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SYNCHRONOUS GENERATOR
7. 1 Introduction
Alternating-current (ac) generators are commonly referred to as
synchronous generators
or
alternators
. A synchronous machine, whether it isa generator or a motor, operates as
synchronous speed
, that is, at the speed atwhich the magnetic field created by the field coils rotates.We have already elaborated this fact in past sections and obtained anexpression for the synchronous speed N
s
in revolutions per minute (rpm) as
N f   P
s
=
120
(7.1)where
f
is the frequency in hertz (Hz) and
P
is the number of poles in themachine.Thus, for a 4-pole synchronous generator to generate power at 60 Hz, itsspeed of rotation must be 1800 rpm. On the other hand, a 4-pole synchronousmotor operating from a 50-Hz source runs at only 1500 rpm. Any attempt tooverload the synchronous motor may pull it out of synchronism and force it tostop.During our discussion of a direct-current (dc) generator we realized thatthe electromotive force (emf) induced in its armature coils is of the alternatingtype. Therefore, we can convert a dc generator to an ac generator by(a) replacing its commutator with a set of slip rings and(b) rotating the armature at a constant (synchronous) speed.The idea is novel but is not put into practice for the reasons we willmention shortly.We also recall that the relative motion of a conductor with respect to themagnetic flux in a machine is responsible for the induced emf in that conductor.In other words, from the induced emf point of view it really does not matter whether the conductors (coils) rotate in a stationary magnetic field or a rotatingmagnetic field links a stationary conductor (coil). The former arrangement is preferred for dc generators and was discussed , whereas the latter is moresuitable for synchronous generators and is the topic of this chapter. Thus, thestationary member (stator) of a synchronous generator is commissioned as anarmature, and the rotating member (rotor) carries the field winding to providethe required flux.There are numerous reasons for such an “inside-outconstruction of asynchronous generator, some of which are listed below.1. Most synchronous generators are built in much larger sizes than their dccounterparts. An increase in power capacity of a generator requires thicker

conductors in its armature winding to carry high currents and to minimizecopper losses. Deeper slots are therefore needed to house thicker conductors.Because the stator can be made large enough with fewer limitations, itinadvertently becomes the preferred member to house the armatureconductors.2. Since the output of a synchronous generator is of the alternating type, thearmature conductors in the stator can be directly connected to thetransmission line. This eliminates the need for slip rings for ac power output.3. Since most of the heat is produced by the armature winding, an outestationary member can be cooled more efficiently than an inner rotatingmember.4. Since the armature winding of a synchronous machine is more involved thanthe field winding, it is easier to construct it on the stationary member.5. Since the induced emf in the armature winding is quite high, it is easier toinsulate it when it is wound inside the stationary member rather than therotating member. A rigid frame also enables us to brace the armature windingmore securely.6. The placement of a low-power field winding on the rotor presents nodeterrent to the inside-out construction of a synchronous generator. The power to the field winding can be supplied via slip rings. If the field issupplied by permanent magnets, the slip rings can also be dispensed with.
7. 2 Construction of a Synchronous Machine
The basic components of a synchronous machine are the stator, whichhouses the armature conductors, and a rotor, which provides the necessary fieldas outlined below.
Stator
The stator, also known as the armature, of a synchronous machine is madeof thin laminations of highly permeable steel in order to reduce the core losses.The stator laminations are held together by a stator frame. The frame may be of cast iron or fabricated from mild steel plates. The frame is designed not tocarry the flux but to provide mechanical support to the synchronous generator.The inside of the stator has a plurality of slots that are intended toaccommodate thick armature conductors (coils or windings). The armatureconductors are symmetrically arranged to form a balanced polyphase winding.To this end, the number of slots per pole per phase must be an integer. Theinduced emf per phase in large synchronous generators is in kilovolts (kV) witha power handling capacity in megavolt-amperes (MVA).The axial length of the stator core is comparatively short for slow-speed,large-diameter generators. These generators have many poles and are left open

on both ends for self-cooling. They are installed at locations where hydroelectric power generation is possible.The axial length of high-speed generators having 2 or 4 poles can bemany times its diameter. These generators require forced air circulation for cooling and are totally enclosed. They are used when the rotors are driven bygas or steam turbines.
Figure 7.1
A salient pole rotor.
Rotor
Two types of rotors are used in the design of synchronous generators, the
cylindrical rotor
and
a salient-pole rotor
. The rotor is rotated at thesynchronous speed by a prime mover such as a steam turbine. The rotor has asmany poles as the stator, and the rotor winding carries dc current so as to produce constant flux per pole.The filed winding usually receives its power from a 115- or 230-V dcgenerator. The dc generator may be driven either by the same prime mover driving the synchronous generator or by a separate electric motor.The salient-pole rotor is used in low- and medium-speed generators because the windage loss is small at these speeds. It consists of an even set of outward projecting laminated poles.Each pole is dovetailed so that it fits into a wedge-shaped recess or is bolted onto a magnetic wheel called the spider. The field winding is placedaround each pole, as indicated in Figure 7.1. The poles must alternate in polarity.
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