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Input: Electric current
Output: Mechanical movement in a straight line.
Here is a simple example.
Inside the metal frame, there is a coil of copper wire.
When a current is passed through the coil, it becomes
magnetised and the moveable iron core is pulled into the coil.
This movement can be used to ...
Solenoids are inductive (contain an electromagnet) and they produce a large back EMF if the current flowing is suddenly turned off. To prevent this, put a diode in parallel with the solenoid. This allows the current to die away slowly and the large back EMF is prevented. This also prevents damage to the driver circuit controlling the solenoid.
In this simulation, note the slow current build-up and decay through the diode.
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