What Are Magnetometers Used For?

What is a Magnetometer?

A magnetometer is an electrical device or appliance that measures the magnetic field in a particular area. It may also calculate the value of the magnetic dipole moment of magnetic substances and materials like ferromagnets. It can do so by recording and estimating the effect of the magnetic dipole that works on the induced current in a specific coil. A few magnetometers can also measure the strength, relative change, or direction of the magnetic field. 

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What are the Different Types and Kinds of Magnetometers?

Depending on the kind of measurement done and the instances or situations in which they get used, magnetometers can get categorized into eight primary types. They consist of the following:

  • Vector Magnetometers

A vector magnetometer measures the vector components and values of a magnetic field. 

Some magnetometers find application in the study of the magnetic field of the Earth. They may express the values of its vector components in some specific terms. 

They can be as declination angle (the angle between the geographic or true North of the Earth and the horizontal component of the magnetic field) and inclination angle (the angle between the horizontal surface of the Earth and the vector component of the magnetic field). 

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  • Scalar Magnetometers

A scalar magnetometer calculates the magnitude of a vector magnetic field. It is also known as a total field magnetometer.

  • Absolute Magnetometers

An absolute magnetometer measures the value of the vector magnetic field or the absolute magnitude. It utilizes an internal calibration or some accepted and comprehended physical constant of the magnetic sensor. 

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  • Relative Magnetometers

A relative magnetometer calculates the magnitude or value of the vector magnetic field. It remains relative to an uncalibrated and fixed baseline. Also known by the name variometers, it gets used to measure the variations or fluctuations that can arise in a magnetic field.

  • Stationary Magnetometers

A stationary magnetometer gets used while it remains fixed to a particular position. Its measurements get taken in this fastened state. 

  • Portable Magnetometers

A portable magnetometer gets used in a dynamic state. In other words, its measurements get taken when the device is in motion. It can also get carried and transported from one place to another in a moving vehicle. 

The device is also known as a mobile magnetometer. 

  • Laboratory Magnetometers

A laboratory magnetometer gets used to measure or estimate the magnetic field of magnetic substances or materials that come placed within these devices. They are generally of a stationary type and find application in research institutes and centers. 

  • Survey Magnetometer

A laboratory magnetometer calculates the value of the magnetic fields. They get detected in geomagnetic surveys. They may remain fixed in based stations or may get carried to scan the vicinity of a geographic region. 

What are the Uses of a Magnetometer?

A magnetometer has a diverse application range and gets used in various fields, sectors, and industries. A few of its uses comprise the following:

  • Measurement of Mechanical Stress

A magnetometer can monitor and measure the magnitude of mechanical stress. It generally gets found in ferromagnetic materials. 

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It is possible because magnetic stress improves the alignment of the microscopic magnetic domains, raising the magnetic field of the substances that lie close to the magnetometers. 

  • Physics of Experimental Particles

A magnetometer gets used in accelerator physics extensively. It measures the value of the magnetic field of the pivotal components like focusing or concentration beam-magnets. 

  • Archaeology

A magnetometer helps discover shipwrecks and archaeological sites. It can also work for submerged and buried places and objects. 

  • Aurora Indication

A magnetometer can indicate activity from auroras before the light becomes visible to the naked eye. 

  • Exploration and Discovery of Coal

In the exploration and discovery of coal, a magnetometer can get two for two purposes. It can help map the shape and structure of a regional basin and detect the underlying hazards of a coal mine. The latter may include basaltic intrusions such as volcanic plugs, dykes, and skills that damage the resources. They also prove detrimental and dangerous to the mining equipment. Magnetometers can locate the areas ignited by map siderite. It can also detect the zone of lightning. 

Modern underground surveys and explorations use magnetometers that have GPS technology incorporated in them. They automatically detect and record the location and magnitude of the magnetic field. 

  • Directional Drilling

A magnetometer finds application in directional drilling for gases and oils. It perceives the azimuth angle of the drilling tools at a point near the drill. 

The magnetometer can often get paired and used with accelerometers. It helps discover and measure both the azimuth angle and the angle of inclination. 

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  • Military

A magnetometer gets used in the military for defensive purposes. Navies utilize arrays of the instrument laid in strategic locations across the seafloor beforehand to monitor and detect any ensuing submarine or underwater activity. 

  • Exploration and Discovery of Minerals

A magnetometer proves beneficial in detecting magnetic anomalies underground. It represents the presence of ore, and the process involves a direct detection method. On the other hand, the magnetometer may also discover the gangue minerals or impurities associated with the deposits of the various ores. This method is called inferential or indirect detection. It can locate hematite, iron ore, and magnetite.

The magnetometer can map and shape specific geographical structures. They typically turn out advantageous to mineralization. 

  • Mobile Phones

Mobile phones contain and utilize the miniature versions of MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) magnetometers. They get used to detect and evaluate the strength of the developed magnetic field and find applications as compasses. 

Recent and more developed magnetometers that get embedded in phones and mobile devices permit and enable 3D interaction without any touch. 

  • Exploration and Discovery of Oil

A magnetometer helps discover the locations of underground oil reserves and proffers additional information about the geology of the place. It can also detect and notify of the pieces of evidence collected from tap leakages. 

The magnetometer can also give an idea of the places of particular geological features. They can make drilling unfeasible in those locations. 

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