What Is an Air Core Inductor?

What Is an Air Core Inductor?

Most people are familiar with the common inductor, but few know about the air core inductor. This device is used in a variety of applications, from RFID tags to smartphone chargers. So, what is an air core inductor? Keep reading to find out!

What is an Air Core Inductor?

An air core inductor is an electronic component that uses a coil of wire to store and release electrical energy.

It consists of two conducting wires wrapped around an air gap, which provides insulation between the two wires while also allowing magnetic fields to interact and generate a current. The coils can be wound in different ways depending on the desired frequency or power capability, and they are commonly used in radio antennas, amplifiers, transformers and high-frequency circuits.

Air core inductors generally have very low power loss compared to other components, making them efficient and reliable components for many applications. They can also provide precise control over inductance from very low levels up to thousands of microhenrys (µH). This makes them ideal for use in filters, oscillators, and other circuits that require precise control of the inductance level. Finally, air core inductors are inexpensive and easy to source, making them a popular component choice for most electronics projects.

Overall, an air core inductor is an essential component in many electronic circuits due to its versatility and low power loss. Its ability to provide precise control over inductance also makes it ideal for use in filters and oscillators, as well as a wide range of other applications. It is therefore an important component for any electrical engineer or hobbyist’s toolbox. [1]

What is an Air Core Inductor?

Construction of Air Core Inductor

An air core inductor is an indispensable electric part composed of insulated wire formidably intertwined into a single helix. The insulating material can be enamel, plastic, or Teflon. The coil is usually wrapped around a form such as a tube, toroid (donut-shaped), or rod. A single turn air core inductor doesn’t have any ferromagnetic material that could contribute eddy current losses. This makes it suitable for high frequency applications and also ensures low power dissipation which results in better efficiency and improved performance compared to other types of inductors.

The number of turns on the coil determines the inductance value. Increasing the number of turns increases the amount of self-inductance and thus increases the total inductance value of the air core inductor. The number of turns can be determined by either trial-and-error or by using a coil calculator to determine the ideal number of turns for a given inductance value.

The wire used in an air core inductor is usually made of copper, aluminum, or other conductive materials depending on the application requirements. If high frequency operation is required then Litz wire is used as it reduces power losses due to skin effect. The gauge (thickness) of the wire also affects the performance and must be chosen according to application requirements; too thin wire leads to increased resistance which causes power losses while too thick wire increases size and weight which could be unsuitable for some applications.

Air core inductors are used in electronics such as radios, amplifiers, and antennas. They also find applications in power supplies, inverters, and other circuits that need to store energy. Their ability to operate at high frequencies with low losses makes them ideal for these purposes.

The construction of an air core inductor can be fairly simple; it doesn’t require any ferromagnetic material or complicated manufacturing processes which makes the component relatively cheap and easy to make. Additionally, it is lightweight and has a small footprint so it can fit into tight spaces where more traditional components might not be suitable. [2]

In summary, an air core inductor is an electrical component made of insulated wire wound into a coil around a form such as a tube or rod. The number of turns on the coil determines the inductance value and can be determined by trial-and-error or through the use of a coil calculator. Air core inductors are used in a variety of electronics applications due to their ability to operate at high frequencies with low losses. Additionally, they are relatively inexpensive and easy to construct, making them an attractive option in many electronic systems.

Construction of Air Core Inductor

Air Core Inductor Design

Air core inductor design is based on the principles of magnetic field theory. When an electrical current flows through a conductor, it generates a magnetic field. The strength of the magnetic field generated depends on several factors including the relative length and diameter of the conductor and its ability to carry current without resistance. In order for a coil or wire to become an inductor, it must be wound into a helical shape. This creates multiple turns in which each turn interacts with adjacent turns to create an enhanced magnetic field that increases inductance.

The air core winding technique is commonly used for both low-frequency and high-frequency applications because of its lack of reliance on materials other than air as part of its construction. Air core inductors are designed in two basic ways: by using a single loop or multiple loops. The design of the inductor will determine its effectiveness, with those containing multiple loops providing greater inductance. [3]

Working of Air Core Inductor

An air core inductor relies on the principle of electromagnetic induction to work. When a current-carrying wire is placed in a magnetic field, it produces an opposing force that develops a voltage across the conductor. This voltage induces an electromotive force (EMF) which can be used as energy for various applications. The same principle applies to an air core inductor, where the magnetic field is created by a coil made up of several turns of insulated wire wrapped around an air-filled cylinder or tube. As current passes through the coil, it creates an electromagnetic field which induces electrical energy in the coil itself and any other conductors that are nearby. This induced EMF generates reactive power and maintains current flow throughout the circuit.

Additionally, air core inductors can also be used to create signal filters and other basic electronic circuit elements. By controlling the resistance of the wire, it is possible to reduce unwanted frequencies in a given circuit while preserving desired frequencies. This technique allows designers to create precise, custom-tailored frequency responses for their applications. Furthermore, air core inductors offer an advantage over ferrite or iron core inductors due to their lower DC resistance and improved high-frequency performance.

Overall, air core inductors are useful components for many different kinds of electrical circuits and applications such as power supplies, telecommunications equipment, computers, amplifiers and more. They provide a reliable method for creating magnetic fields that can induce electrical energy as well as filter out unwanted signals from electronic circuits. [4]

Working of Air Core Inductor

Advantages of Air Core Inductor

An air core inductor is an inductor that does not use any ferromagnetic core material. As such, it is free from the saturation and losses associated with magnetic materials and can possess higher quality factors compared to its counterparts that use a ferromagnetic core. Additionally, due to their lack of ferromagnetic materials, air core inductors can be used in applications where sensitivity to non-linearity or interference is critical, such as in high-frequency circuits.

Furthermore, there are several other benefits to using an air core inductor over one with a ferromagnetic core including lower cost, easier assembly process and smaller overall size.

Finally, they are also less likely to suffer from magnetic hysteresis which makes them more reliable in environments that are subject to frequent changes in magnetic fields. Thus, air core inductors are widely used in various applications such as antenna systems, radio receivers and transmitters, power supplies, transformers and electric motors.

In summary, an air core inductor has several advantages over those with a ferromagnetic core including higher quality factor, lower cost, smaller size and less susceptibility to interference or non-linearity. They are also more reliable due to their lack of hysteresis which makes them ideal for applications that require high accuracy. Ultimately, they offer a cost effective solution for many electronic components.

Disadvantages of Air Core Inductor

Despite their many advantages, air core inductors are not suitable for all applications and do have some disadvantages. Firstly, the absence of a ferromagnetic core means that the inductance will be relatively low compared to other types of inductor with a ferromagnetic core.

Secondly, because there is no physical structure within an air core inductor, it may be difficult to properly mount or protect these devices from external forces such as vibration or movement.

Finally, due to their lack of physical structure, air-core inductors tend to suffer from high resistance losses which can reduce its efficiency in certain applications.

Additionally, when used at higher frequencies the distributed capacitance between windings can lead to increased capacitive losses. For these reasons they are mostly used at lower frequencies such as in audio circuits.

Despite their disadvantages, air core inductors still offer a unique set of benefits that make them well suited for many applications. When inductance is not a critical factor and losses can be tolerated, air core inductors offer a very simple and cost-effective solution. Additionally, the absence of a physical structure makes these devices much smaller and lighter than other types of inductor which can be important in some applications.

Disadvantages of Air Core Inductor

Applications of Air Core Inductor

Air core inductors are used in a variety of applications, including power supplies, radio frequency (RF) circuits, voltage regulation, filters and amplifiers. They are also used in electrical motors and computer hard drives to reduce the amount of electromagnetic interference they produce. Air core inductors are highly reliable components due to their simple design and lack of moving parts. Furthermore, air core inductors can be manufactured relatively inexpensively compared to other types of inductor. For these reasons, air core inductors remain a popular choice for many applications.

The size and weight advantages offered by air core inductors make them attractive for use in high-frequency communications systems where size is critical. Additionally, because they don’t contain ferromagnetic materials, air core inductors are ideal for delivering high-quality audio signals. They are also used in impedance matching circuits to maximize signal transfer efficiency and minimize losses due to reflections caused by sudden or abrupt changes in impedance.

In addition to their use in electronics applications, air core inductors have been utilized in medical fields such as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines, which rely on the change of magnetic field around an object to create a detailed image of its internal structure. Air core inductors can be used to create these changing magnetic fields without creating too much heat or noise which could interfere with the imaging process. [5]

Types of Inductors

There are two main types of inductors: air core inductors and ferrite core inductors. An air core inductor is made using a coil of wire wrapped around either an empty cylinder or a bobbin. This type of inductor does not require the use of any material, such as ferrite, to create the magnetic field within the coil. Air core inductors are typically used for high-frequency applications because they produce low levels of losses due to their lack of a physical core material.

Ferrite core inductors feature a solid ferrite material inside the coil windings which creates a strong magnetic field within the coil. Ferrite cores offer higher levels of current ratings compared to air cores and have lower impedance when operating at higher frequencies. This type of inductor is usually used in applications that require wide frequency ranges and high current ratings, such as power supplies and radio transmitters.

Both air core and ferrite core inductors are vital components in the fields of electronics and engineering due to their ability to store electrical energy in the form of a magnetic field. By utilizing these two different types of inductors, engineers can tailor the performance of their systems to meet the desired requirements.

Types of Inductors

When deciding which type of inductor is best for an application, one must consider factors such as power rating, frequency response, cost efficiency, size constraints, and current handling capabilities. [6]


What is the air core inductor used for?

An air core inductor is a type of device that stores energy in the form of a magnetic field.

This coil, made from insulated wire wound around an iron or metal core, has numerous uses in circuits. It is most commonly used to filter out signals and other electronic noise as well as to provide transient protection in electrical systems. Additionally, it can also be used to match impedance between different components, such as amplifiers or other controllers. Air core inductors are also frequently seen in transformers, oscillators, resonant circuits and even motor windings. In some cases they may also serve as RF chokes for preventing high-frequency interference or switching power supplies. Finally, they are often found in antenna tuners, where they help to improve the performance of radio signals.

What is the difference between air core and iron core inductor?

The primary difference between an air core and iron core inductor is in the material used to create them. An air core inductor uses a coil of copper wire wrapped around either a hollow plastic, cardboard or ceramic form while an iron core inductor uses a coil of wire wrapped around an iron rod or other ferrous material. The main advantage of using an air core is that it has no magnetic losses due to the absence of any metallic elements, so it can provide higher efficiency and higher frequencies (up to several hundred MHz). Iron cores, however, have much lower frequency responses but offer better power handling capabilities than air cores. Additionally, since the inductance value depends on the number of turns and size of the conductor in both types, winding an air core inductor can be more difficult than winding an iron core one. In summary, the choice between an air core and iron core inductor should depend on the application and desired performance for a given circuit.

Why do we need inductors?

Inductors are necessary for a variety of applications including filters, impedance matching, impedance bridging and voltage regulation. They can also be used as signal transformers for alternating current signals like radiofrequency (RF) or microwave signals. By introducing inductance into a circuit, the frequency response of the system is altered, allowing it to effectively reject noise and interference while preserving desired signal frequencies. Since inductors can store energy in the form of magnetic fields, they are also used in power supplies to help regulate voltages. In short, inductors provide an invaluable service when it comes to controlling electrical circuits.

Can inductors explode?

No, inductors do not have the capacity to explode. Inductors are passive components and therefore cannot generate energy or produce sparks which can lead to explosions. In fact, inductors are designed to dissipate energy in order to prevent overheating and short circuits from occurring. That being said, it is still important to be mindful of their current carrying capabilities as a high current through an inductor can cause it to overheat and fail.

Useful Video: Electromagnetic Air Core Inductor Metal For Digital Camera


An air core inductor is a component used in electronic circuits and devices that typically stores electrical energy in the form of a magnetic field. They can be used to filter out signals, or act as part of a voltage regulator. While they are relatively simple components, their performance is critical for the operation of many circuit designs. When selecting an air core inductor for your project, it’s important to pay attention to its physical size and power rating so you can ensure the device will meet your needs. Ultimately, air core inductors are essential components that should not be overlooked when designing any type of electronic circuit or device.

Furthermore, since these components don’t require expensive materials such as ferromagnetic cores, they are often much more affordable than other types of inductors. As a result, they can be the perfect choice for applications where cost is a major factor. With the right selection and installation, air core inductors can provide reliable performance in any circuit or device.


  1. https://aimcoil.com/solutions/air-core-inductor/
  2. https://www.easytechjunkie.com/what-is-an-air-core-inductor.htm
  3. https://www.elprocus.com/air-core-inductor/
  4. https://agilemagco.com/power-inductors/air-core
  5. https://www.materialgrades.com/air-core-inductor-benefits-applications-1632.html
  6. https://byjus.com/jee/inductor/