Inductor - Overview - Ideal and Real Inductors

Ideal and Real Inductors

An "ideal inductor" has inductance, but no resistance or capacitance, and does not dissipate or radiate energy. However real inductors have resistance (due to the resistance of the wire and losses in core material), and parasitic capacitance (due to the electric field between the turns of wire which are at slightly different potentials). At high frequencies the capacitance begins to affect the inductor's behavior; at some frequency, real inductors behave as resonant circuits, becoming self-resonant. Above the resonant frequency the capacitive reactance becomes the dominant part of the impedance. Energy is dissipated by the resistance of the wire, and by any losses in the magnetic core due to hysteresis. At high currents, iron core inductors also show gradual departure from ideal behavior due to nonlinearity caused by magnetic saturation. At higher frequencies, resistance and resistive losses in inductors grow due to skin effect in the inductor's winding wires. Core losses also contribute to inductor losses at higher frequencies. Practical inductors work as antennas, radiating a part of energy processed into surrounding space and circuits, and accepting electromagnetic emissions from other circuits, taking part in electromagnetic interference. Circuits and materials close to the inductor will have near-field coupling to the inductor's magnetic field, which may cause additional energy loss. Real-world inductor applications may consider the parasitic parameters as important as the inductance.

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