From the Blog
The Purpose of Metal Detectors
Metal detectors are quite useful. They have many uses in many different fields, some of which include: the military in mine fields, airports and other security checkpoints, geophysical prospectors, and beach-combers.
The metal detector is also included in the detector radar family, because many use radar in their systems. Other members of the detector radar family include: car radar detector systems, weather radar systems, and cordless radar systems.
Metal detectors are made up of an oscillator that produces an alternating current that passes through a coil, which creates an alternating magnetic field. This means that when an electronically conductive metal is near the detector, it creates eddies of air, which causes a change in the magnetic field, which enables the operator to see where the metal is.
Handheld detectors are the most common, and are used in the majority of cases. Even land mines can be detected through the use of handheld devices. However, for really deep metals, ground penetrating radar is used in conjunction with the metal detector to unearth the hidden metal.
The metal detector has an interesting history. The first metal detectors were created in the late 19th century. The original inventors of the idea hoped to be able to create easier methods of finding ore for miners. One physicist, Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, invented the induction balance system in those days, but it took a hundred years for others to see the need for his idea.
Early machines were difficult to use, and took a lot of battery power. In the 1930’s, the modern one format began to emerge. Gerhard Fisher is the first patented inventor of the metal detector. He discovered metal detecting quite by accident, when he found a discrepancy in his radio navigational methods. His model was used in WWII, yet afterwards, when there were surplus detectors lying around, the hobby of finding metal for entertainment was formed.
It is a very useful and entertaining tool. It is hard to imagine someone never having seen one. Nearly everyone has come in contact with metal detectors at least once. It is an interesting fact that the such a detector is part of the detector radar family.
This is due to the fact that many detectors use a cordless radar system in their mechanisms. The metal one also has an interesting history, and thinking about it the next time you’re standing at a security checkpoint will give you something to ponder to pass the time.