Jul 162015
 

Inductance Definition

An inductor has the property to oppose any change in the current passing through it. This property is called inductance. When a current flows through a conductor, a magnetic field is created.

Magnetic field lines, Counter electromotive force (CEMF)

Lines of force of the magnetic field expands starting in the center of the electrical conductor and then moving away.

First the lines of force pass through the conductor itself and then through the air. While these lines of force are in the electrical conductor, an electromotive force (emf) is generated in the conductor itself. The voltage generated has an opposite direction of the electric current. Because of this, the force is called: Counter-electromotive force (CEMF).

Inductor Magnetic Field Lines - Inductance Definition

By inductiveload (Own drawing, done in Inkscape 0.44) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This effect causes that temporarily the maximum value of current in the conductor is not reached. When, eventually, the current variation disappears (the current has a constant value), the lines of force no longer expand and the counter electromotive force disappears.

When current begins to flow through the conductor, the lines of force of the magnetic field begin to expand rapidly and a large counter electromotive force is achieved. At this time the counter electromotive force is almost equal to the applied voltage source. Thus, the voltage source and the counter electromotive force almost cancel each other and the current flow is small.

After some time, the lines of magnetic field reaches its maximum value, the Counter electromotive force (CEMF) no longer is generated and the only electromotive force is the voltage source. At this time, the maximum current flows on the circuit because there is no opposition of the inductance.

This property of opposing the current changes, self-inducing an electromotive force in the opposite direction (counter electromotive force) is called inductance. The unit of inductance is the henry (H) and is represented by the capital letter “L”.

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