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In 1820, Hans Christian Oersted and Andre Marie Ampere discovered that a magnetic field forms around a wire when current is passed through, thereby laying the foundation of electromagnetism. In an attempt to confirm or deny various speculations surrounding the findings of Oersted and Ampere, Michael Faraday set up an experiment in 1821 to display whether or not a circular magnetic field is produced when current runs through a wire. His experiment consisted of a permanent magnet placed in a mercury bath along with a current carrying wire extending from above into the bath, as shown in figure 1. When energized by a chemical battery, the wire circled around the permanent magnet. Due to the conversion of electrical to rotational energy, this experimental setup is considered by many as the first electric motor (although this motor was unusable for any practical purpose). In 1832, William Sturgeon built the first electric motor to produce a continuous rotary motion. His motor, including the first ever commutator (a rotational electric switch), consisted of all of the basic elements used in brushed DC motors today.
Figure 1. Faraday's Electromagnetism Experiment

How it Works
The function of the electric motor is to convert electrical energy into rotational mechanical energy. The principle phenomena associated with this conversion are the occurrence of a magnetic field surrounding a conductor when current is passed through, and the tendency of magnetic fields to either attract or oppose one another (depending on the polarity). Thus, when a current carrying conductor is placed in an external magnetic field, it experiences a force proportional to both the current in the conductor and to the strength of the external field. The brushed DC, three-pole electric motor consists of two permanent magnets attached to an outer casing, three windings (or poles), a commutator switch, and a shaft and bearings upon which to rotate. A model of a two-pole motor is shown in figure 2. This model displays how the permanent magnets interact with the coils to produce a torque, and therefore rotation, about the shaft. As the shaft rotates, the commutator rotates and interacts with the positive and negative terminals of the voltage supply. The commutator acts as a switch which reverses the direction of current in the windings. As a result, each time Figure 2. Two-pole motor the shaft turns 180 degrees the polarity of one (three-pole motor) or both operation (two-pole motor) of the coils reverse. Two-pole motors are not used for practical purposes due to their tendency to become stuck in certain positions. In other words, positions exist in the two-pole motor in which the torque about the shaft produced by the magnetic interaction is zero (which can cause problems when trying to start the motor). The

three-pole motor prevents this problem by keeping at least two of the three coils in a position to produce torque at all times.

The coils are wound such that the much of the circular magnetic field surrounding each individual turn of wire cancels with the field of the neighboring wire. The net magnetic field then takes somewhat of an ovular shape around the coil (if viewed twodimensionally). Thus, the magnetic field of an electromagnet is very comparable to the magnetic Shaft Coils field of a permanent magnet. Figure 3 displays the behavior of Figure 3. Electromagnet vs. permanent a magnetic field surrounding an magnet magnetic fields electromagnet (left) and a permanent magnet (right). In the motor, the three coils are connected electrically in series and are attached Commutator rings directly to the shaft. The coils therefore make up the rotor, or rotating piece, of this motor. A photograph of the rotor assembly Figure 4. Rotor assembly can be seen in figure 4. The wires of each coil are coated with enamel to provide electrical insulation.
Permanent magnets


Figure 5. Permanent magnet assembly

The two permanent magnets are mounted to the inner casing of the motor by the use of two flaps protruding into the motor from the top of the case on one end, and a U-shaped spring on the other end. The U-spring and flaps holding the magnets in place can be seen in figure 5. These magnets provide a constant magnetic field to interact with the fields produced by the coils and thereby create a torque about the shaft. All together, the permanent magnets and casing make up the stator, or stationary part, of the motor.


The commutator was the final cog in the invention of the brushed DC motor. It allows the rotary shaft to experience a torque in only one direction about the shaft axis as power is supplied to the motor. The commutator typically consists of two copper half-rings attached to the shaft, and two springloaded brushes attached to the casing. This make-up is consistent with the disassembled motor, as seen in figure 6. As previously mentioned, each time the shaft turns 180 degrees, the

Figure 6. Commutator assembly

direction of current in one of the coils reverses, thereby reversing the polarity of the magnetic field surrounding that coil.
Electrical Schematic

An electrical schematic, along with a bond graph representation, of the DC motor is given in figure 7. The inductance and resistance are associated with the coils, and the inertia and friction are associated with the rotor and bearings, respectively. Assuming that each coil consists of 3 meters and 100 turns of 32-gage wire, the overall resistance is 1.61 Ohms, and the inductance, according to

is 66.7H, where r is the mean radius of the coil, N is the number of turns, l is the length of the coil, and d is the depth (outside minus inside radius) of the coil. The following table summarizes the values used in the inductance and resistance calculations.
Table 1. Wire and coil estimated dimensions

Ohm/km 538.3

N 100

r(in.) 0.2

l(in.) 0.2

d(in.) 0.2

*Ohm/km value taken from

Note that these values of resistance and inductance are based off of estimated wire and coil dimensions, and are therefore not 100% reliable. These values do, however, convey that the losses associated with the inductance and resistance are small. Now, lets say that the mass of the rotor is 30 grams. We know that for a cylinder,

Thus the rotor has a moment of inertia of 1.5e-6 kg*m2. It is assumed that the frictional constant b is 0.01 kg* m2/sec.

Experimental setup
In order to obtain input and output power data, the motor was hooked up to a multimeter and provided with various voltages. Power is simply the product of effort and flow variables, and thus the power into the motor is P Vi , and the power out of the motor is P . The voltage and current entering the motor are known to be the output of the multimeter. The real issue in this experiment then is finding the output torque and angular velocity. The first

attempt at finding these two unknowns was to use a thin fishing line to hang a weight from the shaft. The torque imposed on the motor by the weight is the product of the radius The voltage is proportional to output speed, so low voltages were used in order to obtain accurate measurements of the output speed.

After calculating the inductance and measuring the capacitance range of the created components, I was able to estimate the frequency of the signal I expected to receive. I set the capacitor to 0.4nF, and given the measured inductance of 198H the expected signal was at a frequency of 565.5kHz. sd Sources