Induction Heating

Did you know you can melt metal using magnetic fields? It seems pretty crazy, but it’s possible.

How it works

So how does it work? Large amounts of AC current are sent through the copper coil, which is water-cooled to keep it from getting too hot. The large amounts of current in the coil generate strong magnetic pulses. These magnetic pulses cause electrons to flow internally within the piece of metal. This internal flow of electrons is referred to as an eddy current.The frequency of the magnetic pulses is tuned based on the objects size and material composition.   Properly tuning the pulse frequency causes stronger eddy currents. The natural electrical resistance of the metal and the strong eddy currents eventually make the metal hot enough to melt.

Useful applications

Induction heating is commonplace in the industrial world. It can be used for a wide variety of applications, like industrial furnaces, welding, cooking, heat fitting, heat treatment, and more. Induction heating is popular because it more energy efficient for some applications and the heating elements are more flexible. Traditional heating elements based on convection and conduction must be machined to particular sizes and shapes. Induction heaters work as long as the object in question fits within in the coil. Another interesting advantage of induction heating is its use in vacuums. Heat needs a medium through which it can propagate, so transferring heat in near vacuums almost impossible. On the other hand, the magnetic fields have no problems traveling in a vacuum so induction heaters are popular for making special metal allows prone to oxidation during their production.

 

If you want to learn more or want to try to build your own mini induction heater, check out this tutorial on how.

 

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