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Calculation of magnetic forces and torques on the Kibble coil



Stephan Schlamminger, Lorenz Keck, Frank Seifert, Leon Chao, Darine El Haddad, Shisong Li


Analytically the force and torques on a coil in a field of magnetic flux density can be calculated one of two ways. The line integral can be conducted along the coil's wire, summing up the differential force contribution. For each differential line segment, the force is obtained as a cross product with the magnetic flux density. Alternatively, the coil's energy in the field is the current times the flux threading the coil. Hence, the energy is obtained by executing a surface integral over the coil's open surface. Here, a dot product of the differential surface element with the magnetic flux density is executed under the integral sign. The forces and torques can then be obtained from the negative derivative of the energy with respect to the appropriate coordinate. For yoke-based Kibble balances, the latter method is much simpler since most of the flux is contained in the inner yoke of the magnet and can be written as a simple equation. Here, we use this method to provide simple equations and their results for finding the torques and forces that act on a coil in a yoke-based magnet system. We further introduce a simple method that allows the calculation of the position and orientation difference between the coil and the magnet from three measurements.


Kibble balance, Magnet design, Flux integral, torque


Schlamminger, S. , Keck, L. , Seifert, F. , Chao, L. , El Haddad, D. and Li, S. (2022), Calculation of magnetic forces and torques on the Kibble coil, Metrologia, [online],, (Accessed July 20, 2024)


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Created October 22, 2022, Updated November 29, 2022