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Aluminum or copper wire in motors?

Some motor manufacturers go from CU to Al because they try to reduce costs.
Then it just works the other way. Al wire needs to have a larger diameter than Cu if you want the same motor performance.
Then you may face problems with the slot opening and the slot fill, there may not even be enough space at all for the Al wire. You may need to change your lamination.

Furthermore, the blade gap of your inserting tools may not be suitable anymore so you will need a new set of toolings.
Also the end turns will have more volume which may cause problems at the end turn forming and even assembling process.
Besides, due to the properties of Al wire, your rejects will increase during the manufacturing process.
These are just a few examples.

Before changing to Al wire, manufacturers should consider the pros and cons carefully.
Some may invest more than they will safe with the cheaper Al wire.

Copper - at least at the purities and alloys used for electrical conductors - is fairly scarce, which tends to make the price pretty volatile. Aluminum, on the other hand, is fairly abundant in the alloys used for conductors ... and hence pretty stable in price (not to mention cheaper than copper).

Neither raw material (copper or aluminum) is used in its pure form for electrical conductors. Both have some other materials added, primarily for mechanical strength. The key factor in determining how much of each to use is the conductivity: 98 percent for the typical copper alloy (ref UNC C11000), 61 percent for the 1970s aluminum alloy (ref EC 1350), or 56 percent for the modern aluminum alloys used in busbar material (ref alloy 6101).

Material properties:
Tensile strength (same cross section) lb/in2: Cu = 50000 Al = 32000
Tensile strength (same conductivity) lb/in2: Cu = 50000 Al = 50000
Weight (same conductivity) lb : Cu = 100 Al = 54
Cross section (same conductivity) % : Cu = 100 Al = 156
Coefficient expansion per deg C x 10^-6 : Cu = 16.6 Al = 23.0

The choice between Al and Cu usually boils down to either cost or weight.

Care must be taken because Al is not as strong (more problems with the forces generated by fault conditions) AND because it has a higher susceptibility to dimensional change under high temperature conditions (such as those occurring during electrical faults).

Another consideration for an aluminum-winding machine are the connection points for real-world transmission: care in terminations is a must. Galvanic action between dissimiar materials is a known difficulty that can be further aggravated by airborne (chemical) contaminants.

By |May 26th, 2016|Iacdrive_blog|0 Comments

DC Motor Armature Testing

For a DC Motor Armature, There is a simple method of determining the condition of the Armature.
Drop Test Method: Give a DC Voltage across the commutator Segments for one pole pitch area from a Power supply or Battery. Connect Positive end of the DC power supply at one end and the Negative end at the opposite end.
For example if the total number of commutator segments are say, 40 in the armature to be tested and the total number of poles is 4, then one pole pitch area will be 10 segments.

Now measure with a Milli volt meter say 0 to 10 millivolts range, the Voltage Drop at the center point, that is between 5th and 6th segment. again rotate the Armature Clockwise or Anti clock wise and measure the next set of segments.
Like this complete measurements for all the 40 segments pairs. simultaneously recording the readings.

If there is any defect in the winding, that is shorted or open, it will show in the readings.
If the reading of Milli volt Meter is uniform for the all the 40 segments pairs, than the armature is good. If there is short between winding or the winding coil between one particular pair of segments, the reading will be less drop in millivolts. If there is any loose or open, the reading will be more than normal readings. Thus one can determine the condition of a DC armature for short or lose or open winding.

When testing a DC armature there is a series of tet should that should be done. The first is. Ground insulation test or more commonly known as a mugger test, usually done at 500VDC. If the ground reading is above 1 meg ohm the armature is good to go to the next test which is a bar to bar test. There are 2 pieces of equipment to conduct this test the best. One of these combined with the mugger test will tell you if the armature is satisfactory return to service. The first bar to bar test is conducted with a "DLRO" digital low resistance ohm meter. The meter will circulate about 8-10 amps thru adjacent successive bars and measure the milli ohm resistance of the circuit. If there is more than a 5% variation then the armature is shorted turn to turn. The next tester which is called a high frequency bar to bar tester. The tester has 4 tet points and as you move it around the armature a high frequency voltage is introduced across the pairs of successive windings and the meter will show a variation if there is a shorted turn. If it passes either of these 2 bar to bar test and the ground insulation test then it can be returned to service.

By |May 26th, 2016|Iacdrive_blog|0 Comments

Ratio of stator coils and rotor poles in three phase axial flux PM motor design

Question:
I am currently investigating the design of a three phase axial flux PM motor, but replacing conventional materials with high temperature superconductors. I'm interested to know the thoughts of group members regarding design rules/rules of thumb relating to the number of stator coils and rotor poles. Many in the amateur wind turbine community seem to use a 4:3 ratio (magnets:coils), but I can't seem to find anything 'official' on the topic.

An equal number of magnets: coils would cause problems with starting the motor and with cogging/torque pulsations.
The only textbook I've found dedicated to the design of axial flux PM motors is Jacek Gieras's book on 'Axial Flux Permanent Magnet Brushless Machines', but this seems only to mention examples of coils: poles ratios (e.g., 12 stator coils and 8 rotor poles, 9/8, etc.).

Answer:
"Design of Brushless Permanent-Magnet Motors" by J.R. Hendershot Jr. and TJE Miller is an excellent design book and pages 3-50 thru 3-55 illustrate the 3 phase winding patterns you describe (8/6, 8/9, and 4/6). Whether axial air gap or radial air gap the principles are the same. I assume with an axial air gap machine you do not want phases overlapping each other, that is the common factor in the three patterns above. This keeps winding simple and compact and is commonly used on smaller 3 phase brushless motors.

These windings do not automatically guarantee a true BEMF sine wave form. If you want a sinusoidal waveform you will have to do some work on tailoring the magnetic design (gap between magnets, skewing, air gap profiling, etc.). Some servo motor manufacturers do just this to get a true BEMF sine wave to match their sine wave controllers for ripple free torque operation.

Another decision is does the coil center have a laminated steel pole or only and air center. Air gap windings should be axially thin and have no hysteresis component which is good for high speed operation. A slotted pole winding can handle more wire bulk but a laminated construction may be difficult to implement, you might look at an AC Powdered Metal for the Armature and teeth.

If you allow phase coils to overlap there are a great many other winding patterns possible (listed in the reference book), some are better for Trapezoid controller drive and some are better for sine wave controller drive (BEMF should match controller drive type). Just depends on you end goals.

By |May 26th, 2016|Iacdrive_blog|0 Comments

AC motors Variable torque and Constant torque

AC Motors - Variable torque: AC motors have a speed torque characteristic that varies as the square of the speed. For example, an 1,800/900-rpm electrical motor that develops 10 hp at 1,800 rpm produces 2.5 hp at 900 rpm. Since ac motors face loads, such as centrifugal pumps, fans, and blowers, have a torque requirement that varies as the square or cube of the speed, this ac motor characteristic is usually adequate.

AC Motors - Constant torque: These ac motors can develop the same torque at each speed, thus power output varies directly with speed. For example, an ac motor rated at 10 hp at 1,800 rpm produces 5 hp at 900 rpm. These ac motors are used in applications with constant torque requirements such as mixers, conveyors, and compressors.

By |May 26th, 2016|Iacdrive_blog|0 Comments

Synchronous motors VS induction motors

1- Synchronous motors generally offer more efficiency than induction ones, and hence in higher ratings (about 5000 hp and higher) they may be more cost effective considering Life Cycle Costs. The exact size of preference to switch to Synchronous shall be determined based on LCC analysis of specific application.
2- A Large reciprocating compressor is a highly variable load and a synchronous motor will keep its speed in this situation while the induction motor would respond with fluctuating speed.
3- Based on API 618 (with reference to IEC and NEMA), a synchronous motor used for reciprocating compressor may tolerate 66% variation in current, while an induction motor is allowed to have only 40% variation in current which in larger compressors may be exceeded (because of variable load).Also Higher efficiency induction motors with less slip, cause more current variations and are prohibited.

Synchronous motors are characterized by limited starting torque, the ability to actively control power factor and less current in-rush than the induction motor. The synchronous motor also requires active matching of torque demand with motor output. Synchronous motors started “across-the–line” also produce oscillatory torques at the twice slip frequency during acceleration (i.e., starting at 120 Hz and decreasing to 0 Hz at full speed). These torques generally require additional transient torsional analysis because of the potential for damage.
Synchronous motors are usually advantageous on slow speed applications (e.g., low speed reciprocating compressors operating from 200-400 RPM) and also on machines larger than about 10,000 to 15,000 HP.  With both motor types, it is important to match the compressor torque versus speed requirements with motor torque versus speed capabilities as discussed in Sections 6.0 and 7.0. Both induction and synchronous motor types can be coupled with a VFD for variable speed operation.

If the motor is being driven by a variable frequency drive with sophisticated drive algorithms, i.e. controllers that can track the load torque variations, then both the efficiency and transient stability problems can be solved together.

The other significant thing is the starting problem. The transient load torque is also present at starting so the motor has to be able to accelerate through the load transients and be capable of starting when the compressor is sitting at the highest load.

By |May 26th, 2016|Iacdrive_blog|0 Comments

VFD overcurrent trip during acceleration/deceleration

First, we should know it's caused by loads or itself. If it's the variable frequency drive problem, we can check the trip current from the VFD operation history, to see if the current exceeds the VFDs rated current or electronic thermal relay settings value. If three-phase voltages and currents are balanced, we should consider overload or sudden change situations, such as motor stall. If the load inertia is big, we should extend the acceleration time appropriately, this is suitable for a good VFD. If the trip current is within the variable frequency drive rated current or electronic thermal relay setting range, then it maybe the IPM module or relevant parts failure. In this case, we can measure the variable frequency drive output terminals (U, V, W), and resistance of the P, N terminals on DC side to determine whether the IPM module damaged or not. If the module is good, then we can know it is the drive circuit trouble. If IPM module overcurrent or ground wire short circuit causes the VFD trip in deceleration, generally it's the top half-bridge module or drive circuit fault; If IPM module overcurrent during acceleration, then it is the next half-bridge module or drive part fault. For such failures, mostly it's the external dust entering the variable frequency drives or environment moisture.

By |May 26th, 2016|Iacdrive_blog|0 Comments

Choose motors for electric vehicles

My experience with the types of motors in electric vehicle is the following. There are three choices for motors in EVs, permanent magnet PM, integral permanent magnet IPM, and induction motor IM. They each have their pros and cons. A PM has the highest power density; it was used on a military HEV on which I worked. A con for the PM is the back emf during a vehicle run-away. If the vehicle were to go down hill at a high rate of speed a large bemf would be generated that would damage the IGBTs due to excessive DC bus voltage. The integral permanent magnet motor has smaller power density because the magnets are smaller and interior to the rotor, but is a compromise on the excessive bemf during a run away. The IPM has "half" permanent magnet torque and "half" reluctance torque. The IM has the smallest power density, and thus the physically largest for the same power and torque. On the other hand, it does not have an excessive bemf condition during run-away. The IM is also less expensive, but this was not the main consideration on the HEV on which I worked.

The major reason for using PM or IPM motors is power density and efficiency. That results in better mileage, lower weight and additionally less cooling required.
The cost for PM is significantly higher and availability is lower. Especially in Hybrids PM seems to be standard (e.g. Prius) but they have their own motor design.
For run-away the solution Chip suggested is an option. The short circuit currents are not necessary to high for the inverter if the inductance is high enough. That obviously needs a special design for the motor and possibly a short circuit device between motor and drive. Additionally the transients for the short circuit currents can be twice as high as the steady state short circuit currents. Another option would be to disconnect the driveline from the motor mechanically.
Another motor type that has not been discussed here is the high speed switched reluctance motor. Inexpensive to build and high efficiency (although lower power density).

By |May 26th, 2016|Iacdrive_blog|0 Comments

What’s a variable frequency drive (VFD)?

Variable frequency drive is an electric device to change AC power frequency to control AC motor speed, In addition, it also can change the AC power voltage.

In the past, variable frequency drive was included in motor generators, rotating converters and other electrical equipment. With the emergence of semiconductor electronic devices, VFD can be completely manufactured independent.

Variable Frequency Drive allows the electric motor smooth start up, control startup current growing from zero to motor rated current, reduce impact to the power grid and avoid the motor being burned out, also provide protect in  motor running process. Besides these functions, the main function of variable frequency drive is adjusting the motor running speed according to actual operation conditions, to achieve energy saving effect.

Generally, variable frequency drive contains two components: rectifier and inverter. The rectifier converts incoming AC power to DC power, then the inverter converts DC power to the desired frequency AC power. In addition to these two parts, variable frequency drive may also contain transformer and battery. Wherein the transformer changes the voltage and isolates input/output circuit, the battery compensates energy loss inside the VFD drive circuit.

The variable frequency drive not only changes the AC power frequency, but also can change electric AC motor rotation speed and torque. In such conditions, the most typical VFD structure is a three-phase two level source variable frequency drive. The VFD controls each phase voltage by the semiconductor switch and pulse width modulation (PWM).

In addition, variable frequency drive also can be used in aerospace industry. For example, the electrical equipment inside aircraft needs 400Hz AC power, but generally the power on ground is 50Hz or 60Hz. Therefore, when the aircraft is parked on ground, the variable frequency drive will convert 50Hz/60Hz to 400Hz AC power to suitable for the aircraft.

By |May 26th, 2016|Iacdrive_blog|0 Comments

Full load torque VS Rated torque

All motors have a "torque vs speed" characteristic.

DC machines are very simple: constant torque from zero speed to some "base speed", and then a "constant power" ranging from base speed to top speed. In the constant torque range, acceleration is dependent on applied voltage, with the field under constant full current excitation. In the constant power range, voltage is held constant and the field current is reduced, thereby achieving an increase in speed (hence the term "field weakening").

AC machines are somewhat more complex, since the curves are nowhere near as linear. The key points are:
- "starting torque", which is the torque achieved at the locked rotor (zero speed) condition
- "pull in torque", which is the available machine torque at the point where the machine pulls into synchronism (synchronous machines only)
- "pull out or breakdown torque", which is the peak torque the machine can sustain momentarily before stalling
- "load torque", which is the amount of torque actually required by the process at any operating point
- "accelerating torque", which is the difference between what the machine is capable of producing and the load torque

A machine is rated for the "full load torque" condition which is the rated torque performance of the machine. In imperial (lb.ft) units, that would be 5252 * HP / RPM. It can produce this torque continuously, provided it has the rated conditions of applied terminal voltage and applied terminal current (for both rotor and stator, as applicable).

The time required to start a motor is dependent primarily on the accelerating torque available and the combined inertia (motor + remainder of drive train).

Note that available starting and pull-in torque during the transient operation of starting is proportional to the square of the applied voltage - if the voltage dips below 1.0 per unit, the available torque will be significantly reduced.

When operating an AC machine on a

Compensate electric motors effect of high altitude

Case: Two electrical motors that design for altitude <1000 m but now this two electrical motor have installed on altitude 1880 m and this electrical motors become very hot. The electrical machines power is 15300KW & 9700KW and they cooled by force air and water cooler.

First - machines designed for higher-than-normal altitude (i.e. in excess of 1000 m = 3300 ft above sea level) are designed with lower allowable temperature rises. The rule-of-thumb approximation is 1 degree C for every 100 m above 1000.

This means a typical Class B rise (max 80 C over 40 C ambient) will be designed for a max 71 C rise over ambient at 1880 m altitude.

Since temperature is more-or-less proportional to the square of the current, the design either reduced in output power to limit the current, or is "overdesigned" so that the resultant output power is the effective de-rate condition. In this case, the "sea level" rating of 15300 kW would become 15300 * (71/80)^2 = 15300 * 0.94 = 14382 kW. Likewise, the 9700 kW machine would be rated for 9118 kW.

The ability to cool the machine effectively is based on two things: the amount of coolant in direct contact with the heat source(s), and the pressure of the coolant flow. At altitude, the density of the coolant is reduced significantly, hence the requirement to operate at lower power ratings. The pressure of the airflow over the windings, etc is ALSO reduced at higher altitude, making the cooling more inefficient.

Speeding up the blower (i.e. going from 6 pole speed to 4 pole speed, for example) will overcome some of this by increasing both airflow and pressure. However, the power draw on the blower drive motor may also necessitate an increase in size to accommodate the new loading parameters (including the effects of high altitude on it!). Note that if the air movement within the machine enclosure is dependent solely on the MACHINE rotor speed (i.e. a shaft mounted fan), there will be a need to develop and apply a separately-powered fan to accommodate the required changes.

The probability of voltage breakdown / corona / flashover is increased above 1800 m as well, which means at least taking a cursory look at both creepage and strike distances.

And finally - if, after all this, the machine is still overheating ... time to look at the cleanliness of the liquid side of the heat exchanger. This may mean cleaning or replacing the tubing and headers, determining liquid flow rates (and pressures) and ensuring they are within original design criteria (roughly 3.8 litres per minute for each kW of loss in the rotating machine).

By |May 26th, 2016|Iacdrive_blog|0 Comments