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Effect of Rotor Profiles on the Torque
of a Switched-Reluctance Motor
Mehdi Moallem, Chee-Mun Ong, Senior Member, ZEEE, and Lewis E. Unnewehr, Fellow, ZEEE

Abstract-The torque produced in a switched-reluctance mo- tation of the high field gradient around the corners of the
tor (SRM) may be viewed from the manner in which the radial overlapping poles [2]. With the ability to make accurate
and tangential flux density components interact. With a com- prediction of the static characteristics of the SR motor,
mon stator and rotor pole geometry, the radial flux component
in the overlapping region of the excited stator and rotor poles is especially the torque developed because of the numerical
loaf shaped; it is, in most situations, the dominant component. differentiation involved, we proceeded to investigate the
The tangential component, on the other hand, is mostly in- steady-state behavior of a SR drive by simulation [3]. The
significant except around the pole tips of the excited stator and first thing that became evident from the steady-state simula-
rotor poles. This paper examines effects on the torque that tion is the large number of parameters that could have
simple variations of the standard rotor pole face profile could
have, basically from an elementary viewpoint of how the modi- significant effect on the SR motor performance; some of these
fied profiles affect the distribution and magnitude of the radial are related to the power source, which in this case is the
and tangential components of the flux density. It is observed power converter. Such interdependence between the motor
that the average torque is mostly affected by changes that alter and the power converter indicates that the design of the
the dominant radial component, such as changes in the effective motor and the converter, if they are to match properly,
air gap length. The other observation that an increase in the
average torque can also be obtained by a favorable shift in the should be properly coordinated.
torque versus angle characteristics by relatively simple changes Some of the circuits suitable for the power converter of a
of the rotor pole profile is, perhaps, not so well known. Such a SR drive are given in [4]. Basic volt-ampere requirements of
shift that reduces the slope of the torque angle characteristic, the converter, based on a simplified magnetic model of the
skewing the curve towards the unaligned position, has two motor, are discussed in [5]. Brief accounts of the design
advantages: one is that the phase inductance is at its maximum
positive slope and, hence, the maximum torque, when the phase methods and philosophy, as well as considerations regarding
is energized; second, the flatter inductance profile near the .the number of phases and the width of the stator and rotor
aligned position when the phase current is to be commutated poles in the design of the SR motor itself, can be found in
would allow a faster drop off of the commutated current and, [6]-[lo]. Although it is not possible to generalize many of
thus, a smaller negative torque. the useful results reported, it is worthwhile to note that the
airgap length is perhaps the single most critical parameter in
I. INTRODUCTION the consideration of optimizing the torque per ampere and
that the common range of the pole arc/pole pitch ratio for the

C URRENT INTEREST on switched-reluctance (SR)
drives has been stimulated mainly by the contributions
made by Lawrenson et al. [l], in which they discussed
rotor is from 0.3 to 0.45.
fundamental design considerations of its static torque charac- The Maxwell-Stress tensor method provides useful infor-
teristic using a 2-D finite element method. The prediction of mation as to how the torque produced on the rotor is dis-
the static torque for the doubly salient motor with small air tributed. For example, in 2-D model of a SR motor where
gap from the finite-element field solution has been attempted there is no z component, the total torque developed can be
by others earlier, but the accuracy obtained, in most cases, expressed as [l 11
indicated that there was room for improvement. Besides the
difficulty with convergence caused by large fluctuations of the
T = voZR/ B,Bo d r (1)
reluctivity of the saturated iron from iteration to iteration, where uo is the reluctivity of air, 2 is the stack length, R is
inaccuracies in the computed torque are more common, and the radius of the cylindrical surface in the mid airgap around
we have shown that they could be minimized by properly which the integration is performed, B, is the radial compo-
selecting the shape of the mesh to ensure a smooth represen- nent of the flux density of an element on the cylindrical
surface, and Bo is the corresponding tangential component of
Paper IPCSD 91-93, approved by the Electric Machines Committee of the the flux density. In the finite element method, the integration
IEEE Industry Applications Society for presentation at the 1990 Industry is replaced by the following summation:
Applications Society Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, October 7- 12.
Manuscript released for publication June 3, 1991.
M. Moallem is with the Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran. T = u o Z R 2 CB,,Boi dei. (2)
C.-M. Ong is with the School of Electrical Engineering, Purdue Univer- i= 1
sity, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1285.
L. E. Unnewehr is with Sullair Corporation, Michigan City, IN 46460. The above expression of the torque clearly shows the depen-
IEEE Log Number 9104082. dence of the torque on the product of the two flux density

0093-9994/92$03.00 0 1992 IEEE

components. Fig. 1 shows the typical distribution of the flux Stack length 140 mm
density and torque under an excited pole of a 4-kW, 6/8, outer diameter of stator core 270 mm
four-phase SR motor for two different rotor positions [ 111. inner diameter of stator core 204 mm
As expected, the net torque on the rotor in the aligned mean diameter of airgap 140 mm
position is zero, even though the product of the flux density nominal airgap 1 mm
components at the pole tips is not zero. These plots indirectly outer diameter of rotor core 80 mm
show how exacting the accuracy requirement on the flux inner diameter of rotor core (shaft) 36 mm
density components, which are usually obtained by a numeri- rotor pole arc 28'
cal differentiation of the vector field solution, for the rotor pole arc 28O

Maxwell-Stress tensor method of torque calculation produces number of turns per pole 24
good results. When the requirement is met, the method does, number of stator poles 6
however, provide an excellent tool for a close examination of number of rotor poles 4
the torque distribution on the poles of a SR motor. stator and rotor core (isotropic M19 steel).
It is clear that a higher average shaft torque can be
obtained when the overall magnitude of the static torque can A part of this sensitivity study attempts to determine the
be increased, notwithstanding saturation and assuming that extent that slanting of the rotor pole face might have on
adequate mechanical tolerances can be met. When the motor enhancing the tangential component of the flux density at the
is operated from a voltage source with the usual angle control critical areas to increase the average torque or to improve the
strategy [12], skewing the torque profile away from the torque profile. Other common variations, such as changing
aligned position will also result in a higher average shaft the air gap and width of the rotor pole, are also included for
torque. For motoring operations, such skewing corresponds completeness. Besides the above-mentioned variations, we
to having most of the torque developed at the early stage of also investigated the effects on the torque from chamfering
rotor poles overlapping with the stator poles. With the angle and skewing of the rotor pole. It is recognized that some of
control strategy, the excited phase current continues to flow the changes made are not practical; nevertheless, their con-
for a short period after turnoff, usually even after the rotor sideration here is primarily exploratory for purposes of gain-
has past the fully aligned position; the negative motoring ing more insight.
torque thus produced reduces the average torque. Hence, a The results presented in the following subsections were
lower static torque or a flatter inductance versus angle profile obtained with a constant stator excitation of 100 A. Through:
near the aligned position, contributed by bulk saturation as out, the stator geometry remains unaltered. Fig. 2 is a typical
the rotor pole comes into alignment with the stator pole, is example of the flux line plot from the 2-D field solution. The
beneficial. first group of variations corresponds to those that affect the
The above torque expression shows that the magnitude of magnitude of the static torque, whereas the second group of
the static torque is proportional to the magnitude of both the variations has the primary effect of shifting the torque profile
radial and tangential components of the flux density. Decreas- and little or negligible impact on its magnitude.
ing the airgap length will result in an increase in the magni- A . Variation in the Air Gap Length
tude of the radial component of the flux density; however, the
increase is not proportional because of saturation effects. In Fig. 3 shows the static torque profile of the experimental
addition, from the plots in Fig. 1, it can be seen that the design for the nominal air gap length of 1 mm and for two
tangential component of the flux density of normally shaped smaller air gap lengths. It clearly shows that the machine
poles with a uniform air gap is significant only at the pole with smaller air gap length, if practical, will produce higher
tips. The width of the tangential component can be increased average torque. These results are consistent with what others
by slanting or serrating the rotor pole face, either of which have observed in that reducing the air gap is the most
will also affect the radial flux density component. The atten- effective means of raising the average torque, subject to
dant reduction in the radial component with the removal of acceptable manufacturing tolerances.
iron to form a wedge-shaped or serrated profile counterbal-
ances whatever benefit the increase in tangential component B. Slanting of the Rotor Pole Face
brings. Thus, if a certain mechanical clearance in the airgap Fig. 4 shows the results obtained for slanting the pole face
has to be maintained, the net effect on the average torque over the rotor pole width by 0.5 mm; the longer dash line
may not be as attractive as it would seem from the enhance- curve for the case of the slant with a decreasing airgap as the
ment of the tangential component alone. rotor moves into the aligned position and the shorter dash
In other words, attempts to reorientate the fluxes around line curve for the other case where the slant produces an
the pole tips could have an unknown impact on the value of increasing airgap as the rotor moves into alignment. Al-
the torque produced. This has led us to conduct an investiga- though the mean air gap length over the rotor pole is 0.75
tion on the extent that certain rotor pole profiles have in mm for all three cases shown, the mechanical clearance of
shaping the tangential flux distribution on the pole face and the slanted pole face is only 0.5 mm, which may not be
their impact on the torque produced. A sensitivity study using practical. Because of the wedge-shaped airgap, finite tangen-
the finite element method of torque prediction described in tial component of flux density is introduced in the interior
[2] has been conducted on the following experimental 60-kW, surface, where previously, such a component has been
6000-r/min, SR motor design: nonexistent (Fig. 1). As a result, the torque is higher for the




1qs I63 IQ im tis 1VS 163
Rnqlc (deq) Anqle <deq)
(C) (4

Fig. 1 . Distribution of flux density components and torque: (a) Radial and tangential components of flux density at 8 = 0"; (b)
product of flux density components at 8 = 0 " ; (c) radial and tangential Components of flux density at 8 = 20"; (d) product of flux
density components at 8 = 20".

n I I3


0 9 18 27 36
Rotor m g l c (dw)
Fig. 3 . Effect of changing the air gap length.
Fig. 2 . Flux lines at 28" rotor position.

IS0 1 - 0.75mmctnifom

Fig. 4. Effect of sloping the rotor pole face.

two cases with a slanted pole face. The case of a slant with a
increasing air gap is more interesting because the increase in
the torque occurs in the mid angle region where the current
with a constant voltage supply would also be approaching its
maximum. The result for the case of a slant with a decreasing
airgap is not as desirable because the increase in torque is
near the aligned position (the aligned position is at 0"). A
higher torque near the aligned position would, by symmetry,

produce correspondingly higher negative torque after the
aligned position following the turnoff with the usual angle
control strategy [12]; thus, the resultant increase in average
torque might not be much as the static curve alone suggests.
Fig. 5 shows the results for the case of serrating the rotor
pole face with slanted teeth to enhance the tangential flux 0 9 19 27 36 YS
9 19 27 36 YS
density component. The slant is higher than the previous Rocor q l e (d.9)
case. The serration also modulates the distribution of the Fig. 5. Effect of having serrated rotor pole face.
radial flux density component under the poles. The torque
profile for the case of the serrated rotor pole face lies in
between those with uniform air gap, but it is closer to the
smaller air gap curve near the region where an increase in the
torque is to be preferred for reasons already discussed.
C . Variation in the Rotor Pole Width
Fig. 6 shows the effect on the torque profile as the rotor
pole width is increased from the nominal value of 28". At
28", the pole arc to pole pitch ratio of the rotor is 0.31. An
increase in the rotor pole width from 28 to 32" does not seem
to have a great influence on the average value of the static
torque, but if the operational behavior with the usual angle
control strategy is considered, the shift characterized by
higher torque towards the unaligned region and lower torque 0 9 18 27 36 YS
near the aligned position will result in a higher average Rotor soplc Cdcg)
torque. Fig. 6. Effect of changing rotor pole width.

D. Chamfering of the Rotor Pole
Fig. 7 shows the effect of chamfering the rotor pole top. length of the rotor. Fig. 8 shows that skewing of the rotor has
When compared with the case of the straight 32" pole width, a similar beneficial effect as widening the rotor pole. As
chamfering does not offer any of the advantages discussed shown, the torque profile with 28" and with 5" skew has a
earlier. lower torque near the aligned position. Since the above
approximation does not take into account the adverse effect
E. Skewing of the Rotor Pole on the net torque due to mutual inductances between phases,
Here, the effect of skewing is approximated by averaging the actual magnitude of the torque may be lower than what is
five 1" shifts of the static torque profiles staggered over the shown here.

1 .___.. 28’
- - - 32‘ W i t h ~ h d a

Rotw m g l * (de@
Fig. 7. Effect of a 2 ” chamfer on both sides of the rotor pole face.

poles are aligned. At a low level of excitation current, the

lSO 1 -28”
- - - 28” with 5” skew
torque remains relatively flat until complete overlap when
bulk saturation of the stator poles occurs. However, at higher
excitation currents, bulk saturation of the poles happens
earlier, and the torque then peaks. A small skew of the rotor
in the direction of rotation has the same effect, but with
skewing, the neutral (or zero) torque position is shifted away
from the geometrically aligned position; moreover, the maxi-
mum static torque could be smaller because of the smaller
inductance ( Lmin/Lmax)ratio.
Theoretically, wedge-shaped or serrated pole faces can
bring about an increase in the torque by increasing the
tangential component of the flux density, but on the basis of
0 9 18 27 36 ’1s the same mechanical clearance, the increase in average torque
Roror angle (de$
does not seem to be significant because of the accompanying
Fig. 8. Effect of two rotor pole widths with a 5 ” skew
reduction in the radial component.
P. J. Lawrenson, J. M. Stephenson, P. T. Blenkinshop, J . Corda, and
A sensitivity study has been performed on a 60-kW, N. N. Fulton, “Variable-speed switched reluctance motors,” Proc.
6000-r/min, experimental SR design to determine the effects Inst. Elec. Eng., vol. 127B, pp. 253-265, July 1980.
M. Moallem and C. M. Ong, “Predicting the torque of a switched
on the torque due to variations in the air gap, in the width of reluctance machine from its finite element field solution,” in Proc.
the rotor poles, in the surface profile of rotor pole face, and IEEEIPES 1989 Summer Power Mtg. (Long Beach), July 1989.
in the skewing of the rotor poles. The results obtained show -, “Predicting the steady-state performance of a switched reluc-
tance machine,” in IEEE/IAS 1989 Ann. Mtg. Conf. Rec. (San
that the most effective way of increasing the torque per Diego), Oct. 1989, pp. 529-537.
ampere capability of the motor is to reduce the air gap W. F. Ray et al., “High-performance switched reluctance brushless
length, subject to, of course, manufacturing costs and toler- drives,” IEEE Trans. Industry Applications, vol. IA-22, pp.
722-730, July/Aug. 1986.
ances. T. J. E. Miller, “Converter volt-ampere requirements of the switched
The results obtained also show that both wider rotor width reluctance motor drive” IEEE Trans. Industry Applications, vol.
and a srqall rotor skew produce a beneficial shift of the IA-21, pp. 1136-1144, Sept./Oct. 1985.
J. Corda and J. M. Stephenson, “Analytical estimation of the mini-
positive slope of the inductance curve away from the aligned mum apd maximum inductances of a doubly-salient motor,” in Proc.
position. A shjft of the positive slope towards the unaligned Int. Conf. Stepping Motors Syst. (University of Leeds), 1979, pp.
position has two advantages: One is that the phase inductance 50-59.
N. N. Fulton et al., “Recent developments in high performance
is at its maximum positive slope (hence, maximum tgrque) switched reluctance drives,” in Proc. Second Int. Conf. Elect.
when the phase is energized. Second, the flatter inductance Machines-Des. Applications, Sept. 1985, pp. 130- 133.
profile near the aligned position when the phase current is to 1. W. Finch, M. R. Harris, A. Nusoke, and H. M. B. Metwally,
“Variable speed drives using multi-tooth per pole switched reluctance
be commutated allow a faster drop off of the commutated motors,” in Proc. 13th Ann. Symp. Incremental Motion Contr.
current and, thus, smaller negative torque. The broader Syst. Devices, May 1984, pp. 293-301.
torque-angle curve with a wider rotor pole width and skewing J. W. Finch, M. R. Harris, H. M. B. Metwally, and A. Musoke,
“Switched reluctance motors with multiple teeth per pole: Philosophy
can be explained from the observation that torque reaches a of design,” in Proc. Second Int. Conf. Elect. Machines-Des.
maximum when the stator and rotor poles begin to overlap. Applications, Sept. 1985, pp. 134-138.
With a wider rotor pole width, initial overlap between the R. Arumugam, J. F. Lindsay, and R. Krishnan, “Sensitivity of pole
arclpole pitch ratio on switched reluctance motor performance,” in
stator and rotor poles will happen earlier, and complete IEEEIIAS 1988 Ann. Mtg., Conf. Rec. (Pittsburg), Oct. 1988. pp.
overlapping will occur before the axes of the rotor and stator 50-54.

[l11 M. Moallem, “Performance characteristics of switched reluctance Chee-Mun Ong (SM’80) received the B.E. (Hons)
motor drives,” Ph.D. Thesis, Purdue Univ., Aug. 1989. degree in electrical engineering from the Univer-
[12] R. M. Davis, W. F. Ray, and R. J. Blake, “Inverter drive for sity of Malaya in 1967 and the M.S. and the Ph.D.
switched reluctance motor circuits and component ratings,” Proc. degrees from Purdue University in 1968 and 1974,
Inst Elec. Eng., vol. 128B, pp. 126-136, Mar. 1981. respectively.
During the periods 1968-1973 and 1976-1978,
he was a Lecturer in the University of Malaya. In
1969-1970, he spent a year as an UNESCO Fel-
low with the Central Electricity Generating Board
and English Electric in England. In 1978, he joined
the School of Electrical Engineering at Purdue
University, West Lafayette IN, as an Assistant Professor and in 1985
became a Professor. In fall 1990, he spent his sabbatical leave at the
National University of Singapore as a Visiting Professor His teaching and
research interests are in converters, electric machines, and power systems,
with special emphasis on control and simulation.
Dr. Ong is a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, a Chartered
Engineer of the United Kingdom, and a registered Professional Engineer in

Lewis E. Unnewehr (F’91) was born in Berea,
Mehdi Moallem was born in Isfahan, Iran, in OH. He received the B.S. degree in electrical
1957. He received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1946 and
engineering from Tehran University, Iran, in 1981, the M.S. degree in electrical engineering from the
the M.S. degree in electrical engineering from University of Notre Dame in 1952.
West Virginia University, Morgantown, in 1985, He is presently the Electric Motor Program
and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering Manager at Sullair Corporation, Division of Sund-
from Purdue University in Aug. 1989. strand. Previous experience includes being the Di-
From August 1989 to January 1990, he worked rector of Advanced Electronics at the Automotive
as a post-doctoral associate in the School of Elec- Technical Center of Allied Signal Corporation,
trical Engineering at Purdue University, doing his Troy, MI, Principal Staff Engineer, Scientific Re-
research on the design, simulation, and control of search Laboratories of Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI, and Senior
switched-reluctance mac:hines. From January 1990 to June 1990, he was Engineer at the Garrett/Airesearch Division of Allied Signal, Torrance, CA.
with the Delco Product Division of General Motors Corporation in Ohio. Mr. Unnewehr has authored four textbooks and over 20 technical journal
Currently, he is with tht Isfahan University of Technology in Iran. papers. He is the holder of seven U.S. patents.