

-- Lua-script for analysing a solenoid
outfile = "FEMM_solenoid_results.txt"
handle=openfile(outfile,"a")
write(handle, "\nFEMMresults of testing a solenoid, made by Bram van Goch\n\n")
write(handle, "Coil is 70mm long\n")
write(handle, " 13.5mm inside radius\n")
write(handle, " 35mm outside radius\n")
write(handle, " 2080 turns \n")
write(handle, "Projectile is 160mm long\n")
write(handle, " no hole inside, solid cylinder\n")
write(handle, " 13mm outerradius\n")
write(handle, " made of 1020 steel\n")
write(handle, " starting 105mm away from center\n\n\n")
write(handle, "Meshsize 5\n\n")
write(handle, "The diameter of the copperwire is 1.29mm\n\n")
write(handle, "\n\nposition in mm | force in Newton | Voltage | Amperage \n\n")
closefile(handle)

-- Opening the right model
open("Solenoid.fem")
-- Save it under a different name to keep the original in tact
mi_saveas("temp.fem")

-- Loop for changing the solenoids position and analysing all the positions
for n=0,21,1 do
mi_seteditmode("group")
mi_selectgroup(1)
-- Analyse
mi_analyze()
mi_loadsolution()
-- Get the force of the solenoid
mo_groupselectblock(2)
f=mo_blockintegral(12)
-- Get the properties of the coil
current_re, current_im, volts_re, volts_im, flux_re, flux_im =
mo_getcircuitproperties("Coil")
-- Put all the data in the outputfile
handle=openfile(outfile,"a")
write(handle,-105+5*n, "\t", f, "\t", volts_re, "\t", current_re, "\n")
closefile(handle)
mo_close()
-- Translate the plunger for the next analysis
mi_movetranslate(0,-5)
end
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
44
Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
45
Appendix 3: AWG data

AWG to Metric Conversion Chart
AWG Number Ø [Inch] Ø [mm] Ø [mm²] Resistance [Ohm/m]
4/0 = 0000 0.460 11.7 107 0.000161
3/0 = 000 0.410 10.4 85.0 0.000203
2/0 = 00 0.365 9.26 67.4 0.000256
1/0 = 0 0.325 8.25 53.5 0.000323
1 0.289 7.35 42.4 0.000407
2 0.258 6.54 33.6 0.000513
3 0.229 5.83 26.7 0.000647
4 0.204 5.19 21.1 0.000815
5 0.182 4.62 16.8 0.00103
6 0.162 4.11 13.3 0.00130
7 0.144 3.66 10.5 0.00163
8 0.128 3.26 8.36 0.00206
9 0.114 2.91 6.63 0.00260
AWG Number Ø [Inch] Ø [mm] Ø [mm²] Resistance [Ohm/m]
10 0.102 2.59 5.26 0.00328
11 0.0907 2.30 4.17 0.00413
12 0.0808 2.05 3.31 0.00521
13 0.0720 1.83 2.62 0.00657
14 0.0641 1.63 2.08 0.00829
15 0.0571 1.45 1.65 0.0104
16 0.0508 1.29 1.31 0.0132
17 0.0453 1.15 1.04 0.0166
18 0.0403 1.02 0.823 0.0210
19 0.0359 0.912 0.653 0.0264

Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven
46


AWG to Metric Conversion Chart
AWG Number Ø [Inch] Ø [mm] Ø [mm²] Resistance [Ohm/m]
20 0.0320 0.812 0.518 0.0333
21 0.0285 0.723 0.410 0.0420
22 0.0253 0.644 0.326 0.0530
23 0.0226 0.573 0.258 0.0668
24 0.0201 0.511 0.205 0.0842
25 0.0179 0.455 0.162 0.106
26 0.0159 0.405 0.129 0.134
27 0.0142 0.361 0.102 0.169
28 0.0126 0.321 0.0810 0.213
29 0.0113 0.286 0.0642 0.268
AWG Number Ø [Inch] Ø [mm] Ø [mm²] Resistance [Ohm/m]
30 0.0100 0.255 0.0509 0.339
31 0.00893 0.227 0.0404 0.427
32 0.00795 0.202 0.0320 0.538
33 0.00708 0.180 0.0254 0.679
34 0.00631 0.160 0.0201 0.856
35 0.00562 0.143 0.0160 1.08
36 0.00500 0.127 0.0127 1.36
37 0.00445 0.113 0.0100 1.72
38 0.00397 0.101 0.00797 2.16
39 0.00353 0.0897 0.00632 2.73
40 0.00314 0.0799 0.00501 3.44


Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker

B.P.T. van Goch

University of Technology Eindhoven

Contents
Summary .................................................................................................................... 3 Introduction................................................................................................................. 5 1. Solenoid principle ................................................................................................... 7 2. Requirements ......................................................................................................... 9 2.1 Transported distance.................................................................................... 9 2.2 Energy........................................................................................................ 10 2.3 Geometry ................................................................................................... 11 2.4 Requirements ............................................................................................. 12 3. Approach .............................................................................................................. 13 3.1 FEMM......................................................................................................... 13 3.2 Mesh size ................................................................................................... 14 3.3 Energy calculation ...................................................................................... 15 3.4 Lua scripts.................................................................................................. 15 3.5 Data processing ......................................................................................... 16 4. Optimization.......................................................................................................... 17 4.1 Solenoid ..................................................................................................... 17 4.2 Plunger....................................................................................................... 18 4.2.1 Plunger length ..................................................................................... 18 4.2.2 Plunger radii ........................................................................................ 19 4.2.3 Plunger material .................................................................................. 20 4.2.4 Plunger geometry................................................................................ 21 4.3 Shield ......................................................................................................... 22 4.3.1 Shield material .................................................................................... 22 4.3.2 Shield thickness .................................................................................. 23 4.4 Coil ............................................................................................................. 24 4.4.1 Turns................................................................................................... 24 4.4.2 Layers ................................................................................................. 25 4.4.3 Length ................................................................................................. 26 4.4.4 Wire thickness..................................................................................... 26 5. Final design ....................................................................................................... 29 5.1 Final parameters ........................................................................................ 29 5.2 Transported distance.................................................................................. 30 5.3 Shooting parameters .................................................................................. 32 5.4 Temperature............................................................................................... 32 6. Conclusion............................................................................................................ 33 Recommendations.................................................................................................... 35 Bibliography.............................................................................................................. 37 List of symbols.......................................................................................................... 39 Appendix 1: Time constant figure ............................................................................. 41 Appendix 2: Example of a lua script ......................................................................... 43 Appendix 3: AWG data ............................................................................................. 45

1

Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker

B.P.T. van Goch

University of Technology Eindhoven

2

Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker

B.P.T. van Goch

University of Technology Eindhoven

Summary
This study, performed for the TechUnited team, continues the research for using a solenoid as a kicking mechanism for Robocup purposes. In a former study, it was found that a solenoid is the most useful option for such a mechanism for a Robocup robot. A solenoid is a coil that generates a magnetic field. Due to this magnetic field, a force acts on a ferromagnetic projectile, called the plunger, in this magnetic field. This force moves the plunger toward the centre of the coil. This moving plunger can be used to kick the ball. The robot of the team the plunger does not kick directly against the ball, but it uses a lever to kick. Due to restrictions of the Robocup federation, as well as demands of the team, the robot designed in the former study will be optimized. This optimization should result in a robot which works at a lower power level. The solenoid designed previously worked at 30.8 kW, and the aim of this study is to obtain a solenoid working at 3 kW. It also has to fit in the existing TechUnited robot, called the Turtle. The solenoid designed in this study is tested in a computer program called FEMM. In this program different parameters of the solenoid are studied, like the coil itself, the plunger in it, a shield to get a greater force to the plunger. Geometric properties as well as different materials are investigated. All results are put together and a solenoid is designed which meets all requirements. The solenoid designed consists of a coil of 16 AWG copper wire, with 2080 turns in 26 layers, a length of 105 mm and an outer radius of 35 mm. The plunger is a solid cylinder of 1020 Steel with a length of 160 mm and a radius of 13 mm. The shield is also made of 1020 Steel and has an axial thickness of 10 mm and a radial thickness of 50 mm. With these characteristics, the voltage and power required are strongly reduced, and the length of the system is much smaller than the maximal length allowed. However, a lot of research has to be done before the optimal solenoid for the robot is obtained.

3

T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 4 .P.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.

One of the mechanisms a Robocup robot consists of is a shooting mechanism to kick the ball. which leads to the final design in Chapter five. called the turtle. Chapter two handles the requirements that have to be met. properties of the different shooting types. were compared. a solenoid has been designed. which is equipped with a shooting mechanism based on a pneumatic spring. In a previous study. together with the University of Technology Delft. Cees-Jan Zandsteeg studied different types of shooting mechanisms and found that there are three kinds of major shooting devices: springs. power modulation etc. the solenoid designed could be improved in several ways. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven Introduction Since 2005. In Chapter three the approach of analyzing the solenoids is shown. However. Before entering the playfield. It also has to be tested to check the predicted parameters. It has to be equipped with a controller to make it useful to work with.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. a complete robot team had to be built. A robot of the team. therefore the efficiency should be studied and a new solenoid has to be designed. The solenoid works at a very high power level.P. In this previous project. The conclusions can be found in Chapter six. To get an idea of the solenoid’s working mechanism.T. The optimization is described in Chapter four. such as shooting power. 1. pneumatics and solenoids [1]. under the name TechUnited. this is first explained in Chapter one. is shown in Fig. participates in the midsize league of the Robocup. Figure 1: A Turtle 5 . the University of Technology Eindhoven. costs. improving its efficiency and decrease the required power. The solenoid was found to be the most attractive option. The aim of this study is to optimize the solenoid. Based on the requirements and demands of the TechUnited team and Robocup regulations.

P. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 6 .Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.T.

1.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 1. Figure 1. Solenoids have a typical time constant with a value of L/R. The inductance is dependent of the position of the plunger. and will always move the plunger in a direction that increases the coil's inductance. So a large time constant means an increase of the reaction time of the solenoid. The time constant causes a delay in turning the coil on and off. shown in Fig. producing a magnetic field when an electrical current is send through it. It contains a lot of loops of wire. which is a measure of the amount of magnetic flux produced for a given electric current. which is the inductance L divided by the electrical resistance R of the coil. called the plunger. The plunger is used to provide a mechanical force which will be used to kick the ball.P. forming a coil. an electromechanical solenoid is found to be the most optimal solution [1]. The shape of the coil allows the plunger to move in and out of the center. radius and length of the coil. It takes about 5 times the time constant to build up or break down the current required in the coil. For a Robocup shooting mechanism. This alters the coil's inductance. An example of the current build up or break down is given in Apendix 1. 1. The force applied to the plunger by the coil is proportional to the change in current. Solenoid principle When a current is sent through a loop of a wire.1: A schematic representation of a solenoid 7 . etc.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. Electromechanical solenoids consist of a coil wound around a movable steel or iron projectile. A solenoid is based on this principle. a magnetic field is build.

P. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 8 .Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.T.

e. has a transported distance of 100 mm. which is not in violation of the rules. Every robot may not have configurations of itself and its actuators. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 2. The robot should be in the configuration that fits within the 50 cm × 50 cm square for the majority of play time. Nowadays the shooting action is performed with a kicking “leg”. The solenoid directly hits the ball. Requirements The solenoid for the Turtle has to meet some requirements. These are restrictions by the Robocup federation as well as demands of the team.1: Schematic picture of the leg 9 . when kicking or dribbling. and only occasionally. To fulfill these requirements the solenoid of the previous study. where the projection of the robot’s shape onto the floor exceeds a square of size 60 cm × 60 cm. as shown in Fig. 2. the robot would instantaneous be 60cm x 50cm during shooting. However the shooting mechanism has been modified. Each robot must possess a configuration of itself and its actuators.P.g.1 Transported distance In the Robocup rules. extend to the 60 cm × 60 cm limit. in particular when moving around the field. The leg is a curved strip containing a rotational joint at the top.1. 3. 2. 2.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. This leg can be modeled as a lever. Rotational joint Solenoid 70mm Ball 100mm Figure 2.T. where the projection of the robot’s shape onto the floor fits into a square of size at least 30 cm × 30 cm and at most 50 cm × 50 cm. so the robot can also perform lop balls. the size of each midsize league robot player must meet the following criteria [3]: 1. Therefore.

3) ωball [ ] This gives an energy needed: Eball ≈ 37.2 Energy A maximum ball speed of 10 m/s delivered by the shooting mechanism is desired.P.63 ⋅10 −3 kg ⋅ m 2 3 v = ball ≈ 91 rad s rball [ ] (2.45[kg ] (2. the maximum transported distance of the lower end of the leg has to be 100 mm. the energy needed to reach a ball speed of 10m/s has been calculated [4]: 1 1 2 2 Eball = mball vball + J ball ωball 2 2 m vball = 10 s mball = 0. as well as the displacement of the leg is neglected because the leg moves only over a very small angle and the energy consumption of that action is very low. this results in a maximum transported distance of the solenoid of 70 mm. To calculate the energy required from the solenoid.11[m] J ball 2 2 = mball rball = 3.2) (2.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.5[ J ] (2.4) The friction in the joint. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven To fulfill the Robocup rules with this new configuration. 2.5[J ] Due to the conservation of energy: E solenoid = Eball = 37. 10 .T.1) [ ] rball = 0. With the given configuration.

In Fig.P.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.T.2 a Turtle is shown (without the shooting leg). van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 2.3 Geometry In the Turtles.3: Top view of the robot 11 . Picture 2.3.2: A Turtle The layer with the shooting mechanism is 95 mm high. 2. 2. The maximum length of the shooting mechanism is 420 mm as shown in the top view of the robot in Fig. 420mm Figure 2. The area shown in the ellipse is reserved for the shooting mechanism. only limited space is available for the shooting mechanism.

In this study the current is chosen to be 20 A at maximum and the voltage is 150 V at maximum. a more efficient solenoid has to be designed. reducing the power by about factor 10. The solenoid in this study is chosen to have a maximal value of 3 kW. This high power is very dangerous to work with. Here efficiency stands for the ratio of the power delivered by the plunger devided by the power consumed by the solenoid. which results in a power of 30.6 kW [1].P.1: requirements for the solenoid Specifications Zandsteeg [1] This study Ball speed [m/s] 10 m/s 10 m/s Energy [J] 37.T. Table 2.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.1. To get a solenoid working at a lower power level. All requirements are shown in table 2.5 J Transported distance [mm] 100 mm 70 mm Length [mm] 200 mm 420 mm Diameter [mm] 31 mm 95 mm Power [W] 30600 W 3000 W Current [A] 68 A 20 A Voltage [V] 450 V 150 V 12 . van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 2. The reason why the current is more reduced than the voltage is because the heat production in the coil is more dependent on the current.4 Requirements The solenoid previously designed required a voltage of 450 V and a current of 68 A.5 J 37.

Winding wires. air properties. different boundary conditions and many other relevant parameters are stored in it [6]. In this figure. circuit properties (in case of the coil).1: The FEMM interface The interface of FEMM is shown in Fig. 13 . Figure 3. see [1]. By placing nodes and connecting them by lines. For a more detailed explanation of the FEMM solving method. Approach Only one solenoid will finally be designed. B-H curves.1. It is possible to create almost every surface. geometric properties. Different properties such as material properties. The program contains a library of common used materials. a solenoid is drawn in the axis-symmetric solver. The program uses Maxwell equations combined with finite element method. various options and parameters are evaluated. 2dimensional and axis-symmetric time independent problems can be solved.P.1 FEMM To model and analyze the designed solenoids a finite element method program called Finite Element Method Magnetics (FEMM) is used. 3. closed surfaces are made in FEMM.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. In FEMM. ferromagnetic materials. 3.T. However. boundary conditions and mesh conditions can be attached to these surfaces. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 3.

(a) (b) Figure 3. A model has been made and it is tested with a small mesh size (0. Therefore. In Fig. Figure 3. This results in a shorter calculation time. both small and large mesh sizes are shown. 3. For the models used in this study. The results of the tests were not very different from each other. (a) small mesh size.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. 3.25 and 5 differed not even 1%. 3. a mesh has to be created. a test is performed to determine the optimal mesh size.2: A model meshed in FEMM.2 a meshed model is shown.25) and a large mesh size (5) and many sizes between these two. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 3. it is necessary to analyze the models as accurate and as quick as possible. but also in a less accurate calculation.2 Mesh size To analyze and solve a model.2. (b) large mesh size The size of the little triangles is called the mesh size.P. which are necessary for the finite element method. In Fig. in very small steps. But the calculation time changed very much.T.3. as shown in Fig.3: Mesh size versus calculation time 14 . This mesh is a sort of web of little triangles. A larger mesh size means larger triangles and therefore a reduced number of triangles for a given size model. in fact the results of mesh size 0.

Now the energy is calculated with the following equation: E solenoid = i =1.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. Furthermore a lot of properties have to be analysed. The parameter needed is the energy absorbed by the plunger. and  is the magnitude of the perturbation. the energy delivered by the solenoid has to be known. the solenoid force at these positions can be estimated with the following equation: F= Wc ( x + δ ) − Wc ( x ) δ (3. Therefore. The calculation time at the mesh size of 5 is only 38 seconds. 3. which is 52650 seconds.T. The force F determined in this way acts along the direction of the perturbation. So when a lot of calculations on the same model have to be done.3) With F(xi) the force at position xi and i the distance to the following position in which the force is calculated.P. x +  denotes the perturbed position. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven The calculation time at the mesh size of 0.. In Apendix 2 at page 30 a lua script example is given. a mesh size of 5 for the future models was chosen. These have to be written in the programmer language lua. With these script files it is possible to give commands to FEMM. and for example modify and analyse the models. 3. This script changes the position of the plunger in a model and calculates the solenoids force at 15 .4 Lua scripts In FEMM. 2. In this case. Therefore. therefore it is necessary to know the force applied by the solenoid at several positions. in FEMM the solenoid force is calculated at n positions.2) Where x denotes the initial position. which are parameters related to the magnetic behaviour of the material.25 is 14:37:30 hours. First. such scripts are very useful files.  F ( x )∆ i n i (3. So in this case a lot of lua scripts are used.1) After calculating the co-energy at several positions of the plunger in the coil. it is possible to create script files. FEMM can calculate the magnetic field energy Wc with the following equation [6]: H  Wc =    B ( H ' )dH ' dV   0  (3.3 Energy calculation FEMM knows the B and H values of the materials used..

It also puts the results in a text file so the results can be used later on. the FEMM outputs are imported in excel.000 40 Force 800 30 600 20 400 Energy Velocity 200 1 0 0 -75 -70 -65 -60 -55 -50 -45 -40 -35 -30 -25 -20 -1 5 -1 0 -5 0 Po si t i o n [ mm] 0 Figure 3.600 1.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.4: The approach 16 . 3.signs. the whole approach is presented in Fig.4.400 Solenoid diagram 70 60 Excel Data processing 1. Explanation of the script is entered in the script after the -. 3.200 50 1. In excel the data is processed to obtain graphics and to know the energy delivered by the solenoid in one stroke.5 Data processing To obtain the energy data to see if the solenoids meet the requirements. To get an overview. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven all the given positions. LUA-script Commands Results (Force) FEMM Textfile: position [mm] force [N] and changed property 1.P.T.

material.1 have to be optimized. other geometric aspects Shield: material. In this chapter all the investigated parameters are optimized. inner and outer radius.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. the shield and the coil.T. The shield makes sure that the magnetic field doesn’t influence other systems in the robot. turns. The reluctance of a steel shield is much less than the reluctance of air. In this study. the reluctance outside the coil has to be as little as possible. wire thickness 17 . several parameters are studied in this study. it is useful to first look at the aspects of the solenoid. the higher the reluctance of a material. There are a lot of properties which can be optimized. 4. Optimization To design a new solenoid. thickness Coil: length. layers. To get the most efficient solenoid.1: Schematic solenoid The solenoid mainly consists of 3 parts: the plunger. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 4.P. The shield also decreases the reluctance at the outer positions of the solenoid. So to be sure most energy will be available inside the coil.1. The coil is necessary to build the magnetic field. So the shield makes the solenoids also more efficient. Where reluctance is like electric resistance. a schematic figure of a solenoid is shown in Fig. like the motors or the laptop and also makes sure that the other systems don’t influence the magnetic field built by the coil. 4.1 Solenoid To optimize the solenoid. 4. To make this something easier. the properties examined are: • • • Plunger: length. all three parts of Fig. Shield Plunger Coil Figure 4. the more energy is absorbed by this material. The plunger is the movable part which delivers the force to the leg.

the plunger length in mm is given.2 Plunger 4. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 4.P. which is shown in Fig. This is because above a certain length.0 10.0 5.0 0. The graph goes asymptotic when the plunger is longer than 110 mm.0 45. the energy delivered by the solenoid is calculated. the extra length moves in an area far outside the coil.0 30.T. where the magnetic field is almost zero and very little extra energy is delivered to the plunger. 18 .0 Energy [J] 25. which means that it also delivers more energy due to the conservation of energy.0 35. decreasing from 170mm to 45mm.2: Plunger length versus the energy On the x-axis. 4.2. For every length of the plunger. The length of the plunger is the first parameter investigated.0 40. It can be seen that a longer plunger absorbs more energy than a short one.0 20. The explanation for this is the fact that a longer plunger has a greater appearance in the magnetic field and thus absorbs more magnetic energy.2.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.1 Plunger length First the parameters of the plunger are analysed. Plungerlength 50.0 15.0 170 165 160 155 150 145 140 135 130 125 120 115 110 105 100 Plungerlength [mm] 95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50 45 Figure 4.

The inner radius is the radius of the hole when using a hollow cylinder. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 4.0 Energy [J] 25. 19 . b a Figure 4.3: Inner (a) and outer (b) radius of the plunger The energy dependencies of the two radii are plotted in Fig. the outer radius has to be as large as possible to get the most energy.0 15.0 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Radii of the plunger [mm] Figure 4. The two radii are shown in the Fig.0 10.0 30.2. the inner radius has to be as small as possible to get the most energy. First. Varying the inner radius of the plunger. below. Radii of the plunger 45.0 Inner radius Outer radius 20.0 40. the plunger is a solid cylinder. The outer radius of the plunger will be 13 mm.5 mm. Varying the outer radius of the plunger. 4. So when looking at the inner radius.2 Plunger radii The next properties of the plunger analyzed are the radii of the plunger.0 35. The outer radius is the radius of the cylinder.T. the outer radius of the plunger is kept constant at 13 mm. it is investigated whether a hollow cylinder is more efficient than a solid one.4: The radii of the plunger versus the energy Out of Fig.0 0. A solid cylinder is the most efficient plunger type.P. . This implies that the gap between the coil and the plunger has to be as small as possible.4 two conclusions can be drawn. The outer radius as well as the inner radius is investigated. Second. the less energy is absorbed by the air and the more energy is available for the plunger to absorb. This is because air has a high reluctance and the smaller the gap.0 5.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. In this case the inner radius of the coil is 13.

0 70. 4.0 30.0 40.0 10. 1020 Steel will be used. So it is no option to use these materials.3 Plunger material A lot of materials can be used for the plunger.0 06 10 St 1 0 ee 10 St l 1 8 ee 10 St l 2 0 ee 41 6 11 S l 43 Sta 17 tee 0 i nl S l 45 Sta ess tee 5 i nl S l St es te e a S i i nl s S l lic es tee on s l C S te o e M re I l -1 ro 9 n M St . van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 4.2. 20 . 1020 Steel is the best option. Plungermaterial 100. a model is used in which the energy delivered by the solenoid is calculated for the different materials.0 0. Silicon Core Iron and Carpenter Electrical Iron.4 te n a H 5 S el di ip te um e e r l U Pe coS 50 St C Su rm ar U ee S p e ed pe lT St rm ur nt yp ee er e M allo lT 2 El u yp -S ec M y e 0 tri et 2 .5.0 80.5: The material of the plunger versus the energy Three materials are most the attractive to use for the solenoid: Supermalloy.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.2 ee 7 M St l .0 90.. The results are presented in Fig.0 ca al S 18 l 0.T. can be seen.0 20. From the other materials left.3 ee 6 M S l Va . i n P u Ir o 02 c re n 4 ht in hic Iron ch k th nes ic s kn es s 10 Plungermaterial Figure 4. Therefore.P. However these materials are all three very difficult to get. There are a lot of ferromagnetic materials.0 50. For the solenoid.0 Energy [J] 60.

Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.6: axial intersection of plungers with holes (a) and bulged ends (b) 21 .2. with no holes.4 Plunger geometry The plunger will have a cylindrical shape. 4. will increase the efficiency of the solenoid. No hollow cylinder is used. (a) (b) Figure 4. Therefore there will be no holes at the end of the cylinder or a bulged end. Only the elongation which is involved with a bulging end has little positive effect. so less energy is stored in the plunger. The plunger will be a long solid cylinder.T. as drawn in Fig. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 4. made out of 1020 Steel.P. but a hole did not affect the efficiency positively. as described in section 4.2.6.2. but perhaps holes at the end or a bulging end of the cylinder. This was investigated. but an elongation of the cylinder with the same length has a larger effect. A bulged end has a greater air gap than a cylindrical elongation.

Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. Supermalloy.0 36.0 42.0 37.0 10 06 10 St 10 ee 10 St l 18 ee 10 St l 20 ee 41 6 11 S l 43 Sta 17 tee 0 in l S l 45 Sta ess tee 5 in l S l St es te e a Si inl s S l es te lic on s el C Ste o e M re I l -1 ro 9 n M S -2 tee 7 M S l -3 tee 6 M S l Va -4 te na H 5 S el di ip te um e e r l U Pe coS 50 St C Su rm ar U ee pe ed S pe lT St rm ur nt yp ee er e M allo lT 2 El u yp -S ec M y e 0 tri et 2. For the material of the shield a similar test is performed as the test for the material of the plunger. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 4. Shieldmaterial 43. 22 . 1020 Steel.T. The results are given in Fig. the material and the thickness.P.0 41.0 38.7 below. Silicon Core Iron and Carpenter Electrical Iron are the best options. However because of the low availability those three are put aside and the fourth best option is chosen.0 ca al S 18 l 0.0 Energy [J] 40. 4. First the material of the shield is studied.7: The material of the shield versus the energy Here the same conclusion can be drawn as for the material of the plunger..0 39. in Pu Iro 02 c re n 4 ht in hic Iron ch k th nes ic s kn es s Shieldmaterial Figure 4.3 Shield 4.1 Shield material Only two properties of the shield are considered in this study.3.

2) The reluctance ℜ is defined as [1]: ℜ= l 1 ⋅ Ac µ (4. • • • The equivalent to resistance is reluctance. The equivalent to voltage is magneto motive force (mmf). An axis-symmetric representation of a solenoid with a shield is shown in Fig. This is schematically given right beside the arrow in the figure. F. This reluctance theory is similar to the theory of the resistance in an electric scheme. using the following equivalents.3) 23 .T. In this figure.P. Each part has it’s own reluctance. where the line at the bottom of the picture is the symmetric axis. Figure 4. U the voltage and R the resistance.8: An axi-symmetric solenoid with the reluctance interpretation For electric circuits holds: I= U R (4. while 2 and 4 are the axial parts of the shield.1) In which I is the current. ℜ . First. 3 stands for the radial part of the shield. For magnetic circuits holds: F= M ℜ (4. 1 represents the plunger. some insight in the reluctance theory of a coil is required.2 Shield thickness The second property of the shield analyzed is the thickness of the shield.8.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. Herein the dotted line is a field line of the magnetic field. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 4. 4. The equivalent to current is flux. M.3.

The cross-section Ac is the area where the field runs trough and  is a material parameter called the permeability. For most of the energy to be absorbed by the plunger. the length or the radius or both will increase. in combination with the thickness of the coil. A thick shield of 1020 Steel has to be designed.2 shows that the total reluctance also does not change. the length. radius a and position in the coil x.3) it can be seen that the thicker the shield.10). When adding more turns.8. 3 and 4 have to be as low as possible. which will be discussed in section 4.4. Because the coil is not changed when adding a shield.5) With the number of turns N.4) The flux and magneto motive force do not change. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven The length l is the length of the path of the magnetic field line given by the dotted line in Fig.1 Turns First the number of turns is examined. the reluctances of 2.4. like the number of turns. it seems that the more turns in a coil. 4.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. the total reluctance of the total system is: ℜ total = ℜ1 + ℜ 2 + ℜ 3 + ℜ 4 (4. 4. The size is limited by the height requirement as described in Chapter 2. current I. 24 . Out of (4. There is also a negative aspect related to a higher number of turns. These aspects will be analysed in the next sections. half the length of the coil b. Eq. the greater the cross-section and the more efficient the solenoid. 4.5 calculates the magnetic field intensity inside a coil. From (4. as can be seen in (4. More turns will increase the time constant of the coil. This parameter is the best for 1020 Steel as described in the previous section. which has to be high for a low reluctance. according to (4. because they only depend on the coil.4).P. Eq. 4.T.4 Coil The coil has many parameters to modify. This results in an increase of the reaction time of the coil and a longer time to control the coil (see Appendix 1). the stronger the magnetic field. In section 4. or vector H [11]: H= NI  x+b x −b  − 4b  ( x + b) 2 + a 2 ( x − b) 2 + a 2      (4. the wire thickness.6) till (4.5). A stronger field results in a greater force to the plunger and therefore more energy will be absorbed by the plunger in this study. with x = 0 at the centre of the coil. 4.4 the final shield thickness will be given. the number of layers.

10). Therefore these are studied in the next sections.6.7) With  the resistance per unit length.8) With R2 the outer radius. 4.10) In (4. gives:  R + R2  0. N the number of turns and lcoil the length of the coil. With the increasing number of turns and the increasing outer radius the time constant also increases. 25 . the magnetic field intensity in the coil at that position increases too. The radii and the length are also parameters in (4. the outer radius of the coil also increases.10) τ increases linear with the number of turns N.T.0315 ⋅ N ⋅  1  1  2  τ= ⋅ R1 + R2 ( R − R1 ) 6⋅ + 9 ⋅ l coil + 10 ⋅ ( R2 − R1 ) ρ ⋅ 2 ⋅ π ( R2 + 2 ) 2 2 2 (4.P. But when a coil has more turns. R1 the inner radius. working at 20 A. But due to the increasing number of layers. The time constant can now be calculated with [1]: τ= L Rcoil (4. 4.7 and 4. deliver enough energy to meet the energy requirements of Chapter 2. it has more layers or is longer. In this study it is found that 26 layers.5).0315 ⋅ N ⋅  1   2  L= R + R2 6⋅ 1 + 9 ⋅ l coil + 10 ⋅ ( R2 − R1 ) 2 2 2 (4.9) When substituting Eq.9. 4. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven The equation for the inductance of a coil and the resistance of a coil are [1]:  R + R2  0.4. out of Apendix 3 at page 31 and lwire can be calculated with [1]: ( R − R1 )   l wire = 2π  R2 + 2 ⋅ N 2   (4. where the AWG number still has to be chosen.2 Layers When increasing the number of layers at a position.8 in 4.6) With R2 the outer radius. The resistance of the coil is [1]: Rcoil = ρ ⋅ l wire (4. R1 the inner radius and N the number of turns. seems out of (4.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.

The radial thickness of the shield is set to be 10 mm.29 mm which is 16 AWG. This force does not increase or decrease. but the resistance decreases when using a thicker wire.9 the two are plotted against each other. But the force acts over a larger distance. w the windingfactor. 4. in Fig. the number of turns can be kept constant. the thickness of the copper wire of the coil has no influence on the force applied by the coil. When the coil is made longer. The length has to be appropriate to maintain the force while making the 70 mm stroke.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.4. the coil does not have to be very long. dwire the diameter of the copper wire. 4. To get a better idea of how these two values depend on each other. when keeping the coil at 26 layers. This results in a lower resistance. which results in a higher time constant.P. the voltage decreases according to Ohm’s law (Eq. First. Due to the elongation of the coil the number of turns increases. However the wire thickness influences an other parameter of the coil. This can be seen in (4.7 can be influenced by the wire thickness. A negative aspect of a thicker wire is that the time constant increases. Because the current is kept the same. the height restriction out of Chapter 2 and the number of layers and the thickness of the shield are all connected by the following relation: 2 ⋅ ( R1 + n ⋅ d wire ⋅ w + s ) = y max (4. 4. In this case. R1 is the inner radius of the coil. This relation implies that. in a standard coil model. n the number of layers. the time constant decreases. In Apendix 3 it is shown that using a thicker copper wire decreases the resistance per unit length. The resistance of Eq. The first option results in a less strong coil at all positions in the coil according to (4. The second option results in a coil that has a larger distance where the force stays the same. 4. Second.1). the resistance.11) Here. s the radial thickness of the shield (number three in Fig.5). van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 4. In this study the parameters chosen are dwire: 1.4 Wire thickness When keeping the inner radius of the coil constant. a longer coil contains more turns. the number of turns per length can be kept constant.T.3 Length The length of the coil can be changed in two different ways.4. fewer layers are present.5). 26 .8) and ymax the maximum height. 4. When choosing the optimal wire thickness.

P.9: The wire thickness versus the voltage 27 .Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven Wire thickness versus Voltage 7000 6000 5000 Voltage [V] 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 0 5 10 15 20 Wire type (AWG) 25 30 35 40 Figure 4.T.

van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 28 .Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.T.P.

5 mm Outer radius 35 mm Wire type 16 AWG Turns 2080 Layers 26 Shield Material Radial thickness Axial thickness Plunger Length Radius Material 1020 Steel 10 mm 50 mm 160 mm 13 mm 1020 Steel The radial thickness is the thickness of the shield radially connected to the coil (see number 3 in Fig.1 5. Final design After analyzing all parameters.T.7). 5. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 5. Table 5. the final design for the solenoid could be made.1: Final solenoid design 29 .7). 4. Figure 5.1. Final parameters The values of all parameters are presented in table 5.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. 4.1 and visualised in Fig. The axial thickness is axially connected (2 and 4 in Fig.P.1: Final solenoid design Coil Length 105 mm Inner radius 13.

5. These 70 mm are -105 till -35mm and given between the two vertical lines in the figure.3. the total solenoid characteristic with the position versus force.2. plunger speed without the ball and ball speed is given in Fig. 5. Out of Fig. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 5. The transported distance allowed in the design is 70 mm according to the requirements.P.T. This position is negative because the plunger is located at the back of the coil to be pulled inwards.2: Force versus position For the given positions. This implies that the optimal stroke of the plunger is performed in that area. energy absorbed by the plunger. -1 -9 -7 -3 5 30 .Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. The position is the position of the centre of the coil versus the centre of the plunger.2 Transported distance The force versus position characteristic of the solenoid designed is given in Fig.2 the 70 mm with the highest force is taken to obtain the most energy absorbed by the plunger. 5. using a current of 20A. Force versus position 700 600 500 400 Force [N] 300 200 100 0 9 5 7 3 5 1 7 3 9 5 1 7 3 9 1 7 3 9 5 1 -7 -3 1 9 5 1 -1 11 -1 15 -1 07 -1 03 -9 -9 -8 -8 -7 -7 -6 -6 -5 -5 -5 -4 -4 -3 -3 -2 -2 -1 -1 -100 Position [mm] Figure 5.

Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.3: Solenoid characteristic 31 . van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 700 40 600 35 30 500 25 400 Force [N] 20 300 15 200 10 Speed [m/s] Energy [J].P.T. Force Energy Plunger speed without ball Ball speed 100 5 0 -105 -101 -97 -93 -89 -85 -81 -77 -73 -69 -65 -61 -57 -53 -49 -45 -41 -37 0 Position [mm] Figure 5.

After this. This all results in the following equation [12]: I 2 ⋅ R ⋅ ∆t = Ac .8 is used.1K per shot.1) Here ccopper is the specific heat of the material of the coil.3 Shooting parameters Eq. To calculate lwire Eq. to prevent melting.12365 seconds. This rise has to be small.P. the typical time constant can be calculated. The plunger has to be hold at its begin position during this reaction time. the inductance (L) of the solenoid equals 0. which is.wire ⋅ l wire ⋅ ρ copper ⋅ ccopper ⋅ ∆T (5. the solenoid works at full power and can be released.9. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 5. The reaction time of the solenoid is five times the time constant. 5. 4. 4. 4. results in an energy consumption of about 225 J per shot.2) For 16 AWG. 32 . the plunger is already partially present in the coil in the first phase. The equation for the temperature rise due to the heat production is [12]: Q = mcoil ⋅ ccopper ⋅ ∆T (5.4 Temperature The heat production of the coil causes a temperature rise.18517 Ohms. This all results in a temperature rise of: T  0.31 mm2.15 m/s. For Q the resistance energy loss is taken. This time combined with the 20A and 84V the solenoids works with. With these two parameters and Eq. so the plunger travels in about 10 milliseconds from the begin position till the end position. Ø16 AWG = 1. ccopper: = 387 J/(kg K). This time constant (τ ) is 0. to get a broad approximation. The resistance (R) is also encountered in FEMM and is 4.134 seconds to shoot. which gives: lwire  600 m.wire is given in Apendix 3 at page 31. In the solenoid designed. The plunger can be kept at its position by a mechanical tool added to the solenoid. Therefore.02473 seconds. which is 0.T. the cross-section area Ac. copper = 8960 kg/m3.6 is an indication used for the inductance. The mass of the coil is easily calculated by multiplying the wire cross-section area times the length by the mass density of copper. The average velocity of the plunger is 7. This equation holds for coils with no plunger in it.1035 Henries.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. This together with the reaction time takes about 0.

2: Solenoid parameters Coil: Length [mm] Wire type [AWG] Turns [-] Layers [-] Windings per layer [-] Shield: Material [-] Shield: Radial thickness [mm] Shield: Axial thickness [mm] Plunger: Length [mm] Plunger: Radius [mm] Plunger Material [-] Plunger speed without ball [m/s] Time constant [s] Shooting time [s] Energy consumption per shot [J] Temperature rise per shot [K] 105 mm 16 AWG 2080 26 80 1020 Steel 10 mm 50 mm 160 mm 13 mm 1020 Steel 10.5 J Transported distance [mm] 70 mm Length [mm] 420 mm Diameter [mm] 95 mm Power [W] 3000 W Current [A] 20 A Voltage [V] 150 V Results 10. instead of 10.02 m/s 37. The voltage is even reduced by factor 5 instead of factor 3 and the power is reduced by factor 18.P.6 m/s 0.1. The length of the total system is also much smaller than the maximum length allowed. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 6. Table 6. As can be seen in the table.1 K 33 .T.134 s 225 J 0.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.02473 s 0.1: Solenoid properties Specifications Objective Ball speed [m/s] 10 m/s Energy [J] 37.6 J 70 mm 287 mm 90 mm 1680 W 20 A 84 V All the other parameters are all presented in the following table. Table 6. all objectives are obtained. Conclusion The requirements for the solenoid and the results of the solenoid designed are all put together in table 6.

T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 34 .P.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.

It is necessary that the current taken at the begin positions of the plunger is taken lower than it is at the end in this case. • Design a controller One of the most useful properties of a solenoid is it controllability. These two should be really useful additions to the robots. Here are some recommendations for future work. The copper wire can be thicker. the more energy can be delivered to the plunger. the start up time has to be taken into count. The same holds for the height requirement. it is recommended to cover all the dangerous components in a safety box. as shown in the previous study [1]. The controller to be designed can be equipped with the following useful properties: Adjustable speed. it might be useful to use more than one coil.P. to get nice passes and controlling the ball when receiving it from an other player. When designing this system. when the outer radius of the solenoid can be larger. • Safety box Although the power is very much reduced. The coils could be set in series. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven Recommendations There are still a lot of things to investigate before having the optimal solenoid for the robot. So the energies created by the different solenoids could be taken together as the energy delivered to the shooting leg. The larger the transported distance allowed. it still is dangerous to work with. • Geometry When having different geometric properties the solenoid could also be improved.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. It is much easier to control than all other shooting mechanisms.T. To do this. 35 . so nobody would get injured. connected at the front of the plungers. • Multiple coils: To get more energy delivered to the plunger. This makes the reaction time shorter. • Eliminate the reaction time: The reaction time of the coil could be eliminated. which decreases the voltage. An other option is a couple of coils with a plunger in each of it could be set parallel to each other. with a controller which turns the coils on and off at the right moments.

with the same dimensions.1. This is enough for a kicking speed of about 22 m/s. • Use of the “Super materials” It could be useful to work with the materials Supermalloy. This is five to six times the energy absorbed in the solenoid designed in this study. when shooting as hard as with the 1020 steel. when an appropriate supplier is found. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven • Holding mechanism A holding mechanism has to be designed to keep the plunger at its beginning position when needed. These materials are not used in this study because of the difficulty to obtain these materials.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.2.3 and 4. the energy absorbed in a transported distance of 70 mm is 212J. as shown in sections 4. This would give harder shots with the same or less power. while still using 20 A and 84 V.T. Silicon Core Iron and Carpenter Electrical Iron.3. perhaps a more detailed look at these materials could be useful. 36 . For example: when the solenoid designed in this study is equipped with a supermalloy plunger and shield.P. However.

FEMM Manual v4.1(3) Coil Gun – Modelling and design.se/rc/Mid-Size/Documents/msl-rules-200520050625. Wolters Noordhoff.robocup.T. Engineering mechanics Dynamics.J.vandenhul.0. L.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. Dr. FEMM http://femm.lua. Zandsteeg.net/Archives/readme.0 Tutorial. June 29. May 4 2006 8.G. Lua scripting http://www.htm 10.techunited. 4th edition 11.htm 6.org 3. J. FEMM v4. The Robocup website http://www. 4th edition 5. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven Bibliography 1.pdf 4. Janna.P.foster-miller. TechUnited http://www. Binas. Engineering heat transfer. David Meeker. The Robocup rules http://www.org 9. AWG data http://www. Duarte. Kraige. 2nd edition 13.com/artpap/awg.mdh. 18 oct 2005. TU/e – Elektrotechniek 12. David Meeker. Meriam. C. January 8 2006 7.L. Design of a Robocup Shooting Mechanism. DCT number: 2005. J. 2.147 2.nl 37 . Dr.idt.

van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 38 .Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.T.P.

P. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven List of symbols L R Eball mball vball Jball ball Esolenoid B H Wc V F  U I ℜ F M l Ac  N a b x R1 R2 lcoil Rcoil  lwire τ Q mcoil ccopper ∆T Inductance [H] Resistance [Ohms] Energy of the ball [J] Mass of the ball [kg] Velocity of the ball [m/s] Moment of inertia of the ball [m2kg] Rotational speed of the ball [rad/s] Energy of the solenoid [J] Flux density [Tesla] Magnetic field intensity [A/m2] Magnetic field energy [J] Volume [m3] Force [N] Perturbation [m] Voltage [V] Current [A] Reluctance [AN] Flux [T] Magneto motive force [A] Length [m] Cross-section Area [m2] Permeability [H/m] Number of turns [-] Radius of the coil [m] Half the length of the coil [m] Position [m] Inner radius [m] Outer radius [m] Length of the coil [m] Resistance of the coil [Ohms] Resitance per unit length [Ohms/m] Wire length [m] Time constant [s] Heat [J] Mass of the coil [kg] Specific heat [J/(kgK)] Temperature rise [K] Resistance per unit length of copper [Ohms/m] Time [s] Cross-section Area of the wire [m2] Cross-section area of 16 AWG wire [mm2] Number of layers [-] Diameter of the copper wire [mm] Windingfactor [-] 39 ρ copper ∆t Ac .T. wire Ø16 AWG n dwire w .Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.

Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 40 .P.

P.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven Appendix 1: Time constant figure Figure A1: Time constant example 41 .Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.

P.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.T. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 42 .

Loop for changing the solenoids position and analysing all the positions for n=0. volts_re. "Meshsize 5\n\n") write(handle.Save it under a different name to keep the original in tact mi_saveas("temp.Lua-script for analysing a solenoid outfile = "FEMM_solenoid_results. " starting 105mm away from center\n\n\n") write(handle. "\nFEMMresults of testing a solenoid.21. "\t". made by Bram van Goch\n\n") write(handle.Get the force of the solenoid mo_groupselectblock(2) f=mo_blockintegral(12) -. " no hole inside."a") write(handle.fem") -. "\n") closefile(handle) mo_close() -. volts_re. f. "Projectile is 160mm long\n") write(handle.-5) end 43 . flux_re. " 13.Analyse mi_analyze() mi_loadsolution() -. current_re. "Coil is 70mm long\n") write(handle. "\t".Get the properties of the coil current_re. "\n\nposition in mm | force in Newton | Voltage | Amperage \n\n") closefile(handle) -. " 35mm outside radius\n") write(handle.-105+5*n. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven Appendix 2: Example of a lua script -. current_im.fem") -.5mm inside radius\n") write(handle.Translate the plunger for the next analysis mi_movetranslate(0. volts_im.Put all the data in the outputfile handle=openfile(outfile. "\t". "The diameter of the copperwire is 1. flux_im = mo_getcircuitproperties("Coil") -.T.txt" handle=openfile(outfile. solid cylinder\n") write(handle.P.1 do mi_seteditmode("group") mi_selectgroup(1) -.29mm\n\n") write(handle. " made of 1020 steel\n") write(handle."a") write(handle.Opening the right model open("Solenoid.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B. " 13mm outerradius\n") write(handle. " 2080 turns \n") write(handle.

Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.P. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven 44 .T.

00328 0.000161 0.26 8.3 10.000323 0.26 4.5 8.0907 0.62 4.162 0.0571 0.460 0.30 2.04 0.P.000647 0.000513 0.26 2.000203 0.00829 0.6 26.83 5.63 1.00657 0.25 7.11 3.128 0.83 1.102 0.T.4 53.17 3.000815 0.325 0.0453 0.35 6.00413 0.0359 11. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven Appendix 3: AWG data AWG to Metric Conversion Chart AWG Number Ø [Inch] Ø [mm] Ø [mm²] Resistance [Ohm/m] 4/0 = 0000 3/0 = 000 2/0 = 00 1/0 = 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 0.65 1.410 0.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.36 6.0132 0.0508 0.62 2.204 0.0808 0.0166 0.19 4.144 0.7 21.00103 0.229 0.8 13.4 33.823 0.912 107 85.289 0.02 0.653 0.114 0.0 67.0641 0.7 10.182 0.08 1.66 3.45 1.31 1.00163 0.63 5.4 9.29 1.258 0.15 1.05 1.1 16.0403 0.00260 0.54 5.91 2.59 2.5 42.00130 0.000256 0.00521 0.0720 0.0264 AWG Number Ø [Inch] Ø [mm] Ø [mm²] Resistance [Ohm/m] 45 .000407 0.00206 0.31 2.0104 0.0210 0.365 0.

0509 0.160 0.44 AWG Number Ø [Inch] Ø [mm] Ø [mm²] Resistance [Ohm/m] 0.0142 0.72 2.00314 0.113 0.286 0.511 0.134 0.127 0.00397 0.255 0.162 0.0333 0.202 0.0253 0.0530 0.0320 0.101 0.339 0.405 0.326 0.00708 0.0201 0.361 0.258 0.0126 0.518 0.T.0100 0.0842 0.143 0.0160 0.106 0.0226 0.73 3.205 0.00500 0.0179 0.0810 0.16 2.427 0.0113 0.00632 0.00631 0.0420 0.00893 0.0799 0.538 0.00353 0.00501 46 .08 1.812 0.129 0.00795 0.169 0.Optimizing a solenoid for a Robocup kicker B.213 0.321 0.268 0.410 0.0100 0.00445 0.0404 0.0159 0.0285 0.00562 0.0897 0. van Goch University of Technology Eindhoven AWG to Metric Conversion Chart AWG Number Ø [Inch] Ø [mm] Ø [mm²] Resistance [Ohm/m] 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 0.0642 0.P.102 0.723 0.0668 0.0127 0.0254 0.227 0.36 1.455 0.573 0.679 0.180 0.644 0.00797 0.856 1.0320 0.0201 0.

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