Solenoid Function difference with Coil, Inductor, Electromagnet


If I explained the working principle and function of Solenoid, then also you will have some doubts about the solenoid. So, it will better to discuss the solenoid function difference with coil, inductor, and electromagnet. It will clear your all doubts and you will have a clear knowledge, exactly what is an electrical solenoid, how it works, and how it differs from inductor, coil, and electromagnet.

In many electrical and electronic devices, gadgets we used in our daily life, solenoids are used as an actuator, transducer, valve, etc. The solenoid also called a passive transducer because it can convert the electrical to mechanical energy. There are huge applications of solenoid in automation devices, equipment, gadgets, etc.

Solenoid Function working applications


What is Solenoid?


A simple electrical conductor such as a wire in the shape of a spiral consisting of many loops is commonly called Coil or an electromagnetic coil. So, when taking a wire and wrap it in the shape of a spiral, round shape then it is called Coil.

Now, we provide an AC supply across that coil, now inductance will occur in that coil, and it will be called an Inductor. So a simple coil of wire connected with an AC supply is called Inductor.
Remember inductance occurs with AC supply only not with DC supply.

Read More about Inductor here:

                               1. What is Inductor and Inductance?
                               2. Why Inductor block AC and Capacitor block DC?
                               3. Difference between properties of Resistor, Inductor, and Capacitor


Now, remove the AC supply from that coil, put a magnetic material or core inside it as permanent, and provide a DC supply across the coil. Now the magnetic material or core will able to attract any ferromagnetic material such as Iron, Nickel, and Cobalt. Now, this will be called an Electromagnet.

Now, we take a coil and put a magnetic material or core inside it which is subjected to movable. Now if the electrical supply is applied across the coil it will produce a magnetic field that will create motion on the movable core. So the core will move either backward or forward depending upon the polarity of the applied power supply. This is called the Solenoid.

So, in short, an electrical conductor or wire in the shape of a spiral consisting loop is called Coil.

A coil, AC supply applied across it is called Inductor.

A coil wound on a fixed ferromagnetic material or core connected with an electric power supply is called an electromagnet.

A coil consisting of a movable core connected with an electric power supply is called a solenoid.


How Solenoid Works?


The working principle of a Solenoid is very simple, it works on the principle of electromagnetism. Solenoid having a coil of wire with so many turns and a movable iron core. The core can be called as a plunger, generally, it is placed with a spring to bring the plunger its old position after every action by the coil.

When an electrical power supply is applied across the coil it produces a magnetic field that attracts the movable core or plunger, so motion is created on the plunger and it moves towards the coil. When the power supply is removed, the plunger goes back to its old position due to the spring pressure.


Solenoid Function


The main function of solenoid is to convert electrical energy to mechanical energy or linear motion. When the coil of the solenoid is connected with a power supply, it creates a magnetic field or magnetic flux which attracts the core of the solenoid. So a linear motion is produced on the movable core and it tends to move. Solenoid used as a passive transducer in many applications.


Difference between Coil and Solenoid


A coil is a simple loop of electrical wires in the shape of a spiral or round shape. Whereas the solenoid is an electromagnetic coil with a movable core or plunger.

A coil may have any size of diameter and length but in a solenoid, the length of the coil always substantially greater than its diameter means the coil of a solenoid us specially designed with infinity length.

A flux produced by a coil may be uniform or not it depends upon the length, diameter, the way how it wrapped. But coil of a solenoid specially designed, so it always produces uniform flux.


Difference between Solenoid and Electromagnet


A coil wound on a magnetic material or core such as iron, when connected to a power supply it will able to attract any ferromagnetic material, then it is called electromagnet. Whereas solenoid has a coil with a movable core, when it getting power supply the core will tends to move.

So the main difference between solenoid and electromagnet is solenoid has a movable core whereas electromagnet has a fixed core. The electromagnet is designed to attract any external ferromagnetic material but solenoid cannot attract any external ferromagnetic material.


How the Solenoid valve works?


In a commercial solenoid valve, the movable core of the solenoid is connected with a piston or plunger. That piston or plunger also connected with a spring. In normal conditions, due to spring pressure, the piston is in such a position that the flow of air or liquid through the valve is blocked. But when an electrical power supply is applied to the solenoid, the piston moves against the spring pressure and make a hollow path for the flow of air or liquid.

When the power supply removed, the piston again goes back to its old position due to the spring pressure and blocks the flow of air or liquid. So if we want a continuous flow of air or liquid then we must give continuous power supply to the solenoid.


Applications and Uses of Solenoid


1. Solenoid is mostly used in automated devices such as automatic water dispenser, washing machine water controller, electronic handwash technology, etc.

2. Solenoid used in pneumatic valves, gas flow valves, etc.

3. Solenoid used in emergency water spray system, food making machines, etc.


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Solenoid Function difference with Coil, Inductor, Electromagnet Solenoid Function difference with Coil, Inductor, Electromagnet Reviewed by ETechnoG on 10/09/2020 Rating: 5
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