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What is the difference between solenoid and linear actuator?

2023-10-18

Solenoids and linear actuators are both types of electromechanical devices that convert electrical energy into mechanical motion, but they differ in their operating principles and applications.

A solenoid is a coil of wire that produces a magnetic field when an electric current is passed through it. This magnetic field can be used to move a ferromagnetic core (plunger) in and out of the coil. Solenoids are often used as switches or valves to control the flow of fluids or gases.

A linear actuator, on the other hand, is a device that produces linear motion or force to move or control a load. It typically consists of a motor, a gearbox or lead screw mechanism, and a guide system that ensures the output shaft moves in a straight line. Linear actuators are often used in industrial automation, robotics, medical equipment, and aerospace applications.

While both solenoids and linear actuators use electromagnetism to produce motion, the main difference between them is the type of motion produced. Solenoids produce a simple linear motion of the plunger in and out of the coil, while linear actuators produce more complex linear motion, such as lifting, pushing, pulling, or positioning objects.

In summary, solenoids are generally simpler and less expensive than linear actuators, but they are more limited in their applications. Linear actuators, on the other hand, are more complex and expensive but are more versatile and can be used in a wider range of applications.

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