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School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering 15/05/01

Inductors
• An inductor is just a coil of wire and its circuit symbol is as
shown
• The voltage across it varies as
dI
V =L
dt
• Thus, if the current is constant, the voltage across an ideal
inductor is zero (as expected since it is just a coil of wire)
• Real inductors will always exhibit some resistance, unless we
use superconducting wire (need very low temperatures)

What do
inductors look
like?

Lecture 7 ENG1030 Electrical Physics and Electronics B.Lovell/T.Downs 1

• If we wish to represent a real inductor.Downs 2 .Lovell/T. School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering 15/05/01 Ideal Inductors • Real inductors always exhibit significant resistance unlike capacitors which can be manufactured with negligible resistance. we just model it by a lumped circuit model consisting of an ideal lossless inductor in series with a resistor. • Lumped circuit models work well in most practical applications until you get up to microwave frequencies and beyond Lecture 7 ENG1030 Electrical Physics and Electronics B.

School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering 15/05/01 Example dI • Use V =L dt to determine the voltage a cross an inductor L when supplied with the current ramp shown below I(t) dI V =L LI 0 dt T I0  0.Downs 3 . t<0  LI 0 = . t > T T t Lecture 7 ENG1030 Electrical Physics and Electronics B.Lovell/T.0 ≤ t ≤ T  T  0.

T approaches 0. t<0  LI 0 = . the voltage increases • Towards the limit. School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering 15/05/01 Step Response • As we increase the slope of the current ramp. and the voltage approaches infinity I(t) dI V =L LI 0 dt T I0  0. t > T T t Lecture 7 ENG1030 Electrical Physics and Electronics B.Downs 4 . as the ramp approaches a step function.Lovell/T.0 ≤ t ≤ T  T  0.

so the water model is quite inadequate to describe many effects and we will therefore abandon this approach. one could say that water flowing in a pipe cannot change it’s flow rate instantaneously. School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering 15/05/01 Comments • The fact that instantaneous changes in the current would result in infinite voltage spikes indicates that the current in an inductance cannot change instantaneously. we often hear water hammer. • Although this argument seems reasonable. Lecture 7 ENG1030 Electrical Physics and Electronics B. • In the water model.Lovell/T. Hammer can burst pipes due to the high water pressures (cf high voltages) induced by stopping the flow. • If we attempt to instantaneously stop flowing water in household plumbing. inductors actually store their energy in a magnetic field rather than kinetic energy.Downs 5 .

• Thus adding a core increases the inductance.Downs 6 .Lovell/T. • This field stores energy which produces a voltage which tends to oppose changes in current. This is because the core increases the magnetic flux that cuts through the coil. • The effect can be magnified by winding the coil on a magnetic core. Lecture 7 ENG1030 Electrical Physics and Electronics B. This gives you a variable inductor. School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering 15/05/01 Magnetic Field • A steady current through a coil causes a steady magnetic field to be produced around the coil which cuts through the wire as it does so. • Sometimes the position of the core is adjustable with a screw thread.

Lovell/T. School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering 15/05/01 Magnetic Flux Magnetic Field Core Lecture 7 ENG1030 Electrical Physics and Electronics B.Downs 7 .