The harmonious relationship between electricity and magnetism has produced a bonanza of gadgets, devices, machines, and power supplies. Modern industry owes its productivity and efficiency directly to the inventions that use these two energy sources. Modern society depends on the flip-of-the-switch convenience of instant power provided by electromagnetic induction.
To create heat within an object is the opposite of applying heat to it from the outside, as in an oven. Induction heating results from introducing a conductor of electricity into an alternating magnetic force field. An electrical current is thereby induced in the part to be heated.
Alternative to Fuel-Burning Combustion
Heat energy was the basis for the still-useful inventions of the 19th century, the external-combustion engine and the internal-combustion engine. The steam engine burned fuel outside the engine to create the steam used inside it. This external-combustion engine was especially useful in transportation. The steamship, and the steam and diesel locomotive played vital roles in shipping and travel.
The internal-combustion engine of a car burns fuel inside the engine’s own chambers. Of course, the automobile remains a prime means of transportation in industrialized countries around the world. All combustion machines rely on burning some type of fuel to ultimately produce mechanical energy to propel the machine.
Efficient, Clean, Fast
Induction heating stands in dramatic contrast to combustion. First, electromagnetic heating is energy efficient: heat is instantaneous with no warm-up required; heating is contained within the equipment with no radiant energy loss; heat is applied to specific sites or parts, thus allowing precision applications of heat treatment.
Second, induction heating is protective of the environment: the process emits no pollution from burning fuels; it produces no offensive odors; no heat escapes to affect the surrounding atmosphere or adversely affect living things. Third, the rapid, repeatable heating in a continuous production line contributes to high quality control. Fourth, induction heating equipment reduces floor space and speeds production time, and so, results in economic savings.
The concepts behind electrodynamics, electrostatic induction, or electromagnetic heating may appear impossibly complex. However, the inventions based on these concepts enable us to better understand the scientific knowledge underlying them.
Put simply, science is fascinating because it explains how and why things work. The practical applications of the science of electricity and magnetism are a tribute to the ingenuity of human beings. Scientists have harnessed the awesome power of electricity with inventions that have created modern society.