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Analysis of a three phase induction motor directly from Maxwells

equations
Shayak Bhattacharjee
Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh 208016, India

(Received 19 May 2011; accepted 12 August 2011)


The torque developed in a three phase AC squirrel cage motor is usually expressed in terms of
resistances and reactances of the stator, the rotor, and the motor as a whole. We use Maxwells
equations to find the torque in terms of geometrical parameters. This formulation allows us to
estimate the torque developed by a motor without knowing the details of its circuitry. VC 2012
American Association of Physics Teachers.

[DOI: 10.1119/1.3633696]
I. INTRODUCTION
The analysis of the induction motor is generally the domain
of electrical engineering. In this paper, we present an alternative analysis based on physical considerations. Our results are
in terms of geometrical parameters of the motor rather than in
terms of reactances of the different components.
The standard procedure1 for evaluating the performance
of a three-phase AC squirrel cage motor is a perphase analysis of a circuit containing Thevenin equivalents of the stator,
rotor, and load. That is, each phase of the circuit is analyzed
separately and then the results for the three phases are combined. The analysis proceeds as for a transformer, with the
coupling between windings taken to be a function of the rotation speed. The circuit diagram is shown in Fig. 1. Here R1
and X1 refers to the resistance and the reactance of the stator,
R2 and X2 to those of the rotor, and Req and Xeq are the equivalent parameters for the motor as a whole. V1 is the voltage
applied to the stator. From Thevenins theorem, we have
Req iXeq R1 iX1 jjRc jjiXm ;

(1)

where R1||R2 denotes the equivalent resistance of the parallel


combination of R1 and R2, and Rc is the coupling resistor, as
shown in Fig. 1. The equivalent voltage is given by
V~eq V1

Rc jjiXm
:
R1 iX1 Rc jjiXm

(2)

The torque C for the equivalent Thevenin circuit is given by


R2
3 jV~eq j2
s
"
# ;
2
R2
2
Req
Xeq X2 f1
s

are mounted in the horizontal plane at equal angular spacings at


the radius R. The cage has radius r and height h, the conductor
bars have thickness s in the radial direction, and conductivity r.
The conductor is arranged in the form of vertical bars instead
of as a continuous cylindrical shell for the purpose of constraining eddy currents in all directions other than the vertical. As we
shall see, it is only the vertical eddies that contribute to the torque. The bars are placed close together so that we can treat the
conductor as a continuous cylindrical shell without appreciable
error. The orientations of the dipoles are shown in Fig. 3.
Three phase alternating voltage at frequency X is supplied
to the motor, one phase to each dipole. Hence the currents
through dipoles 1, 2, and 3 are I0 sin Xt, I0 sin (Xt 2p=3),
and I0 sin(Xt 4p=3), respectively.
We now consider a point on a circle of radius r at an angle
h from a reference line, which without loss of generality we
may select as the line joining the center of the cage to dipole
1. We show a schematic diagram in Fig. 3.
The expression for the field of a magnetic dipole is cumbersome, and therefore we use the vector potential. The vec~ is
tor potential of a magnetic dipole of moment m
~~
r
~ l0 m
A
;
3
4p j~
rj

(4)

where ~
r is the position vector of the field point P (see Fig. 3)
relative to the dipole. In our case the dipoles are oriented
~ is in the z direction at
with their axes in the x-y plane and A
all points in the x-y plane. For simplicity, we use a twodimensional geometry.

(3)

where f1 is the frequency at which the voltage is applied to


the stator, f2 is the angular frequency of the rotor, and
s (f1  f2)=f1. We see that the torque is expressed in terms
of the resistances and reactances of the various components.
In this paper we will derive an expression for C based
entirely on Maxwells equations. Our derivation requires no
more knowledge of electromagnetism than can be acquired
from a standard undergraduate text.2
II. DERIVATION
We show the top and front views of a squirrel cage motor in
Fig. 2. The three magnetic dipoles, each assumed to be ideal,
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Am. J. Phys. 80 (1), January 2012

http://aapt.org/ajp

Fig. 1. Circuit diagram of a three-phase squirrel cage AC motor showing


the Thevenin equivalent circuit.
C 2012 American Association of Physics Teachers
V

43

For dipole 1 (which has strength M) we have


~ M^. We define
~
r R^ r cos h^ r sin h^| and M
~0
A

~
A
;
l0 =4p

(5)

and obtain
~0
A

Mr sin h
R2

r2

 2Rr cos h3=2

^
k;

(6)

where ^, ^|, and k^ are the unit vectors in the x, y, and z directions, respectively. Likewise for dipole 2,
p
3
1

Mr
sin
h

0
2 Mr cos h
2
^
~
A
k;
(7)
R2 r2  2Rr cosh  2p=33=2
and for dipole 3,
p
3
1

Mr
sin
h

0
2 Mr cos h
2
^
~
A
k:
(8)
R2 r2  2Rr cosh  4p=33=2

Fig. 3. Schematic diagram of the AC motor. The magnetic field is calculated


at a point P on the circumference of the cage.

We expand terms of the form (R2 r2  2Rr cos a)3/2 as


1
3r
R3 R4 cos a , substitute the result into Eqs. (6)(8) and
combine them to obtain
p

1
1
1
3
0
~j
jA
M0 r sin h  M1 r sin h 
M1 r cos h  M2 r sin h
3
R
2
2
2
p

3
3r
M2 r cos h 4 M0 r sin h cos h ;
9

2
R
where M0, M1, and M2 are the strengths of dipoles 1, 2, and
3, respectively.
Equation (9) has the form
p
 
1
r
1
3
0
~
jA j 2
M0 sin h  M1 sin h 
M1 cos h
R
R
2
2
p

1
3
M2 cos h
 M2 sin h
2
2

 2
r
3M0 sin h cos h
10

R
which is a power series in r=R. We assume r  R and retain
only the first-order terms.
We use the fact that the dipole moment is proportional to
the current flowing through it, and let M be the peak strength
of each dipole in the motor. Then

Fig. 2. (a) Top view of a three-phase squirrel cage AC motor. The cage of
the motor has a radius r, the radial extension of each conducting bar is s, and
R(> r) is the distance between the center of the core and the center of a
dipole. (b) Front view of the motor. The height of the cage is h.
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Am. J. Phys., Vol. 80, No. 1, January 2012

M0 M sin Xt

(11a)

M1 M sinXt 2p=3

(11b)

M2 M sinXt 4p=3:

(11c)

We substitute Eq. (11) into the first term of Eq. (10) and
obtain
p



rM
1
1
3
0
~
 sin Xt
A 3 sin Xt sin h 
cos Xt
R
2
2
2
p



p
1
1
3
 sin Xt 
cos Xt
sin h 3 cos h
2
2
2

p
^
sin h  3 cos h k;
(12)

Shayak Bhattacharjee

44

which can be simplified to


^
~  3l0 rM cosh Xtk:
A
8p R3

(13)

~ A
~ and changing to cylindrical coordinates
~ r
By using B
q, h, and z we obtain
^
~ 3l0 M sinh Xt^
q  cosh Xth:
B
8p R3

(14)

~ rotates with angular velocity X. Because the induced


Thus B
current is in the ^
z direction (due to the conducting bars), the
~ when crossed with the current, creates a
h^ component of B,
radial force which produces zero torque. Hence in the subsequent analysis, we will consider only the q^ component of the
magnetic field.
Let x be the rotation rate of the cage and define
B0

3l0 M
:
8p R3

(15)

~ drags the cage along with it so


Qualitatively the rotating B
that the rotation of the cage is clockwise. We now quantify
this drag using techniques similar to those found in Refs.
36. Consider a time t0 and a point at the angle h. We use a
frame moving at speed Xr in the h^ direction. In this frame
~ B0 sinh Xt0 ^
B
r and is constant in time and the cage
moves with speed (X  x)r in the h^ direction. Then we
obtain the induced electric field
~ ~
~ B0 X  xr sinh Xt0 ^z:
E
vB

(16)

We use J rE and note that this constitutive relation holds


only for small E, or equivalently, for small values of X  x
from Eq. (16). We also note that J~ can be assumed constant
through an element of cross sectional area srdh (s is the conductor thickness and s  r). We obtain the infinitesimal
current
dI rB0 X  xr sinh Xt0 srdh:

(17)

~ I~
~ is
The infinitesimal force, from F
l  B,
^
~ rhB2 X  xrsin2 h Xt0 srdh h;
dF
0

(18)

If the cage has an iron core, then l0 in Eq. (21) is replaced


by leff whose value is between l0 and lcore. The entire lcore
will not act because the dipoles are mounted in air.
We see that the torque is proportional to the difference
between the rotational frequency and the excitation frequency. Note that for low frequencies, the Thevenin circuit
answer in Eq. (3) also yields a torque proportional to X  x.
If we use the condition s  1 in Eq. (3) (where the slip factor s 1  x=X, we obtain a simplified expression for the
torque,
C

3sjV~eq j2
;
f1 R2

(22)

which shows that the torque depends linearly on the frequency difference, which is referred to as the slip frequency.
The torque as a function of the slip has been experimentally measured and also calculated numerically (see Fig. 4).7
As expected, the torque increases linearly in the low slip
region. The saturation at a slip frequency around 10 Hz is a
~
consequence of the breakdown of linear response. As E
~
increases, the first correction to J appears in the form
~  r0 jEj
~ 2 E.
~ For practical applications, the motor genJ~ rE
erally operates in the linear regime.
III. APPLICATION
We apply Eq. (21) to a motor of type 6FXA7059 manufactured by Crompton Greaves9 and obtain an estimate for the
torque from the data and the picture in Fig. 5. The motor
weighs 2050 kg and has six dipoles that are powered with
2180 Volts. The continuous (maximum) ratings are a current
of 370 A (450 A), a speed of 1583 rpm (3174 rpm), and a
torque of 6930 Nm (10000 Nm).
We note from Fig. 5 that h=R 2 and R=r 3. The current
value indicates a copper wire of double zero gauge, which is
thicker than gauge zero. For equal weights of the stator and
rotor there is approximately 240 m of wire in each dipole. If
we assume a density of 6000 kg m3 for the laminated iron
cage, we obtain r 0.16 m, R 0.5 m, and h 1 m. Another
assumption is that the dipoles are squares of side 20 cm so
that the six dipoles cover a third of the circumference of the
cage. Each dipole has about 360 turns of wire, and the

from which the infinitesimal torque can be expressed as


d~
C rhr3 sB20 X  xsin2 h Xt0 dh ^z:

(19)

~ is rotating, the profiles of the field at two different


Because B
times are identical except for a shift by an angle which
becomes irrelevant when we integrate over the whole cage.
Hence the torque does not vary with time as long as X and x
are constant, and we may evaluate it by setting t0 0 in Eq.
(19) and integrating over the whole range of h: 0  h  2p.
Hence
~
C prhr3 sB20 X  x^z:

(20)

As expected the torque is in the direction of rotation of the


cage. Its magnitude is given by
9l2 M2 r3 hrs
C 0
X  x:
64pR6
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Am. J. Phys., Vol. 80, No. 1, January 2012

(21)

Fig. 4. The torque as a function of the slip frequency. The data are taken
from Ref. 7. The circles and squares correspond to experimental data and
numerical calculations respectively. Points where the two coincide are
shown as diamonds.
Shayak Bhattacharjee

45

which we could test this result. In Ref. 8, we find the data


sets I 370 A, C 6930 Nm, and I 450 A, C 10000 Nm.
We see that I changes by a factor of 1.22, and the torque
changes by a factor of 1.44 which is consistent with Eq. (21).

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
I am grateful to KVPY, Government of India, for a
fellowship.
1

Fig. 5. Crompton Greaves traction motor of type 6FXA7059.

dipolar strength is about 1450 A m2. If we take leff to be 100


and consider 4% slip operation at 25 Hz, the torque is about
8000 Nm. Thus, we see this derivation has produced a good
estimate for the torque, starting from information which
would not have yielded an answer from the Thevenin
formulation.
We conclude by noting an important feature of our result.
The dipole moment M is proportional to the input current,
and hence the torque as given by Eq. (21) depends quadratically on the input current. This result is not contained in the
Thevenin circuit analysis. We have looked for data with

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Am. J. Phys., Vol. 80, No. 1, January 2012

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hindianrail.wikia.com=wiki=WAP5i.
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Shayak Bhattacharjee

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