Metal Detecting Rules
A metal detector is an electronic instrument which detects the presence of metal nearby.
1. Metal Detector
A metal detector is an electronic instrument which detects the presence of metal nearby. Metal detectors are useful for finding metal inclusions hidden within objects, or metal objects buried underground. They often consist of a handheld unit with a sensor probe which can be swept over the ground or other objects. If the sensor comes near a piece of metal this is indicated by a changing tone in earphones, or a needle moving on an indicator. Usually the device gives some indication of distance; the closer the metal is, the higher the tone in the earphone or the higher the needle goes. Another common type are stationary walk through metal detectors used for security screening at access points in prisons, courthouses, and airports to detect concealed metal weapons on a persons body.
The simplest form of a metal detector consists of an oscillator producing an alternating current that passes through a coil producing an alternating magnetic field. If a piece of electrically conductive metal is close to the coil, eddy currents will be induced in the metal, and this produces a magnetic field of its own. If another coil is used to measure the magnetic field acting as a magnetometer , the change in the magnetic field due to the metallic object can be detected.
The first industrial metal detectors were developed in the 1960s and were used extensively for mineral prospecting and other industrial applications. Uses include de mining the detection of land mines , the detection of weapons such as knives and guns especially in airport security , geophysical prospecting, archaeology and treasure hunting. Metal detectors are also used to detect foreign bodies in food, and in the construction industry to detect steel reinforcing bars in concrete and pipes and wires buried in walls and floors.
2. History and development
Toward the end of the 19th century, many scientists and engineers used their growing knowledge of electrical theory in an attempt to devise a machine which would pinpoint metal. The use of such a device to find ore bearing rocks would give a huge advantage to any miner who employed it. Early machines were crude, used a lot of battery power, and worked only to a very limited degree. Alexander Graham Bell used such a device to attempt to locate a bullet lodged in the chest of American President James Garfield in 1881; the metal detector worked correctly but the attempt was unsuccessful because the metal coil spring bed Garfield was lying on confused the detector.
3. Modern developments
The modern development of the metal detector began in the 1920s. Gerhard Fisher had developed a system of radio direction finding, which was to be used for accurate navigation. The system worked extremely well, but Fisher noticed that there were anomalies in areas where the terrain contained ore bearing rocks. He reasoned that if a radio beam could be distorted by metal, then it should be possible to design a machine which would detect metal using a search coil resonating at a radio frequency. In 1925 he applied for, and was granted, the first patent for a metal detector. Although Gerhard Fisher was the first person granted a patent for a metal detector, the first to apply was Shirl Herr, a businessman from Crawfordsville, Indiana. His application for a hand held Hidden Metal Detector was filed in February 1924, but not patented until July 1928. Herr assisted Italian leader Benito Mussolini in recovering items remaining from the Emperor Caligulas galleys at the bottom of Lake Nemi, Italy, in August 1929. Herrs invention was used by Admiral Richard Byrds Second Antarctic Expedition in 1933, when it was used to locate objects left behind by earlier explorers. It was effective up to a depth of eight feet.However, it was one Lieutenant J
4. Further refinements
Many manufacturers of these new devices brought their own ideas to the market. Whites Electronics of Oregon began in the 1950s by building a machine called the Oremaster Geiger Counter. Another leader in detector technology was Charles Garrett, who pioneered the BFO Beat Frequency Oscillator machine. With the invention and development of the transistor in the 1950s and 1960s, metal detector manufacturers and designers made smaller lighter machines with improved circuitry, running on small battery packs. Companies sprang up all over the USA and Britain to supply the growing demand.
Modern top models are fully computerized, using integrated circuit technology to allow the user to set sensitivity, discrimination, track speed, threshold volume, notch filters, etc., and hold these parameters in memory for future use. Compared to just a decade ago, detectors are lighter, deeper seeking, use less battery power, and discriminate better.
Larger portable metal detectors are used by archaeologists and treasure hunters to locate metallic items, such as jewelry, coins, bullets, and other various artifacts buried shallowly underground.
The biggest technical change in detectors was the development of the induction balance system. This system involved two coils that were electrically balanced. When metal was introduced to their vicinity, they would become unbalanced. What allowed detectors to discriminate between metals was the fact that every metal has a different phase response when exposed to alternating current. Scientists had long known of this fact by the time detectors were developed that could selectively detect desirable metals, while ignoring undesirable ones.
Even with discriminators, it was still a challenge to avoid undesirable metals, because some of them have similar phase responses e.g. tinfoil and gold, particularly in alloy form. Thus, improperly tuning out certain metals increased the risk of passing over a valuable find. Another disadvantage of discriminators was that they reduced the sensitivity of the machines.
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