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Thread: Eddy Currents

  1. #1 Eddy Currents 
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    So here's the issue, for a class project my group and I are creating an "Autonomous Recycling Sorter" that can sort ferrous and non-ferrous metals, glass and plastic. Now it's the non-ferrous metals that are giving us issues. After doing some research we found that recycling centers use "Eddy Current Separators" to induce a magnetic field in aluminum (a non-ferrous metal) and separate it from the rest of the materials. The thing is we're not sure what is actually creating the eddy currents. The best we can tell is that inside one of the heads of the conveyor belts at the factor there is a spinning magnet that induces the eddy current. So what we'd like to do is create a small version of this by using one of those tiny motors you can buy at RadioShack and attach a magnet to it. We would then put this under the track that our materials travel on and hopefully it would "shoot" the aluminum cans into the bin while allowing the other materials to pass. I would appreciate it if we're on the right track or if this would even work. Thanks.

    Tyler


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  3. #2 Re: Eddy Currents 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler
    So here's the issue, for a class project my group and I are creating an "Autonomous Recycling Sorter" that can sort ferrous and non-ferrous metals, glass and plastic. Now it's the non-ferrous metals that are giving us issues. After doing some research we found that recycling centers use "Eddy Current Separators" to induce a magnetic field in aluminum (a non-ferrous metal) and separate it from the rest of the materials. The thing is we're not sure what is actually creating the eddy currents. The best we can tell is that inside one of the heads of the conveyor belts at the factor there is a spinning magnet that induces the eddy current. So what we'd like to do is create a small version of this by using one of those tiny motors you can buy at RadioShack and attach a magnet to it. We would then put this under the track that our materials travel on and hopefully it would "shoot" the aluminum cans into the bin while allowing the other materials to pass. I would appreciate it if we're on the right track or if this would even work. Thanks.

    Tyler
    Eddy currents are created in a conductor, and aluminum is a very good conductor, by a time varying magnetic field. Those eddy currents in turn generate an opposing magnetic field.

    Whether or not your device will work will depend on the magnetic field that you induce with your spinning magnet, and how well it couples to the aluminum. A stong magnet spinning rapidly will probably be needed. I would also suspect that the effectiveness will be sensitive to the size of the aluminum pieces.

    I would think that before you remove the non-ferrous metals you will have already removed the magnetic metals. You may have some problems with stainless steel which tends to be not very magnetic.


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