An electromagnetic field model for the design of RF reed relays
A model of the electromechanical characteristics, electrostatic characteristics and coil eddy current losses of a reed relay was developed. These characteristics were returned from reed and coil dimensions. The model was intended as an aid to the design of reed relays for Radio Frequency (RF) and high voltage applications. An electromechanical model of a reed switch and coil was developed using a combination of an axisymmetric finite element model and analytical methods. The characteristics returned from this model were operate, release and differential amp turns, contact gap and contact force. Inclusion of results for contact resistance against contact force yielded the contact resistance characteristics. Electrostatic force between reed contacts was calculated and a criteria for contact arcing in a vacuum applied to allow prediction of breakdown voltage in an evacuated reed switch. The above elements were incorporated in a "Reed Switch Design Program" in which operating, contact resistance and breakdown voltage characteristics were calculated from reed and coil dimensions. Results were found to be in agreement with measured values for three reed switch types. Eddy current losses in relay coils were investigated through experimental measurement of losses occurring in coils mounted around a copper conductor carrying a high frequency current. The losses occurring in the coil were found to present an effective resistance to the current in the conductor. The influence of coil dimensions and the magnetic properties of the conductor on losses were observed. An analytical model of eddy current losses was derived from first principals results and were found concordant with those measured. An "RF Reed Relay Design Program" embodying the eddy current loss model and preceding work was created to demonstrate how relay performance (and efficiency) can be enhanced by tuning reed and coil dimensions. An example of its successful application to product development at Crydom Magnetics Ltd is presented. Proposals for future work are included.