Book review

Sensor Review

ISSN: 0260-2288

Article publication date: 3 July 2007


(2007), "Book review", Sensor Review, Vol. 27 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Book review

John R. BrauerWiley ( 978-0-471-73169-6£69.50/100.00Publication date: March 2006

It's refreshing to read a book which is dedicated to electromagnetic actuators and sensors without it degenerating to yet another text on motors and generators. This is a niche for which very few specific books exist. One aspect which is interesting from the undergraduate student point of view is the mathematical introduction. This is written in the form of a treatise on vector calculus specifically aimed at electrodynamic problems. In this way, I am sure many students will find it easier to learn the basics of vector calculus from this text than from a typical mathematics book (of which there are also very many).

Unfortunately, the rest of the work is associated with finite element simulation rather than really getting to grips with the mathematical rigor of more complex electromagnetic problems. This said, the finite element analysis mainly uses the computer package Maxwell for which a student version can be freely downloaded from the internet. For those starting out on finite element techniques the book makes a great introduction. Simulation is not restricted to electrical properties. Mechanical and thermal aspects are also discussed and a small chapter on EMC provides the bare basics of noise and shielding.

Electromagnetic systems are also modeled using PSPICE, VHDL, MatLab and Simulink – which may be a bit much for those not already familiar with these packages. The final chapter, which deals with electro-hydraulic systems, is an interesting example of the alternative use of PSPICE but it does not seem to really fit into the general theme of the book.

The title itself is a little misleading. “Electromagnetic actuators and sensors” would have been more appropriate. Permanent magnet devices do not feature largely. In fact, most of the actuators and sensors dealt with are conventional with very little about the more modern devices. For example, magnetostrictive materials are considered only from the sensory point of view and their application to actuators is completely ignored.

With plenty of worked examples and good illustrations, the text is well written and easy to follow. In conclusion, I feel the book is aimed more at undergraduates and practicing engineers at the upper end of the technology scale rather than pure researchers seeking something new.

Gareth MonkmanFachhochschule Regensburg, Fachbereich Elektrotechnik, Regensburg, Germany