Inductors are common electronic components capable of storing energy within a magnetic field, and they are commonly used within circuits to supply current during “off” switching periods. When a pair of conductors is assembled, it is known as a coupled inductor and serves to transmit energy between windings through the use of a common core. As coupled converters find use in countless circuits for a wide variety of applications, it can be very beneficial to have a basic understanding of their design and functionality.
With a coupled inductor, the coils of each component are connected through electromagnetic induction. As such, the induction of alternating current through the primary coil will cause a magnetic field to generate, resulting in voltage being induced in the coil. The process of induction between inductors is typically referred to as mutual inductance.
Coupled inductors are a staple of various types of assemblies, commonly supporting the operations of transformers, power distribution systems, and electronic circuits. One example of a circuit application is the presence of coupled inductors within voltage regulator circuits. Within such assemblies, the coupled inductors ensure that output voltages can be stepped up or down in comparison to the input voltage. In these instances, 1:1 coupled inductors are the most common option.
The operations of coupled inductors are often dependent on the configuration of their windings. For example, windings attached to separate circuits allows for the inductors to act as isolation transformers or common mode chokes. Meanwhile, connecting multiple coupled inductors together in series allows for a higher inductance value to be achieved. As time has gone on, engineers have further expanded the various uses of coupled inductors, proving their benefit for many electronic applications and industrial processes.
While coupled inductors and transformers are two distinct components, there is typically little to no physical difference between each. Having a similar exterior appearance, coupled inductors and transformers may also both have 1:1/1:N turn ratios and matching winding-core configurations. As a result, each component typically gets its name based on the application at hand. Coupled inductors are important for storing energy from a winding in a core before transferring it, while transformers typically reduce voltages while transporting them over distances. Regardless of their various similarities and overlapping designs, one should always procure the right component for the task at hand to ensure proper functionality and safety.
With multiple types of coupled inductors existing on the market, the choice between each will often fall to the requirements of the application they are intended to be used for. Generally, one will want to consider important factors such as inductance and current ratings, winding configurations, and other parameters. Once the particular coupled inductor type that is needed is determined, then one should ensure that they purchase such items from a reputable distributor that they can trust for quality. Luckily for you, Aerospace and Defence parts are unmatched in the quality of our offerings, operating with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation.
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