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What Are Magnetometers Used For?

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David Hucks
David Hucks is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at

What Do We Understand by a Magnetometer?

A magnetometer is an electrical appliance that can measure the magnitude of the magnetic field in a specified area. In addition to that, it can estimate and gauge the magnetic dipole moment of a few particular magnetic substances. They can include materials of ferromagnets. The device performs its actions by recording and calculating the influence and effects of the magnetic dipole. It implements them on an induced current passing or moving through a coil. A few specific magnetometers come with the ability and capability of computing the relative change, strength, and direction of a given magnetic field. 

What are the Various Types or Kinds of Magnetometers?

Magnetometers can be of different and diverse types depending on the measurements taken and the cases or instances where they find an application and get used. They can get categorized into the following eight kinds:

  • Vector Magnetometer

A vector magnetometer can measure the magnitude and the vector components of a magnetic field. This type can get used in the study of the Earth’s magnetic field. It may require specific values and terms to get expressed and depicted in their vector components. 

These can entail the declination angle and the inclination angle. The former exists between the geographic North of the Earth and the magnetic field’s horizontal component. On the other hand, the latter is the angle between the vector component of the magnetic field and the parallel surface of the Earth.

  • Scalar Magnetometer

A scalar magnetometer comes with features to calculate and estimate the value of a vector magnetic field. It also goes by the name of a total field magnetometer. 

  • Absolute Magnetometer

An absolute magnetometer calculates the magnitude of the vector or dynamic magnetic field. It can also do so for the absolute value. This type of magnetometer uses a sort of internal calibration. It can also work with a comprehended or acknowledged physical constant associated with the magnetic sensor. 

  • Relative Magnetometer

A relative magnetometer works to gauge the magnitude of a vector or dynamic magnetic field. It stays relative to a fixed and uncalibrated baseline. The appliance finds application in the measurement of the fluctuations or changes of a magnetic field. 

  • Stationary Magnetometer

A stationary magnetometer finds application in a fixed state or position. The measurements or computations get taken like this. 

  • Portable Magnetometer

A portable magnetometer works in a dynamic state. The measurements and computation get taken when and while the appliance is in motion. It is transportable and can get moved or carried from one location to another vehicle. It is also gets known as a mobile magnetometer.

  • Laboratory Magnetometer

A laboratory magnetometer finds application in estimating the magnetic field of various magnetic substances. These materials remain placed in the appliance. These types of devices are typically stationary and get used in research centers and institutes. 

  • Survey Magnetometer

A survey magnetometer estimates the magnitude of a particular magnetic field. It gets used primarily in and for geomagnetic surveys. 

Such magnetometers come fixed in specific base stations. They can also get carried and moved to scan a geographic region and its vicinity. 

What are the Various Areas in Which a Magnetometer Gets Used?

A magnetometer can find applications across diverse fields, domains, sectors, and industries. A few areas in which it can get used consist of the following:

  • Estimation of Mechanical Stress

A magnetometer can monitor and estimate the value of mechanical stress. It can do so of any ferromagnetic material. It is feasible as the parameter increases the alignments of magnetic domains at a microscopic level. It, in turn, raises the value of the magnetic field of the materials lying close to the electrical appliance. 

  • Accelerator Physics

A magnetometer gets used in the physics associated with experimental particles. It gauges the magnitude of the magnetic field related to pivotal components. They can consist of concentration or focusing beam-magnets. 

  • Archaeology

A magnetometer can discover archaeological sites and shipwreck locations. It can also do so for buried objects and submerged places. 

  • Indication of Aurora

A magnetometer works to indicate the activity originating from auroras. It can do this before the light from the phenomena becomes visible even to the naked eye. 

  • Discovery and Unearthing of Coal

A magnetometer serves two purposes in the discovery and unearthing of coal. It can aid in mapping the dimensions and arrangement of the regional basin under investigation. It also detects and locates the underlying and hidden hazards that may originate in a coal mine. It can include basaltic intrusions that can prove detrimental to the resources and mining equipment. A magnetometer can also discover a few places and locations. They can get lighted or ignited due to map siderite and zones prone to lightning. 

In recent times, underground explorations and surveys utilize magnetometers that come with a GPS function and technology. Such devices locate and record a particular location and the value of the magnetic field there. 

  • Directional Drilling

A magnetometer can get used for directional drilling. It becomes necessary for underground oils and gases. The electrical appliance estimates the azimuth angle the drilling tools must utilize at a specified point near the drill. 

A magnetometer can get paired with an accelerometer during use. It enhances the process of discovering and measuring the azimuth angle and the inclination angle. 

  • Military

A magnetometer finds application in the military for the intention and purpose of defense. 

For example, the navies utilize the electrical device’s arrays. They lay them in strategic locations on the seafloor beforehand. These arrays get used to monitor and discover the presence of any incoming vessels or submarines and any underwater activity. 

  • Mobile Phones

Mobile phones in recent years get incorporated with the miniature versions of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) magnetometers. These devices come to use to detect and estimate the strength of a particular magnetic field. They work as compasses to guide the user. 

The better varieties of the magnetometers cone get embedded in mobile devices. They allow and enable touchless 3D interaction with the system. 



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