A. Tessarolo
Electrical, Electronics and Computer Engineering Dept., University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy,

Keywords: Multi-phase machines, Electric machine design.



The adoption of multi-phase stator topologies in electrical machine design brings well-known advantages in terms of power segmentation, reliability and performance. In addition to these functional benefits, which are independent of machine size, this paper highlights how the use of more than three phases can lead to construction advantages when applied to electric machines of large size. The advantages relate to the winding manufacturing technology, which can be retained similar to that of small machines in presence of a multi-phase solution, while a traditional three-phase one would imply a more costly Roebel bar construction. The point is justified in terms of machine sizing equations and is assessed referring to some built high-power multi-phase machines for industrial and ship propulsion use.

p D L n Ns Nt b q P N f V I At As number of pole pairs; inner stator core diameter; stator core length; number of stator phases; number of series-connected turns per phase; number of turns per coil; number of parallel paths per phase; number of slots per pole per phase; rated power; rated rotational speed (revolutions per minute); rated frequency; rated phase voltage; rated phase current; copper cross-section area of a turn; slot cross-section area; slot pitch; average flux density per pole; stator current density; stator electric loading; stator slot fill factor; stator winding factor; output coefficient; coil pitch to pole pitch ratio.

The benefits that can be obtained from splitting the stator winding of an electric machine into more than three phases have been largely investigated in the field of small and medium power applications [1], [2]: they mainly have a “functional” nature (concerning inverter power segmentation, redundancy and reliability improvement, torque ripple and efficiency enhancement, power density increase, etc.), whereas machine structure and construction technology substantially remain unchanged compared to conventional three-phase design. When it comes to very high-power electric machines (in the multi-MW range), however, adopting an n-phase stator configuration (with n>3) may have considerable “structural” or “constructive” impacts as well. In fact, this enables to retain a coil winding technology, which is the same as for small-sized machines, instead of resorting to the much more complicated and costly Roebel-bar constructions, which is typical or large turboalternators [3], [4]. Firstly, the point is discussed in this paper in general terms, by means of appropriate sizing equations which relate the number of phases to the design variables involved in the selection of the machine winding technology. Secondly, some industrial application examples will be reported referring to built high-power multi-phase machines.


Coil and Roebel bar windings


σs λs
kf kw C r

In small and medium size three-phase machines, the stator winding is composed of closed coils, each consisting of multiple series-connected turns (Figure 1), built with either round-section wire or flat conductors [5]. As the power rating increases (the voltage being constrained not to exceed a certain maximum value), the phase current necessarily grows too, which results in an increasingly high individual coil cross-section and low number of turns per coil. Above a certain power level, a design with a single turn per coil becomes eventually mandatory, which leads to move from coil winding to Roebel bar technology. A typical example of the latter can be found in large turboalternators [3]. Compared to coil windings, Roebel bar technology is much more costly and complicated, in general, especially due to strand transpositions and special manufacturing techniques required for end-bar connections.

Calling n the number of stator phases (however arranged in space). the number of slots per pole per phase q (possibly fractional). as happens in symmetrical windings with an even number of phases [9]. multi-phase windings can be treated in the same way from machine sizing viewpoint. Phase arrangement schematic for a split-phase machine with N stator windings displaced by τ=60/N electrical degrees apart. 1. This results in a “symmetrical” n-phase configuration. the Fig. the machine average diameter D at the shortened-pitch split-phase winding composed of N three-phase sets air-gap. the power is split into n phases instead of three. Although characterized by a variety of possible phase arrangements. the phase current diminishes by approximately a factor n/3. [7]. each supplied by a 5-phase inverter. Fig. [10]. This may enable the designer to retain a coil design for the stator winding avoiding the use of Roebel bars. three-phase sets. the n stator phases can be distributed uniformly over each pole span instead of being grouped into (1). b. if the voltage is maintained the same. Example of slot cross-section in a double-layer coil winding with three turns per coil (Nt=3). kw the winding factor [5] and f the rated frequency. where three 5-phase symmetrical phase sets are employed. Phase belt distribution over a pole-span in a double-layer useful core length L. the number of series(a. As an alternative.Fig. a split-phase winding arrangement can be desirable as it allows for N three-phase conventional inverter modules to be used for its supply. This winding topology requires a nonconventional n-phase inverter (and control strategy) to be used for motor supply [2]. where n is not necessarily required to be a multiple of three. This hypothesis is verified in the vast majority of multi-phase designs [2]. Quantities Φp. . which results from combining splitphase and symmetrical schemes. When an n-phase stator configuration with n>3 is adopted instead of a traditional three-phase one. Application examples are also reported in the literature of high-power multi-phase machine windings with a “hybrid” winding composition. Ns the number of seriesconnected turns per phase Ns. This is the case of the 15phase 21 MW induction machine reported in [8]. the number of pole pairs p. the rated phase voltage is given by: V = 1 / 2 Φ p N s k w (2π f ) . Ns and f can in turn be expressed as follows: Φ p = Bg L π D /(2 p ) (2) (3) (4) N s = q (2 p ) N t / b f = N p / 60 in terms of: the average flux density Bg in the air-gap. Consequently. displaced by 60/N electrical degrees apart. When the machine is used as a motor. The concept expressed above in quite qualitative terms will be reformulated quantitatively in the next Section investigating the relationship between the number of phases and the main design quantities involved in the choice of the winding construction technology. only those designs are not covered where successive phases are shifted by 360/n electrical degrees in space. 3. 3 Sizing equations for multi-phase machines A multi-phase winding topology which is very commonly used in high-power electric machinery is the so-called “splitphase” configuration [6]. c). where Φp is the flux per pole. under the only hypothesis that each pole span encompasses exactly as many phase belts as the phases are (n). with significant savings in cost and production times. this results from splitting the winding into N threephase sets. As illustrated in Figure 2 and Figure 3. 2.

πD τs = . 4. • the increase of the number of phases n. number of turns per coil (Nt). thermal and electrical loading of the machine. = 120 π D N pp C n 120 N pp C n τ s (7) (8) The slot pitch can be alternatively expressed as The first strategy is of limited help. which may result in the need for Roebel bars (Nt=1) above a given power level. the only way left to avoid the use of Roebel bar construction without incrementing the machine size consists of increasing the number of its stator phases n. etc. number of phases (n) and number of parallel ways per phase (b). • increasing of the number b of parallel ways per phase. this naturally leads to decrease the number of turns per coil Nt. Ratings of three machines taken as examples. A further design figure. R can be Table 1. q n (2 p ) and introduce it into (6) obtaining: V= π 3 2 (2 p ) q n P Bm k w N t π 3 2 P Bm k w N t . insulation technology. can be also introduced to describe the degree of utilization of the machine volume (roughly proportional to D2L) in terms of useful machine torque (proportional to P/N. finally yields: ⎛ C σ s k f ⎞⎛ As ⎞ P = k⎜ ⎜B λ k ⎟ ⎟⎜ ⎜ N × b × n⎟ ⎟ V m s w ⎠⎝ t ⎝ ⎠ 142 43 R In this Section some built and tested high-power multiphase electrical machines will be considered to illustrate how the choice of a number of phases higher than three practically helped retain a coil winding technology while a three-phase design would have implied the use of Roebel bars. • winding structure in terms of slot cross-section area (As). for machines of homogeneous design in terms of thermal class. Hence Equation (12) expresses the explicit relationship between the following design quantities: • machine power (P) and voltage (V) ratings. A Rated voltage per phase ( 3V ) Rated overall power(P) Rated speed (N) Number of phases (n) Number of poles (2p) Number of turns per coil (Nt) Number of parallel ways per phase (b) 4400 V (12) B 7200 V C 1200 V 11200 kW 45000 kW 2150 kVA 4500 rpm 3000 rpm 6300 rpm 6 2 3 2 12 4 3 2 6 4 5 4 where k is a non-dimensional constant whose value only depends on the units used to express the other quantities. the number of parallel paths per phase b and the speed N in revolutions per minute. therefore. (5) Substitution of Equations (2)-(5) into (1) yields: V= π 2 2 ( 2 p ) P Bm k w q N t . after elementary algebraic manipulation. As and kf are the cross-section area and the fill factor of a stator slot. the following definitions apply for σs and λs: σs = I / b 2 N t (I / b ) = At As k f 2 Nt I / b (10) 4 Industrial application examples λs = (11) τs where I is the phase current. Substitution of (9) into Equation (8). . called the output coefficient C and defined as per [11]. cooling system effectiveness. 120 N pp D C (6) We can now consider the slot pitch expression: Equation (12) shows that if the power rating P increases while the voltage V below a certain level. Coefficient in brackets (R) does not depend on the winding structure. the copper cross section area of a turn At and the stator electric loading λs [12]. it is easily understood that. Equation (12) also demonstrates that there are three design “levers” available to counteract the decrease of Nt. where P is the rated active power): C = P /( N D 2 L ) regarded as a constant to a good approximation.connected turns per coil Nt. τs = 2 N t At σ s λs (9) in terms of the current density σs flowing though stator conductors.. as confirmed by the application examples reported in the following Section. after the limit b=2p has been reached. Hence.1 Ratings and general considerations The ratings of the machines taken into account are provided in Table 1. In fact. The second strategy can be actually pursued until the number of parallel ways b equals 2p since the number of parallel ways cannot exceed the number of machine poles in any case [5]. since it generally implies a growth of the overall machine size: in fact the slot opening Ws (Figure 1) needs to be lower than the tooth width at the air-gap to contain slot harmonics [5] and the increase of Hs brings to a growth of the stator outer diameter so as to keep the yoke flux density within acceptable limits. namely: • increasing the slot cross-section area As. but only on the magnetic.

with significant savings in terms of manufacturing cost. lead times and tooling.53 B 0. coefficients R are computed using the design quantities of the three machines and their values are reported in Table 2.Figure 5. a relatively high power rating (or. . a low number of turns per coil Nt may result according to Equation (12). Coefficients R Table 2. It can be seen that.1). In particular. Conversely. which governs machine overall size [12]) is required under a maximum voltage design constraint. machine A is a dual three-phase (split-phase) synchronous motor fed by two Load-Commutated inverters (Figure 5. A.2 Figure 4. A. Actual system configurations for machines A. number of phases and ratings (Table 1). represented in the lefthand side column. possibly leading to a Roebel bar design (Nt=1) if the number of phases n is kept at its minimum value (3). As a consequence of the high P/V ratios. Values of coefficient R (WV−1mm−2) computed from design quantities for machines A. • n=3 (while n=6 in the actual design). raising the number of phases enables to keep the number of turns per coil higher than one (Table 1) and allows for a coil winding construction to be used in all the three cases.1). more significantly. at least for preliminary sizing purposes. despite of the difference in machine size. With regard to the sizing Equation (12) derived in the previous Section. C (left column). Equation (12) would apply with: • P / V= 11200 kW / 4400 V as in the actual design. B. electrical and magnetic loading values. can be actually regarded as a design constant depending on thermal.52 In all the three machines considered. • b=2. Machine C is a high-speed naval generator which feeds two diode rectifier bridges (one per stator section) connected to a DC on-board power grid. The relationship between the winding construction technology and the number of phases can be better highlighted by considering some possible design alternatives for the systems under consideration. The three machines are all required to operate within thermal class B and are designed with homogeneous thermal. shifted by 15 electrical degrees apart and supplied by four Voltage-Source PWM inverters (Figure 5. C (Table 1). B. Voltage constraints are in fact dictated by the maximum inverter output voltage in cases A and B and by the DC grid rated voltage in case C. Machine “B” during installation for full-load testing. B. Case of machine A — If machine A were designed according to a three-phase scheme (Figure 5. Relationships between winding technology and number of phases Machines A and B (Figure 4) are high-speed inverter-fed motors used in turbo-compressor applications. since the b cannot exceed the number of poles (2). while machine B is a 12-phase synchronous motor equipped with four three phase windings. a high power to speed ratio. This confirms that R. the values of R are relatively close. A 0.2) without changing power and voltage ratings. and for a given slot size As.45 C 0. magnetic and electrical loading only. possible alternative arrangements with a three-phase design for the electric machine (right column) 4. Such alternatives are illustrated in the left-hand column of Figure 5 for comparison with the actual design configurations.

Generators and Drives Business Unit — Monfalcone. R. S. Klingshirn. on Magnetics. Special − Large Electric Motor A. the number of turns per coil (Nt. Otherwise. without further increasing the slot crosssection area As. Electric Power Applications. 5 Conclusion The use of stator windings composed of more than three phases for AC electrical machines brings well known advantages in terms of performance. on Power Apparatus and Systems. Pratap. Italy. Sizing equations are derived in the paper which establish a quantitative relationship between the number of phases and the main design variables involved in the choice between coil and Roebel winding types. 54-59. Jan. 2005. Part I”. pp. Case of machine C — If machine C were conceived as a single three one with the same power and voltage requirements (Figure 5. [11] M. Siskind. [10] E. the author wishes to thank Gianfranco Zocco (R&D Department Head) and Antonio Odorico (senior design engineer) for their valuable advice and support. Klingshirn. Oishi.V. . increasing the number of phases in machines of large size helps retain a coil winding design in many cases where a traditional three-phase solution would require a Roebel bar technology. H. In this case. Machines and Drives Conference. vol. The benefits of using coil windings instead of Roebel bars are significant in terms of costs and manufacturing process simplification. 2302-2308. Profumo. 986993. IEEE Trans. on Energy Conversion. test and harmonic analysis”. R. Siala. S. Levi. Case of machine B — If machine B were conceived as a single three-phase one under the same power and voltage requirements (Figure 5. IEE Power Electronics.C. pp. Noy. while b=2 in the actual design (b can be raised up to the number of poles). pp. Y. Elements of Electrical Machine Design. pp.2). without a significant increase in the slot cross. S. S. July ’85. but also in terms of machine construction technology. IEEE Trans. IAS 2005. A coil winding design with Nt=2 would not be recommended due to the large height-towidth turn ratio (which may cause circulation current issues in the parallel conductors forming a turn. Haldemann. [5] A. July/Aug. A.As a consequence. instead.S. Figure 1). • b=4 as in the actual design (b cannot exceed the number of poles). “Multiphase induction motor drives – a technology status review”. issue 1. In fact. 19. Terrein. This paper discusses how the adoption of multi-phase topologies in the design of high-power electric machines can be remarkably advantageous not only for the mentioned functional enhancements. P. Acknowledgements The paper has been written thanks to the kind cooperation of Ansaldo Sistemi Industriali — Motors. pp. Application examples are finally reported referring to three built high-power multi-phase machines to practically illustrate how the use of a multi-phase solution enables to adopt a coil winding construction instead of resorting to Roebel bar technology.Schmatloch. Bojoi. “Nine-phase armature windings design. 489-516. 1954. 32-41. the machine design could be probably adjusted so as to select Nt=3. Jan. A. A.2). on Power Apparatus and Systems. • b=4. “High phase order induction motors. Sept. Part II”. P. Musil. M. again leading to the need for a Roebel bar construction. 2007. Takeda. C. “Multiphase induction motor sensorless control for electric ship propulsion”. vol. 39. pp. IEEE Trans. pp. Smith. C. PAS-102. References [1] E. vol. the alternative would be to set b=2 and Nt=1. 1849-1855. • n=3. reliability and power segmentation. Williamson. Still. 1883. 556-561. Simond. “12-pulse LCI synchronous drive for a 20 MW compressor modeling simulation and measurements”. part 2. PAS-104. R. F. 1. Variable Speed Drives. 2004. for instance according to the design reported in [14]. B. “Dimensioning and design of high-power variable speed synchronous motors”. According to (12) the number of turns per coil Nt (equal to 5 in the actual design) should be nearly halved. Tolyat. PEMD 2004. while n=12 in the actual design. 1883. T. “High phase order induction motors. 1. Equation (12) would apply with: • P / V= 2150 kW / 1200 V as in the actual design. vol. pp. T. no. IEEE Trans. 41. Jan. Williamson. on Power Apparatus and Systems.section area As. on Industry Applications. As a consequence. A. again yielding a Roebel bar construction. Vol. no. IEEE Trans. Jul. In particular. [8] F. Xuan. “Output coefficient of synchronous motors”. pp. pp. Yamamoto. 2003. C. Burmeister. [7] H. Jordan. equal to 3 in the actual design) should be reduced by a factor 2. Industry Application Society Annual Meeting. Energy and Automation X (1988). “Transpositions in stator bars of large turboalernators”. leading to a design with 2 or 1 turns per coil. hence a stator design with Roebel bars would be likely required. PAS-102. Equation (12) would apply with: • P / V= 45000 kW / 7200 V as in the actual design. vol. 47-53. McGraw-Hill. while n=6 in the actual design. 553-560. the number of turns per coil Nt=3 should be theoretically halved according to Equation (12). [2] S. IET. 299-302. 1. Zowarka. IEEE Trans. [4] R. Vol. B. [3] J. Sapin. Wetter. [9] E. J. • n=3. “Pulsating torque and losses in multiphase induction machines”. W. E. [6] J.

vol. Baret. Geyer. ’98. Bordignon. Rebora. Benucci. 34.[12] S. M. T. A. Garces. Leonardi. Jan. on Industry Applications. L. [14] S. Lipo. A. Taffone. “Modeling. Tenca. Toma. pp. 92-97. R. Tessarolo. 2008. on Industry Applications. “A general approach to sizing and power density equations for comparison of electrical machines”. P. Sulligoi. [13] G. IEEE IAS Annual Meeting./Feb. P. A. F. Soldi. J. A. P. “Modular high-power shunt-interleaved drive system: a realization up to 35 MW for oil and gas applications”. V. IEEE Trans. T. Zhang. . T. simulation and experimental validation of a generation system for medium-voltage DC integrated power systems”. Huang. in press. IEEE Trans. Schroeder. Luo.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful