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Current Inductors

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A current inductor is a passive, two-terminal electrical component that stores energy in its magnetic field. Also known as a current choke, current coil, or current reactor, it is one of the basic components used in electronics applications where current and voltage change with time due to the ability of the current inductor to delay and reshape alternating currents. With changes to the current flowing through an inductor, a time-varying magnetic field is created inside the coil and voltage is induced. Current inductors come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, but most are constructed from a coil of electrically conductive material, generally copper wire, that is wrapped around a core of air, ferromagnetic material, or ferrimagnetic material. Inductance can be increased through the use of core materials with higher permeability than air, which increase the inductor’s magnetic field and confine it more closely to the inductor itself. Current coils are frequently used in analog circuits and for signal processing. In conjunction with capacitors and other components, they can form tuned circuits that can boost or filter out specific signal frequencies. Transformers, formed of two or more current coils with coupled magnetic flux, are fundamental components of electric utility power grids. A current coil can also be used as an energy storage device in switched-mode power supplies. In this application, the coil is energized for a specific fraction of the regulator’s switching frequency and de-energized for the rest of the cycle—the ratio of energized to de-energized time determines the input-output voltage ratio.

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