Magnetic core technology has been a critical part in the control, transfer, and conditioning of electric power for decades. These parts confine and guide magnetic fields in electrical, electrochemical, and magnetic devices, reducing energy losses and improving their performance.
How they work
Magnetic cores have traditionally been made from materials that possess high magnetic permeability, such as ferromagnetic metals or ferrites. Their function and efficiency are directly determined by the material used and its properties, such as permeability, coercivity, and saturation.
Typically, magnetic cores were made of soft materials, such as iron, silicon steel and soft ferrites. All of these materials have high permeability and low coercivity, making them easy to magnetize and demagnetise. Powder metals are particularly popular as well, though ferrite and tape cores are also very widespread.
Emerging Materials for Magnetic Cores
The demands of recent technology have driven the need for more advanced magnetic core materials to build smaller, more efficient, and more reliable devices. Two particular materials have recently been employed in especially high-frequency power applications. Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) are two materials being used in magnetic core technology because they can significantly improve the performance of an electrical device while reducing overall costs. These materials have been integrated into electric vehicles, renewable energy systems, and military and aerospace systems, all applications that are characterized by high-frequency power applications.
While both SiC and GaN have proven very successful in these applications, there are challenges regarding the passive components, such as inductors and capacitors, paired with these materials. Both have high switching speeds and high operating temperatures, so any passive components have to be specifically designed for use with them. They also have a high voltage rating that passive components have to withstand without breaking down. Despite these initial difficulties, both materials have proven excellent for use in magnetic core technology, offering excellent performance in high-frequency power applications.
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