Magnetic Field Energy

Magnetic field energy refers to the energy stored in a magnetic field created by a current flowing through a conductive material, such as a coil or wire. This energy can be harnessed in various electrical and electronic applications, including inductors and transformers.

When an electric current flows through a coil, it generates a magnetic field around the coil. The energy stored in this magnetic field is proportional to the square of the current and the inductance of the coil. The magnetic field energy can be expressed as:

W = (1/2) * L * I^2

where: W = Magnetic field energy (joules, J) L = Inductance of the coil (henries, H) I = Current flowing through the coil (amperes, A)

The energy stored in the magnetic field can be converted back into electrical energy, making it useful in various applications. For example, inductors store energy in their magnetic field and release it when the current changes, helping to maintain a stable output voltage or current in power supplies, energy storage systems, and DC-DC converters.

Magnetic field energy is also an essential concept in transformers, where energy is transferred from one coil to another through mutual induction. In transformers, the energy stored in the magnetic field of the primary coil is transferred to the secondary coil, allowing for voltage and current conversion, signal isolation, and impedance matching.

Understanding magnetic field energy is crucial in designing and analyzing various electrical and electronic systems that rely on the storage and transfer of energy through magnetic fields.

Hydraulic Analogy

The hydraulic analogy, or the electric-fluid analogy, is a widely used analogy between hydraulics and electricity, which is a useful tool for teaching and for those who are struggling to understand how circuits work. it can also be applied to heat transfer problems. 

Since electric current is invisible and the processes in play in electronics are often difficult to demonstrate, the various electronic components are represented by hydraulic equivalents. The relationship between voltage and current is defined (in ohmic devices like resistors) by Ohm’s law. Ohm’s Law is analogous to the Hagen–Poiseuille equation, as both are linear models relating flux and potential in their respective systems.

Electricity (as well as heat) was originally understood to be a kind of fluid, and the names of certain electric quantities (such as current) are derived from hydraulic equivalents.

  • Voltage is like the pressure difference that pushes water through the hose. It is measured in volts (V). This model assumes that the water is flowing horizontally so that the force of gravity can be ignored.
  • Current is equivalent to a hydraulic volume flow rate; that is, the volumetric quantity of flowing water over time. Usually measured in amperes. The wider pipe is, the more water will flow through. It is measured in amps (I or A).
  • Inductors are equivalent to a heavy paddle wheel placed in the fluid flow. The mass of the wheel and the size of the blades restrict the water’s ability to rapidly change its rate of flow (current) through the wheel due to the effects of inertia, but, given time, a constantly flowing stream will pass mostly unimpeded through the wheel, as it turns at the same speed as the water flow.

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