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Why inductors are not popular unlike capacitors

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Aug 11, 2005
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What is the Need of Inductor


I have the following questions about inductors.

1. What is the need of inductor?
2. If inductor is needed only as an energy storage element, why not we go for a Capacitor for energy storage applications
3. What is the relation between the inductor size and its inductance?
4. Typical applications of inductor?

Please help me understand the inductor.



Can anybody let me know Why inductors are not popular unlike capacitors.

Purpose wise, both inductors and capacitors are come into the same category of energy storage element and timing circuit element


Because the inductors are associate with magnetic phenomena while the capacitor is associate with electric phenomena. The electronics circuits are electric phenomena ("more electric, less magnetic").


Inductors are less "ideal" than capacitors. Inductors are also bulky compared to capacitors.

However in RF circuitry, inductors and capacitors are equally necessary.

There are more variables for an inductor than for a capacitor. The way how one make an inductor strongly influence the performance, such as unloaded Q, cross talk, etc. So it's more difficult to make the inductor standard than to make a capacitor.

I like to think that capacitors are local elements (they are only affected by what happens between the plates) while inductors are global elements (they are affected by their surroundings as well as their design parameters) and therefore it is just more complex to get them to work as you like.

because inductors are difficult to manufacture with nice accuracy and Q value. Resistors and caps are easy to control the accuracy and more close to ideal components.

low-cost resistors, capacitors, and LEDs at **broken link removed**

As simple mains transformer = 2 coupled inductors...
A more complex smps mains supply uses a high frequency transformer = also 2 coupled inductors...
In every motor --> inductors
In relays, speakers, generators, ...
A lot in power electronics.
Just a piece of cable connecting the mains to your television = inductor...

I think people doesn't like inductors because they don't understand so well as a capacitor, which just hold a voltage applied to it. In fact an inductor just holds the current you have put in (put in a current somehow, short the inductor, and the current will flow forever (theoretically))


svhb said:
I think people doesn't like inductors because they don't understand so well as a capacitor, which just hold a voltage applied to it.

Hi Stefaan,

I believe it's not a question of "like" or "dislike" . We all know that we meet inductances where ever we are and whatever we do.
However, it is a fact that engineers try to replace inductors by capacitors or by actively simulated inductive elements (GIC) wherever this is possible - especially in the field of analog signal processing. And there a good reasons to do this (as mentioned before by some other contributors). But, of course, it´s not always possible or wise.

I think you are right for the signal processing side of it. Capacitors are far more better.

For me it looks like inductors are still important in power electronics, purely as energy storage component and not for its impedance characteristics.

Also for the more electromechanical devices (motors, relays, electromagnets), where the inductance is more seen like a parasitic effect for the function the thing is designed for.


Nobody has mentioned one of the most important and common uses of inductors - to make resonant networks such as in radio tuning. It CAN be done without inductors but the alternatives are magnitudes higher in cost.


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