Inductors and Transformers: Similarities & Differences
Inductors and transformers are similar in appearance and construction. However, these electronic components are unique in design, materials, and use. Below is an overview of the similarities and differences between the two components.What Are Inductors? [caption id="attachment_64" align="alignright" width="186"] Image Source: wikimedia.org[/caption]
Inductors, also known as chokes or reactors, are passive electrical components that have two terminals. The components have units of Henry (H) and their values range from 1 ÂµH (10-6H) to 1 H.
On the inside, an inductor is comprised of a magnetic core made of ferrite or iron. The core increases the magnetic fields, which in turn increases the inductance. The main use of inductors is in alternative current (AC) electronic equipment. The components allow direct current (DC) to pass while restricting AC.
Inductors can be manufactured using both hand crafted and automated techniques. The most common techniques used are automated ones. These methods involve the use of toroidal winding machines that can wind copper strips and air coils. The main materials used to make inductors are iron, amorphous, iron powder and ferrite. A number of conductors, for example, high voltage insulation wire, copper strips and enameled wires, are also used.
Inductors can be used in a wide range of applications. They can be used as security sensors in audio loudspeakers, for Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and in Switch Mode Power Suppliers (SMPS).[caption id="attachment_65" align="alignleft" width="178"] Image Source: wikimedia.org[/caption] What Are Transformers?
Generally, a transformer is comprised of two coils of insulated wired. In most cases, the wires are wound around a structure known as the core that is primarily made of iron.
The primary coil is connected to a source with an alternating current, which produces a constantly-varying magnetic field around the coil. As the magnetic field varies, it produces an AC in the secondary coil. In turn, output is provided through a separate circuit.
There are different types of transformers in the market. The most common ones are laminated, toroidal, and ferrite models. These transformers are produced using multi-head automated machines, hand winding machines, copper strip winding machines, semi-auto machines and different toroidal coil winding techniques and machines.