The Different Types of Inductors and Their Affecting Factors
What is an Inductor?
An inductor is a passive electronic component used in electrical circuits. They store energy in a magnetic field when an electrical current flows through them. It is made of an insulated coil of wire wound around a core.
Inductors are a vital in electronic applications as they resist changes in current. It is used in a range of electronic circuits, including filters, oscillators, and transformers.
What are different types of inductors?
Inductors come in different shapes, sizes and can be differentiated on the basis of the material used in their composition.
Few common types of inductors are:
- Air- Core Inductors – Air core inductors do not have a magnetic core. They have high quality factor Q, but lower inductance compared to inductors with magnetic core. These inductors minimize electromagnetic interference or EMI. They are used in radio frequency circuits, high frequency transformers and crossover networks of speakers.
- Iron core Inductors – Iron core inductors have a magnetic core made of iron or ferrite. These magnetic cores increase inductance and exhibit higher magnetic permeability than air. They are commonly used in power supply circuits, transformers & audio equipment.
- Ferrite core Inductors - Ferrite core inductors have coil wound around a core made of ferrite material. They exhibit high magnetic permeability and enhance the inductor’s performance in terms of inductance and energy storage. Ferrite cores also have low eddy current losses, contributing to the overall efficiency of the inductor.
- Toroidal Inductors – Toroidal Inductors have coil wound around a ring or donut shaped core. They offer a more compact design and is advantageous for applications with limited space. Toroidal inductors are popular for excellent magnetic coupling and is commonly suited for use in high inductance applications.
- Bobbin Inductors- Also known as drum inductors, Bobbin inductors have coil wound around a cylinder-shaped core called bobbin. They offer structural support and help in arranging the wires neatly. They are used in various applications such as transformers, switch mode power supplies and filters.
What are the performance affecting factors?
- Inductance- It is simply the capacity to store magnetic energy. Inductance is measured in Henrys (H) and depends on number of turns in the coil, core material, cross section area of the coil and its length.
- Core material - Different core materials such as ferrite or iron have significant influence on magnetic properties and affect performance of the inductor. Core materials impact saturation, permeability, and frequency response.
- Saturation current – This is the maximum current a coil can handle before its magnetic core saturates.
- Frequency- Frequency impacts inductor behaviour. It can affect the efficiency of inductors.
- Wire resistance – Lower resistance improves overall performance of the inductor as it reduces power dissipation.
It also particularly important to mention here to consider factors such as shape, size, coupling, temperature, and operation conditions before selecting or designing inductors for better performance.
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