Magnetic Field of a Solenoid

Magnetic Field of a Solenoid

An interactive animation illustrating the magnetic field of a solenoid. Draging the compass around the magnet to see in which direction the field lines point. There are three modes. 1) No Current 2) Current from Left to Right 3) Current from Right to Left

In physics, the term refers to a coil whose length is substantially greater than its diameter, often wrapped around a metallic core, which produces a uniform magnetic field in a volume of space (where some experiment might be carried out) when an electric current is passed through it. A solenoid is a type of electromagnet when the purpose is to generate a controlled magnetic field. If the purpose of the solenoid is instead to impede changes in the electric current, a solenoid can be more specifically classified as an inductor rather than an electromagnet. Not all electromagnets and inductors are solenoids; for example, the first electromagnet, invented in 1824, had a horseshoe rather than a cylindrical solenoid shape.

In engineering, the term may also refer to a variety of transducer devices that convert energy into linear motion. The term is also often used to refer to a solenoid valve, which is an integrated device containing an electromechanical solenoid which actuates either a pneumatic or hydraulic valve, or a solenoid switch, which is a specific type of relay that internally uses an electromechanical solenoid to operate an electrical switch; for example, an automobile starter solenoid, or a linear solenoid, which is an electromechanical solenoid. Solenoid bolts, a type of electronic-mechanical locking mechanism, also exist.


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