Solenoid Calibration Very Preliminary 


Proposed by JeanMarie Frère, ULB, Bruxelles, with the technical support of Anastase Karusho , ULB 

Description : 
This is a
complement to the Earth
Magnetic Field page, Here we try to calibrate the solenoid used in the previous experiment. At the difference of the main measurement mentioned above, this manipulation is slighlty more advanced (university/college rather than secondary/high school), and requires some (very usual) lab equipment. 

CALL FOR YOUR
HELP 
Independant
measurements of the coils could be useful for confirmation
.. please contact me (frere@ulb.ac.be) 

Purpose:  Checking the calibration of the
solenoid (namely, the field B corresponding to a given
current) allows to get absolute values of the
(horizontal component) of the Earth's magnetic field,
(rather than ratios of values in different places), and
thus to compare to the World Magnetic Model 

Method :  We have considered
2 methods


Outline of the
experiment  Auxiliary
coil 
The solenoid
is powered by a lowfrequency sine generator (we use
frequencies of 1 and 2 MHz for reference), through a 10
Ohm resistor (used to measure the current). The magnetic
field B is probed by a small coil (in our case, 23 loops
of copper wire on a 14 mm diameter core) (the probe). We move the probe inside the solenoid to check the variation of the induced voltage (it is very uniform!). The voltage across the coil is fed to the Channel 1 of a digital oscilloscope, while the voltage across the 10 Ohm resistor is fed to Channel 2. The values are compared and provide a calibration of the solenoid. 

Equipment
needed 
The "probe coil" needs to be carefully wound on a nonmagnetic core. The 'loose ends" of the core are tightly twisted (acting as a "twisted pari) so they don't pick up any extra induction) and connected through a coax cable to the Channel 1 of the scope . A digital scope and a good quality frequency generator (it is useful to reach 1 MHz ) are needed. 

Some hints 
The capacitance of the scope probe causes
perturbations of some measurements (the current
can be nonnegligeable at higher frequencies if the probe
X1 is used due ot its capacitance of 100pF) 

Example 
We define the
field inside the solenoid is where N/L is the number of turns per unit lenght, I the current intensity, and 1/K is a geometric factor parametrizing the departure from an ideal (infinite and thin) solenoid . We now want to measure K. For a solenoid of pitch 4mm, and a probe with n=20 turns around a circular core of diameter 14.2 mm, we calculate (see the calculations below) the ratio of the electromotive force to the voltage across the resistor obeis: while a pitch of 8mm for the main solenoid leads to For the 4mm coil, we measure for instance this ratio to be 0.269 V / (0.418 V * 1.009 MHz) = 0.64, (other measurements at frequencies between 500 kHz and 2 MHz vary from 0.64 to 0.61) while the 8mm pitch coil yields 0.361 V/ (O.583V * 2.004 MHz)= 0.31 (other measurements at frequencies between 500 kHz and 2 MHz vary from 0.32 to 0.31) The main source of errors seems to be the fluctuations in the measurements, most likely due to stray fields in the lab environment (we did not try any shielding, but took care to place the solenoids on a big cardboard box away from metal tables) Other errors are expected to be small: the voltage measurement is a ratio of 2 signals of comparable amplitude at the same frequency, so the linearity of the oscilloscope rather than its absolute calibration comes into play; the error on frequency is negligeable (and was checked with a separate frequency meter) To perform this measurement, we had 2 possible choices: use the "peaktopeak" value, or the "rms" value. We chose the rms (the oscilloscope has a "true rms" measurement, i.e. an integration over the signal, which seems less sensitive to stray fields) In particular for the higher frequencies, it may be necessary to take into account the actual capacitance of the oscilloscope and probes (for instance when trying the "selfinductance measurement) The values measured are consistent (within a few %, typically 3%) with K = 1, but pending independent confirmation, we recommend, when making the Earth field measurement, to keep K explicit and to specify the geometry of the coil used. 

additional measurements 

Calculations
(pickup coil method) 
For a probe with n turns around a core of area S, the flux is given by and the induced electromotive force corresponds to For a sinusoidal signal of frequency , : and For the stated values (main coil pitch 1/4mm or1/8mm, probe diamater 14.2 mm with 20turns) this corresponds to and 

Selfinduction
measurement 
this does not
measure the local flux where we place the
compass, although it is a nice
consistency check We measured the selfinductance using a simple R L circuit (R =10 Ohm, generator on 60 Ohm output resistance). It is imperative to use the 10X probe, (15 pF capacitance) as the 1X probe (100pF) causes significant current in the probe at higher frequencies, which must be corrected for in calculations. A worksheet with the explicit measurements for the 2 coils (including also the sefinductance method) is available (follow the previous link) , with more pictures (relating successively to the selfinduction and the coil methods) here. With the data in the worksheet, we expect respectively 37 microHenry and 9.1 microHenry for the 4 mm and the 8 mm pitch solenoids. We measure values from ( 3738) and (1012) respectively using frequencies between 0.5 and 2 MHz. Once again, this is just a consistency check, and not directly sensitive to the actual field at the prospective compass location. 
