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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Electric motor

Electric motors
An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.
Most electric motors operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors to generate force. The reverse process, producing electrical energy from mechanical energy, is done by generators such as an alternator or a dynamo; some electric motors can also be used as generators, for example, a traction motor on a vehicle may perfom both tasks. . Electric motors and generators are commonly referred to as electric machines.
Electric motors are found in applications as diverse as industrial fans, blowers and pumps, machine tools, household appliances, power tools, and disk drives. They may be powered by direct current (e.g., a battery powered portable device or motor vehicle), or by alternating current from a central electrical distribution grid or inverter. The smallest motors may be found in electric wristwatches. Medium-size motors of highly standardized dimensions and characteristics provide convenient mechanical power for industrial uses. The very largest electric motors are used for propulsion of ships, pipeline compressors, and water pumps with ratings in the millions of watts. Electric motors may be classified by the source of electric power, by their internal construction, by their application, or by the type of motion they give.
The physical principle of production of mechanical force by the interactions of an electric current and a magnetic field was known as early as 1821. Electric motors of increasing efficiency were constructed throughout the 19th century, but commercial exploitation of electric motors on a large scale required efficient electrical generators and electrical distribution networks.

History and development

Faraday's electromagnetic experiment, 1821[3]

Proof of principle

The conversion of electrical energy into mechanical energy by electromagnetic means was demonstrated by the British scientist Michael Faraday in 1821. A free-hanging wire was dipped into a pool of mercury, on which a permanent magnet was placed. When a current was passed through the wire, the wire rotated around the magnet, showing that the current gave rise to a close circular magnetic field around the wire.[4] This motor is often demonstrated in school physics classes, but brine (salt water) is sometimes used in place of the toxic mercury. This is the simplest form of a class of devices called homopolar motors. A later refinement is the Barlow's wheel. These were demonstration devices only, unsuited to practical applications due to their primitive construction.[citation needed]
Jedlik's "electromagnetic self-rotor", 1827 (Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest. The historic motor still works perfectly today.[5])
In 1827, Hungarian physicist Ányos Jedlik started experimenting with devices he called "electromagnetic self-rotors". Although they were used only for instructional purposes, in 1828 Jedlik demonstrated the first device to contain the three main components of practical direct current motors: the stator, rotor and commutator. The device employed no permanent magnets, as the magnetic fields of both the stationary and revolving components were produced solely by the currents flowing through their windings

The first electric motors

The first commutator-type direct current electric motor capable of turning machinery was invented by the British scientist William Sturgeon in 1832.[12] Following Sturgeon's work, a commutator-type direct-current electric motor made with the intention of commercial use was built by Americans Emily and Thomas Davenport and patented in 1837. Their motors ran at up to 600 revolutions per minute, and powered machine tools and a printing press.[13] Due to the high cost of the zinc electrodes required by primary battery power, the motors were commercially unsuccessful and the Davenports went bankrupt. Several inventors followed Sturgeon in the development of DC motors but all encountered the same cost issues with primary battery power. No electricity distribution had been developed at the time. Like Sturgeon's motor, there was no practical commercial market for these motors

Brushed DC motors

Workings of a brushed electric motor with a two-pole rotor and permanent-magnet stator. ("N" and "S" designate polarities on the inside faces of the magnets; the outside faces have opposite polarities.)
DC motors have AC in a wound rotor also called an armature, with a split ring commutator, and either a wound or permanent magnet stator. The commutator and brushes are a long-life rotary switch. The rotor consists of one or more coils of wire wound around a laminated "soft" ferromagnetic core on a shaft; an electrical power source feeds the rotor windings through the commutator and its brushes, temporarily magnetizing the rotor core in a specific direction. The commutator switches power to the coils as the rotor turns, keeping the magnetic poles of the rotor from ever fully aligning with the magnetic poles of the stator field, so that the rotor never stops (like a compass needle does), but rather keeps rotating as long as power is applied.
Many of the limitations of the classic commutator DC motor are due to the need for brushes to press against the commutator. This creates friction. Sparks are created by the brushes making and breaking circuits through the rotor coils as the brushes cross the insulating gaps between commutator sections. Depending on the commutator design, this may include the brushes shorting together adjacent sections – and hence coil ends – momentarily while crossing the gaps. Furthermore, the inductance of the rotor coils causes the voltage across each to rise when its circuit is opened, increasing the sparking of the brushes. This sparking limits the maximum speed of the machine, as too-rapid sparking will overheat, erode, or even melt the commutator. The current density per unit area of the brushes, in combination with their resistivity, limits the output of the motor. The making and breaking of electric contact also generates electrical noise; sparking generates RFI. Brushes eventually wear out and require replacement, and the commutator itself is subject to wear and maintenance (on larger motors) or replacement (on small motors). The commutator assembly on a large motor is a costly element, requiring precision assembly of many parts. On small motors, the commutator is usually permanently integrated into the rotor, so replacing it usually requires replacing the whole rotor.
While most commutators are cylindrical, some are flat discs consisting of several segments (typically, at least three) mounted on an insulator.

Coreless or ironless DC motors

A Miniature Coreless Motor
Nothing in the principle of any of the motors described above requires that the iron (steel) portions of the rotor actually rotate. If the soft magnetic material of the rotor is made in the form of a cylinder, then (except for the effect of hysteresis) torque is exerted only on the windings of the electromagnets. Taking advantage of this fact is the coreless or ironless DC motor, a specialized form of a brush or brushless DC motor. Optimized for rapid acceleration, these motors have a rotor that is constructed without any iron core. The rotor can take the form of a winding-filled cylinder, or a self-supporting structure comprising only the magnet wire and the bonding material. The rotor can fit inside the stator magnets; a magnetically soft stationary cylinder inside the rotor provides a return path for the stator magnetic flux. A second arrangement has the rotor winding basket surrounding the stator magnets. In that design, the rotor fits inside a magnetically soft cylinder that can serve as the housing for the motor, and likewise provides a return path for the flux.
Because the rotor is much lighter in weight (mass) than a conventional rotor formed from copper windings on steel laminations, the rotor can accelerate much more rapidly, often achieving a mechanical time constant under 1 ms. This is especially true if the windings use aluminum rather than the heavier copper. But because there is no metal mass in the rotor to act as a heat sink, even small coreless motors must often be cooled by forced air. Overheating might be an issue for coreless DC motor designs.
Among these types are the disc-rotor types, described in more detail in the next section.
Vibrator motors for cellular phones are sometimes tiny cylindrical permanent-magnet field types, but there are also disc-shaped types which have a thin multipolar disc field magnet, and an intentionally-unbalanced molded-plastic rotor structure with two bonded coreless coils. Metal brushes and a flat commutator switch power to the rotor coils.

Universal motors

Universal motors

Modern low-cost universal motor, from a vacuum cleaner. Field windings are dark copper colored, toward the back, on both sides. The rotor's laminated core is gray metallic, with dark slots for winding the coils. The commutator (partly hidden) has become dark from use; it's toward the front. The large brown molded-plastic piece in the foreground supports the brush guides and brushes (both sides), as well as the front motor bearing.
A series-wound motor is referred to as a universal motor when it has been designed to operate on either AC or DC power. It can operate well on AC because the current in both the field and the armature (and hence the resultant magnetic fields) will alternate (reverse polarity) in synchronism, and hence the resulting mechanical force will occur in a constant direction of rotation.
Operating at normal power line frequencies, universal motors are often found in a range rarely larger than 1000 watt. Universal motors also form the basis of the traditional railway traction motor in electric railways. In this application, the use of AC to power a motor originally designed to run on DC would lead to efficiency losses due to eddy current heating of their magnetic components, particularly the motor field pole-pieces that, for DC, would have used solid (un-laminated) iron. Although the heating effects are reduced by using laminated pole-pieces, as used for the cores of transformers and by the use of laminations of high permeability electrical steel, one solution available at start of the 20th century was for the motors to be operated from very low frequency AC supplies, with 25 and 16.7 Hz operation being common. Because they used universal motors, locomotives using this design were also commonly capable of operating from a third rail or overhead wire powered by DC. As well, considering that steam engines directly powered many alternators, their relatively-low speeds favored low frequencies because comparatively few stator poles were needed.



Full size

An electrostatic motor is based on the attraction and repulsion of electric charge. Usually, electrostatic motors are the dual of conventional coil-based motors. They typically require a high voltage power supply, although very small motors employ lower voltages. Conventional electric motors instead employ magnetic attraction and repulsion, and require high current at low voltages. In the 1750s, the first electrostatic motors were developed by Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Gordon. Today the electrostatic motor finds frequent use in micro-mechanical (MEMS) systems where their drive voltages are below 100 volts, and where moving, charged plates are far easier to fabricate than coils and iron cores. Also, the molecular machinery which runs living cells is often based on linear and rotary electrostatic motors.

Nanotube nanomotor

Researchers at University of California, Berkeley, recently developed rotational bearings based upon multiwall carbon nanotubes. By attaching a gold plate (with dimensions of the order of 100 nm) to the outer shell of a suspended multiwall carbon nanotube (like nested carbon cylinders), they are able to electrostatically rotate the outer shell relative to the inner core. These bearings are very robust; devices have been oscillated thousands of times with no indication of wear. These nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) are the next step in miniaturization and may find their way into commercial applications in the future.
See also:
  • Molecular motors
  • Nanomotor
  • Electrostatic motor


A piezoelectric motor or piezo motor is a type of electric motor based upon the change in shape of a piezoelectric material when an electric field is applied. Piezoelectric motors make use of the converse piezoelectric effect whereby the material produces acoustic or ultrasonic vibrations in order to produce a linear or rotary motion. In one mechanism, the elongation in a single plane is used to make a series stretches and position holds, similar to the way a caterpillar moves.