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} = 31.6 * N^2 * r1^2 / (6*r1 + 9*L + 10*(r2-r1))

L{uH} = Inductance in microHenries
N^2 = Total Number of turns on coil Squared
r1 = Radius of the inside of the coil {meters}
r2 = Radius of the outside of the coil {meters}
L = Length of the coil {meters}

Note the similarity to the formula for the single layer
air core coil. Hope this helps everyone.

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.


Copyright 2001, Jim Lux / wheeler.htm / 10 Jan 2001 / Back to HV Home / Back to home page / Mail to Jim