It’s incredible how a simple magnet can attract so many iron particles or objects of ferrous metal. You might have even seen different science experiments regarding it. There is this experiment in which strong magnets are moved around, and iron particles take various shapes inside a jar or a transparent box. It is pretty exciting and captivating to see those magnetic particle move.
Similarly, at large dumpsites, huge magnets are being used to separate magnetic objects for reuse in the future. If you have seen all these, then I hope you somehow understand how metal detectors work. For your clarification, this is what I am going to discuss for you in this article in detail. Before the concluding para, you shall be able to know how the detectors work, what their types are, and used for which purpose. After all, it’s the metal detector I am going to talk about, which is used for treasure hunting as well!

Working principle of a metal detector

Metal detectors that are consumer-oriented have a specific type of use, and detectors that are used at workplaces, airports, schools, or prisons have a different purpose. Here, I will be discussing the most straightforward and familiar kind of working principle of metal detectors for your better understanding.
Metal detectors transmit an electromagnetic field to the unknown objects underground. When the target receives it, they again retransmit another electromagnetic field to the sensor, which then senses the presence of the object and gives a signal to the user. But, exactly how metal detectors work can be discussed by explaining the following parts related to a detector:
‘Electromagnetism’ may seem an arduous terminology to some of you. But from your fundamental academic studies, I hope you can relate that where there is magnetism, electricity finds its way, and the same goes the other way round. Electromagnetism is just a combination of magnetism and electricity.
The concept of detection method is a bit tricky but easy enough to handle when you understand it.
Ground Balance: this is an essential criterion of a metal detector. Some grounds are rich with minerals, some have very tiny particles of iron, and some have red mud. These kinds of minerals interfere with the detection method as they receive and give back similar results like actually detected metals. The responding ground signals are being filtered by the detector to reduce their interference, and then information is collected from real targets.
There are usually three types of ground balance, manual, automatic, and Tracking. Manual ground balance is set manually, automatic one does its work on its own and gets fixed on the most suitable ground balance. But once established, automatic ground balance does not change, whereas the tracking ground balance always changes and keeps track of the ground requirement.
Frequency: How well a metal detector detects depends on the frequency it works. Higher frequency is sensitive to even small targets, whereas low frequency goes deep to find large objects.
Discrimination: Now comes he discrimination factor which determines which target to dig up and which not. Different metal detectors have different types of discrimination ways. Some common is the verification between ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Some have knobs to set the level of discrimination. Others have two-dimensional displays in which variables are plotted to show the most accepted target that needs to be dug up.

Detection factor of metal detectors

It is also vital to know how deep a metal detector can detect. It can depend on several factors such as the target’s size, shape, orientation, and material, also the ground mineralization factor. Now a large object can be detected in the deep ground, but you cannot discover a small object at a depth well enough.
VLF detectors– Very low-frequency metal detectors work with low frequency, so they cannot detect targets at deeper grounds.
PI Detectors– Pulse induction detectors can work with high frequency and detect the target at the deep end of grounds. It uses high-frequency pulsed signals.
FBS detectors– Full-band spectrum metal detectors use multiple frequencies at the same time. It works more like having more than one kind of working detector searching at the same time through a single one.

Conclusion:

Metal detectors work by converting electricity into magnetism, and the reverse of it gives the final result. While choosing the right type of metal detector for your work, first determine its purpose and criteria of target accordingly.
After you have selected the right one, how metal detectors work is the next prior thing, which you must know. Because with knowledge comes experience and expertise. Several kinds of metal detectors can be found in the market.
Some companies even provide metal detectors consisting of some best criteria altogether in a single one. You need to know your forte of the fieldwork you are going to do with it, and then you can go with the one you choose best. After all, metal detecting is a fun job to do no matter in which ground you are working!

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