Power and Energy Devices and Systems

Purdue Power Magnetics Laboratory

The Power Magnetics Laboratory at Purdue is one of a very few in the United States devoted to high-power magnetics. There are two principal activities in the laboratory. The first of these is focused on the characterization of magnetic materials. In this regard, Purdue has constructed a special purpose test station for the characterization of magnetic materials,  particularly those materials used for power engineering applications. The test stand is based on a method developed at Purdue1, which avoids the serious errors in the IEEE standard2. The characterizations performed are used to parameterize materials in order to support the design of key power engineering components such as transformers, inductors, and rotating electric machinery.


Magnetics Characterization Station Sample Loss Characterization
Magnetics Characterization Station
Sample Loss Characterization


Another activity in the lab is focused on structural magnetics. The chief fixture in this context is a 1 m Helmholtz coil arrangement used to provide a uniform field within an experiment cage. The coil field is readily oriented relative to the magnetic field of the Earth. Structures can be placed within the cage, and the deflection of the fields due to the structure examined. An application of particular interest is the development of magnetic models of mechanical structures. These models are used to test the concepts key to the magnetic modeling of large scale structures such as ships, which are in turn used to study the deflection of the Earth’s magnetic field by the ships. This is of considerable interest because the magnetic signature of the ship is a key element the detonation of submerged mines. Ship magnetic models are used to design degaussing systems which mitigate the ship magnetic signatures so they are less vulnerable to mines.


Helmholtz Coil Helmholtz Coil Experiment Cage
Helmholtz Coil
Helmholtz Coil Experiment Cage

The Purdue Power Magnetics Laboratory also includes limited facilities for testing finished magnetic components and electric machinery; more substantial capabilities to this end are located in Purdue’s Energy Conversion Research Laboratory.

1 J.L. Cale, S.D. Sudhoff, “An Improved Magnetic Characterization Method for Highly Permeable Materials,” IEEE Transactions on Magnetics. Vol. 42, Issue 8, August 2006

2 IEEE Standard 1991-393