Solenoid Term Glossary

Definitions of key solenoid and solenoid valve related terms.
Alternating current (50 or 60 Hertz)
Air Gap
Air space between the armature and the solenoid pole
Ambient Temperature
Temperature of the environment surrounding a solenoid or valve
Ampere Turns
Level of magnetic flux determined by the magnitude of the current and the number of copper wire turns in the coil
The moving component found in a solenoid
Axial Stroke
The amount of movement the armature travels lengthwise
B-H Curve
Graphical curve showing the ratio of flux density to magnetic field intensity
Bi-Directional Valve
Valve allowing fluid to flow both ways through the valve
Usually made with a plastic construction in either nylon or peek and can be molded or machined
Bubble-Tight Sealing
In an air system, the installed valve’s sealing capability is virtually undetectable during a pressure decay test time period equal to 1x10-5 cc/sec
Outer shell and main component of the solenoid coil housing (can be made from any magnetic material from CRS (cold rolled steel) to 430FR SS (stainless steel)
Copper windings on the solenoid that provide an electrical element through which a current is passed to generate a magnetic field. During the winding process, precision wound coil follows a prescribed pattern in which each turn is laid precisely beside the previous turn. This allows the maximum amount of copper to be wound in the allotted space. A coil with no specific winding pattern is called a random wound coil.
Coil Resistance
Property of a coil that impedes the flow of the current when a voltage is applied to the coil. Resistance values are shown in ohms.
Coil Resistance Tolerance
Where precision coil windings are used, coil resistance tolerances are ±5% for heavier gage wire. Coil resistance tolerances are ±10% for finer gage wire where random winding processes are used.
Coil Voltage
Voltage at which a coil must be energized if the solenoid or valve is to perform as indicated
Continuous Duty Coil
Coil energized on a continuous basis without overheating
Current Flow
Signifies the amount of current flowing through the solenoid coil when energized and is expressed as amperes
Cycle Life
Total life expectancy of a solenoid in terms of cycles (one cycle = movement from a closed position to open and back to a closed position or vice versa
Cv Factor
The volume of water in US gallons per minute that flow through a valve with a pressure drop of 1 psi. Cv stands for flow coefficient.
Direct current (batteries produce direct current)
The solenoid is de-energized when no current is supplied to the coil. This is the standard "fail-safe" mode.
Resistance between the coil and the case. Minimum dielectric value depends on the type of solenoid and the wire gauge.
Differential Pressure (delta P)
Difference in pressure between the inlet and outlet of a valve
Direct-Acting Valve
The solenoid core directly opens and closes an orifice inside the direct acting valve
Protection of an enclosed component against falling dirt and/or non-corrosive fluids.
Protection of an enclosed component against environments that contain large amounts of dust.
Duty Cycle
The percent of time that a coil is energized during normal operation (ratio of active time to total time). Standard duty cycles are 100%, 50%, 25%, 10% and 5%.
Encapsulated (Molded) Coil
When the coil is encapsulated in epoxy or other suitable resin
The solenoid is energized when current is supplied to the coilFilter—a device used to remove contaminants from flowing media in a valve
Flow Rate
Measure of the fluid volume that is moving past a given point at a given period of time. Usually expressed as gallons-per-hour, gallons-per-minute, liters-per-hour, liters-per-minute, etc.
Flux Density
The number of Webers per square meter in a cross section normal to the direction of the flux. This number is referred to as Tesla and given the symbol B.
Flux Plate
Steel plate located at the bottom of the coil assembly that helps carry the magnetic flux
Heat Rise
The rise in temperature as a result of operating the solenoid at predetermined conditions
Holding Force
The force required to break the armature loose from the energized position when it is under power
Intermittent Duty Coil
Coil which has a specified duty cycle of less than 100%. Energizing this coil continuously would likely result in overheating.
Latching Valve
A latching valve uses an electrical pulse to open and close the valve but does not need power to keep the valve in either of those positions. This low power consumption makes latching valves well suited for battery powered applications.
Magnetic Flux
A quantity of magnetic field passing through a given area.
Magnet Wire
100% copper wire covered with a thin insulation (with temperatures capabilities of 130˚C, 180˚C, 200˚C or 220˚C) and used in the construction of solenoid, motor and transformer coils. UL regulated.
Magnetic Field Intensity
The magnetomotive force per unit length in a magnetic circuit. This quality is represented with the symbol H.
Manual Override​
Mechanism used to override automated systems to manually control them.
Maximum Operating Differential Pressure (MOPD)
The maximum difference in pressure between the inlet and outlet of a valve at which a solenoid can operate a valve safely
Gas or liquid that flows through a valve.
Normally-Closed Valve
Valve that has a normal state of closed.
Normally-Open Valve
Valve that has a normal state of open
The opening in a valve that media, gas or liquid flows
Peak & Hold
Technique used to reduce the power consumption of solenoids. A higher current pulse is required to energize a solenoid than is needed to keep the valve in an energized position.
Pilot-Operated Valve
Utilizes line pressure to operate the valve. Pressure is allowed to the outlet port side of the piston by the solenoid plunger opening the pilot orifice.
Pinch Valve
Valve used to control flow by pinching and releasing flexible tubing
The stationary component within the solenoid that attracts the moving armature when the coil is energized
Opening in a valve that allows fluid to pass through
Force applied to a unit area of surface usually expressed as psi (pounds per square inch)
Pressure Drop/Pressure Differential
Used to describe the change in pressure through a valve between the inlet and outlet pressures. Referred to as a “Delta P”.
Common unit of measure for pressure (pounds per square inch)
PWM (Pulse Width Modulation)
Pulse width modulation control occurs when voltage is applied at a repeated frequency and the percentage of “on time” is varied from 20-80 percent, the current applied to the solenoid will vary and the force created by the solenoid will vary from minimum to maximum. See Also
An electrical device for transforming alternating current into direct current
Residual Magnetism
Magnetism remaining in effect on magnetic material after the electromagnetic field created by the coil in the solenoid has been removed
Response Time
Time it takes for the armature/plunger to move from the start to finish position
Return Springs
Typically used to return the armature to the starting position once the power is removed
Standard cubic feet per hour measures the volume of gas at a standard temperature and pressure
Standard cubic feet per minute measures the volume of gas at a standard temperature and pressure
Shading Ring
Ring of copper or silver inserted in the pole piece of an AC solenoid to minimize the oscillation or “hum” associated with AC solenoids
Used to insulate the lead wires where they exit the solenoid case (Teflon is used on high temperature coils up to 200˚C continuous)
Device comprised of a coil of wire, the housing and a moveable plunger (armature). When an electrical current is introduced, a magnetic field forms around the coil which draws the plunger in. More simply, a solenoid converts electrical energy into mechanical work.
A space in which the pressure is lower than the atmospheric pressure
Volts direct current
Measurement of the flow resistance of a substance (the harder it is for a substance to flow, the higher the viscosity)
A unit of power equal to current (in amperes) multiplied by voltage (in volts)

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