Wheeler Formulas for Inductance

These formulas, developed by Wheeler at the (then) NBS, give approximate inductances for various coil configurations. They are primarily based on empirical measurements, and are accurate to a few percent.

Single layer air core solenoid

L (uH) = r^2 * n^2 / (9 * r + 10 * l)


r = coil radius in inches
l = coil length in inches
n = number of turns


Multi layer air core solenoid

L (uH) = 0.8 * a^2 * n^2 / (6*a + 9*b + 10*c )

a = average radius of windings
b = length of the coil
c = difference between the outer and inner radii of the coil.
all dimensions in inches.

It states that it is accurate to 1% when the terms in the denominator are
about equal. This is also an equation by Wheeler. It applies as long as the
coil has a rectangular cross section.

Flat "pancake" coil

L (uH) = r^2 * n^2 / (8 * r + 11 * w)


r = radius to center of windings in inches
w = width of windings (in inches)
n = number of turns


The original Wheeler papers:

An enormous compendium of inductance references compiled by Dr. Marc Thompson.

Dr Thompson has a new paper out that covers approximation techniques:

Thompson, M. , "Inductance Calculation Techniques -- Part II: Approximations and Handbook Methods", Power Control and Intelligent Motion, December 1999 http://www.pcim.com

http://members.aol.com/Marcttpapers2/Induct2.pdf - 26 April 2001

The above paper doesn't cover the parasitic C or R, though.


Someone has scanned the classic Grover reference which is out of print (but not out of copyright, so I hope that they got permission).




Numerically calculating inductance

Dr. Antonio Carlos M. de Queiroz at the University of Brazil has written a set of programs to calculate inductance (particularly mutual inductance) of coils of any shape from first principles. The INCA program is particularly useful, and can be found at http://www.coe.ufrj.br/~acmq/programs/. The program also computes capacitance, etc.

Copyright 2001, Jim Lux / wheeler.htm / 26 Jan 2004 / Back to HV Home / Back to home page / Mail to Jim