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The topic of magnetic braking has dramatically increased in

popularity in recent years. Since 1987, numerous articles about magnetic
braking were published. These articles describe both experiments dealing
with magnetic braking, as well as the theory behind the phenomenon.
Magnetic braking works because of induced currents and Lenz's law. If
you attach a metal plate to the end of a pendulum and let it swing, its
speed will greatly decrease when it passes between the poles of a magnet.

When the plate enters the magnetic field, an electric field is

induced in metal and circulating eddy currents are generated. These
currents act to oppose the change in flux through the plate, in accordance
with Lenz's Law. The currents in turn heat the plate, thereby reducing its
kinetic energy. The practical uses for magnetic braking are numerous and
commonly found in industry today. This phenomenon can be used to
damp unwanted nutations in satellites, to eliminate vibrations in
spacecrafts, and to separate nonmagnetic metals from solid waste

Mechatronics is a hybrid technological field which evolved from

the combination of mechanical, electronics & Software engineering.
Automobiles need high degree of safety to protect the occupants and their
property. Bearing this in senses we come up with a new concept of
Electric pulse Magnetic Braking (E.P.M.Braking).

When the driver applies force on the brake pedal the magnitude is
sensed by the pressure transducer which in turn sends the actuating
signals to microprocessor. This intelligent device sends pulsating D.C.
current from the capacitor to the power pack. The power pack develops
sufficient torque to decelerate or stop the vehicle as per the driver's
requirement. The torque produced is directly proportional to the force
applied on the brake pedal, as the intensity of the actuating signal from
the pressure transducer is directly proportional to the pulsating D.C.
current supplied to the power pack.
Another important aspect of this braking system is that the power
pack also acts as a generator, which results in additional power
generation. We have also incorporated artificial intelligence. Logic gates
for backup-circuit for safety and shift current for shifting the power pack
from generating mode to braking mode and vice-versa to generator



























Many of the ordinary brakes, which are being used now days, stop
the vehicle by means of mechanical blocking. This causes skidding and
wear and tear of the vehicle. And if the speed of the vehicle is very high,
the brake cannot provide that much high braking force and it will cause
problems. These drawbacks of ordinary brakes can be overcome by a
simple and effective mechanism of braking system The magnetic
braking system. It is an abrasion-free method for braking of vehicles
including trains. It makes use of the opposing tendency of eddy current.

Eddy current is the swirling current produced in a conductor, which is

subjected to a change in magnetic field. Because of the tendency of eddy

currents to oppose, eddy currents cause energy to be lost. More

accurately, eddy currents transform more useful forms of energy such as
kinetic energy into heat, which is much less useful. In many applications,
the loss of useful energy is not particularly desirable. But there are some
practical applications. Such an application is the magnetic brake.

Magnetic brake in trains










electromagnetic induction. According to this law, whenever a conductor

cuts magnetic lines of forces, an emf is induced in the conductor, the
magnitude of which is proportional to the strength of magnetic field and
the speed of the conductor. If the conductor is a disc, there will be
circulatory currents i.e. eddy currents in the disc. According to Lenzs
law, the direction of the current is in such a way as to oppose the cause,
i.e. movement of the disk.

Essentially the magnetic brake consists of two parts, a stationary

magnetic field system and a solid rotating part, which include a metal
disc. During braking, the metal disc is exposed to a magnetic field from
an electromagnet, generating eddy currents in the disc. The magnetic
interaction between the applied field and the eddy currents slow down the
rotating disc. Thus the wheels of the vehicle also slow down since the
wheels are directly coupled to the disc of the magnetic brake, thus
producing smooth stopping motion.


Essentially a magnetic brake consists of two members, a
stationary magnetic field system and a solid rotary member, generally of
mild steel, which is sometimes referred to as the secondary because the
eddy currents are induced in it. Two members are separated by a short air
gap, theyre being no contact between the two for the purpose of torque
transmission. Consequently there is no wear as in friction brake.
Stator consists of pole core, pole shoe, and field winding.
The field winding is wounded on the pole core. Pole core and pole shoes
are made of cast steel laminations and fixed to the state of frames by
means of screw or bolts. Copper and aluminium is used for winding
material the arrangement is shown in fig. 1. This system consists of two




Stator:It is supported frame members of the vehicle chassis. It has

introduced magnetic poles energized by windings. Current is supplied to
the winding from the battery.

Rotor:It is a rotating disc, which is fitted on the line of crankshaft with small
air gap to stator. When disc rotates a flux change occur in the section of
the disc passing the

poles of stator. Due to the flux change there is a circulatory or eddy

current in the disc around the magnetic lines of force. The effect of this
eddy current induces N
and S poles at the surface of the disc. Then there will be a drag or
braking effect in between eddy current induced poles and magnetic
poles in the stator. By changing current from the battery we can change
the braking force. In this breaking system kinetic energy of the vehicle
is converted to heat and this heat is dissipated through the rotating disc.
Total resistance of field winding
R = L/A

total length of field winding in meter.

Resistivity of the wire in ohm meter

the area of cross section of field winding in m2

Total no: of terms = total length /mean length of one term

The rotor is a rotating disc on shaft, which is placed very near to
the stator with small air gap (1 mm to 2 mm). Rotating disc may be one
or both side of stator.

The two units have common ring member, poles cores on which
winding are provided being fixed to ring number. If a malleable casting
is employed, then the pole core could be cast integrally with the right.
After fitting the windings on the cores, poles shoes are fitted to provide
pole faces of appropriate shape and area. The rotor disc should be
provided with properly designed fins for faster heat removal.


magnetic circuits of the two units are substantially the same, non-undue
and thrust would be imposed on the motor bearings.

Slight axial

displacement of rotor could however, cause quite appreciable

discrepancy, the air gap of two units. The

effect would be to increase the magnetic pull in one air gap and diminish
it on other which could give to rise to excessive and thrust on rotor
bearing to overcome the inherent defect, the air gaps of both units could
be put in series by making the central

number non magnetic and providing a continues pole core for each pair
axially opposite poles.

This modification could possibly reduce the

length of the combined pole course or permits a larger winding length.

The maximum diameter of the magnetic brake is decided by


The spacing of vehicle chassis frame

2. Vehicle floor clearance

When the vehicle is moving, the rotor disc of magnetic brake
which is coupled to the wheels of the vehicle rotates, in close proximity
to stationary magnetic poles. When we want to brake the vehicle, a
control switch is put on which is placed on the steering column in a
position for easy operation.
When the control switch is operated, current flows from a battery to
the field winding, thus energizing the magnet. Then the rotating disc will
cut the magnetic field. When the disc cuts the magnetic field, flux
changes occur in the disc which is proportional to the strength of the
magnetic field. The current will flow back to the zero field areas of the
metal plate and thus create a closed current loop like a whirl or eddy. A
flow of current always means there is a magnetic field as well. Due to
Lenzs law, the magnetic field produced by the eddy currents works
against the movement direction. Thus instead of mechanical friction, a
magnetic friction is created. In consequence, the disc will experience a
drag or the braking effect, and thus the disc stops rotation. The wheels
of the vehicle, which is directly coupled to the disc, also stop rotation.
Faster the wheels are spinning, stronger the effect, meaning that as the

vehicle slows, the braking force is reduced producing a smooth stopping

The control switch can be set at different positions for controlling
the excitation current to several set values in order to regulate the
magnetic flux and consequently the magnitude of braking force. i.e. if the
speed of the vehicle is lpw, a low braking force is required to stop the
vehicle. So the control switch is set at the lowest position so that a low
current will be supplied to the field winding. Then the magnetic field
produced will be of low strength, so that a required low braking force is

When the control switch is operated during the standby position of the
vehicle, the magnet will be energized and magnetic field is created. But
since the wheels are not moving, magnetic lines of force are not cut by it,
and the brake will not work. However, a warning lamp is provided on the

panel to indicate whether the brake is energized. This

provides a safe guard for the driver against leaving the unit energized.
When control switch is put in any one of the operating positions, the
corresponding conductor in the contractor box is energized and current
flows from the battery to the field winding to the contractor box. This
current magnetizes the poles in stator, which placed very near to the rotor.
When rotor rotates it will cut magnetic lines and eddy current will set up

in the rotor. The magnetic field of this eddy current produces a breaking
force or torque in the opposite direction of rotation disc. This kinetic
energy of rotor is converted as heat energy and dissipated from rotating
disc to surrounding atmosphere. Current in the field can change by
changing the position of the controls switch. Thus we can change the
strength of the braking force.
Magnetic field lines across the magnetic material inside a copper tube

Direction of magnetic lines of force due to magnet in copper tube

Induction of Eddy current due to the motion of magnet in the copper


Direction of magnetic lines of force produced by induced eddy



In the case of trains, the part in which the eddy current is induced is
rail. The brake shoe is enclosed in a coil, forming an electromagnet.
When the magnet is energized, eddy currents are induced in the rail by
means of electromagnetic induction, thereby producing braking action.



There are two types of magnetic brakes according to the method of
1. Electrically excited - magnetic brake
2. Permanent magnet - magnetic brake


Electrically excited - magnetic brakes are abruption-free

method for braking. In high-speed trains they offer a good alternative to
the mechanical rail brakes which are being used now a days. During
braking, the brake comes in contact with the rail, and the magnetic poles
of brakes are energized by a winding supplied. Magnetic poles of brakes
are energized by a winding supplied with current from the battery. Then
the magnetic flux is distributed over the rail. The eddy currents are
generated in the rail, producing an electromagnetic braking force. This
types of braking need an additional safety power supply when there are
breakdowns in the electrical power supply.


Recently, permanent magnet - magnetic brakes have been
developed for subways, trams and local trains. These brakes need a
mechanical actuator to turn the magnets in an on and off position. The
main advantage of this type of brake is safety. i.e. it does not need
electrical power supply to energize the magnet.



Sophisticated calculation methods for the determination of

braking forces of magnetic brakes are important for the design of the
For a simple magnetic brake employing a thin non-magnetic disc
as copper the drag or braking force on the disc.

H = Magnetic field strength in Webers.
A = Pole force area in cm2.
V = Velocity in cm/sec of mean radius of disc under the poles.
T = disc thickness in cm.
= specific resistance of disc material at its operating temperature in
micro ohms/cm3.

Torque = F * R Nm
Where R = mean pole radius in meter.
Power P = 2 NT/60 watts.


An magnetic brake is an energy converter functions is to convert
the kinetic energy of a vehicle into heat and dissipate it such a rate to
maintain the temperature of unit with in reasonable limits under

maximum and prolonged braking conditions. The energy absorbed by the

brake is transformed into heat by the currents induced in the motor, and
this is heat manly dissipated in surrounding air through the medium of
suitable designed fins the rotating member.
In mountains area, continues braking force is needed for a long
time (say about half an hour), at this condition, magnetic braking is more
suitable to function without over heating. The use of these retarders is by
no means limited to mountain on country. They can be advantageously
employed on public service vehicles on city routes without frequent
stops. But in this braking system there with out be any braking force in
the vehicle is rest. So the magnetic brake is used as an auxiliary heavyduty retarder. By using auxiliary retarder very smooth retardation is
assumed and likely hood of skidding on slippery roads surfaces is
minimized. Smooth braking action cuts down tier were and since brake is
used as an auxiliary heavy-duty retarder. By using auxiliary retarder very
smooth retardation is assumed and likely hood of skidding on slippery
roads surfaces is minimized. Smooth braking action cuts down tier were
and since the conventional brakes are relieved of heavy duty being
required only to bring vehicles to rest.


A typical mounting of an eddy current brake consists of two discs

in which pole salient type, supported between the frame numbers of a
vehicle chassis. Rotor is coupled to road wheels being often mounted on
a shaft that is interposed between the gearbox and propeller shaft and
stator is mounted on the frame of the vehicle.

The driver who can select one or four excitation settings

according to the breaking effect required mounts a control switch on a
steering column in a position for easy operation. In the operative
positions of this switch 1, 2, 3, 4 contractors are energized to supply
current to the excitation windings of the retarder. Warning lamp is also
provided on the instrument panel to indicate when the retarder is
energized. This provides a safe guard for the driver against leaving the
unit energized when the vehicle is stationary.

Less maintenance
Wide range of braking force available within the temperature limit
Prolonged braking is possible
Long life
Less strain to the operation
Smooth retardation, which cuts down, the tire wears
Independent of wheel/rail adhesion.
No noise or smell.
Adjustable brake force.
High brake forces at high speeds.
Used also as service brake.
It uses electromagnetic force and not friction.
Non-mechanical (no moving parts, no friction.
Can be activated at will via electrical signal.
Light weight.

Magnetic brakes offer smooth retardation of vehicles without

skidding. It is totally free of wear and tear. So it has long life compared to
ordinary brakes. These need less maintenance.

In mountain areas continuous braking is needed for a long time. At

this condition, magnetic braking is more suitable to function without
By changing the excitation current to the field winding, i.e. by
adjusting the position of the control switch, we can vary the braking force
to required range. The operation of magnetic brake is very simple. i.e. the
control switch is a soft switch which can be operated without any strain.
Magnetic brakes works even under the toughest environmental
conditions. For example, in larger water slides and water coasters where
the humidity would immediately result in reduction of friction and thus
impair the effectiveness of ordinary brakes. It works even in highly
corrosive environments and heavily contaminated areas.

No breaking force at rest, braking force diminishes as speed
diminishes with no ability to hold the load in position at standstill.
Need of electric power
It can not be used at low speed vehicles or vehicle running at low
Magnetic brakes are used with ordinary mechanical brakes.
Nowdays Magnetic brakes is using only for safety purpose.

The main disadvantage of the magnetic brake is that it needs

electric power to work. Researches are going on to overcome this
disadvantage by making the brake regenerative i.e. by converting the
kinetic energy of the vehicle into electric energy and storing it back into
the battery.
For additional safety on long decants in mountain area
For high speed passenger and goods vehicle
It is used as a stopping mechanism in trains.

It is also used in the smooth breaking and functioning of roller

coasters and such fast moving machines

Magnetic brakes are best substitutes for ordinary brakes, which are
being used nowadays in road vehicles even in trains, because of their
jerk-free operation. In mountain areas where continuous braking force is
needed, for a long time, the magnetic braking is very much useful for
working without overheating. Magnetic brakes are very much useful for
high-speed passengers and good vehicles. It can also be used to slow
down the trolleys of faster roller coasters.

Magnetic brakes are the best choice when demands for reliability
and safety are the highest. They work even in the toughest environmental
conditions. Even the strike of lightning will not result in the loss of the
braking force.
Magnetic braking system is not popular now a days. But we hope
that the magnetic braking system which is simpler and more effective will
take the place of the ordinary braking system and we can do expect it to
be the norm one in few years of time.


1. Manual 1 Gonzalez, Volume 25,Issue 4,July 2004

2. IEEE Transactions on magnetics, Volume 34, Issue 4, July 1998
3. Analysis of eddy current brake for high-speed railway by
Wang.P.J.& Chiuch.S.J.
4. Automobile electrical equipments by Young &Griffith.
5. Automatic engineering by Kripal Sing.
6. Clutches and brakes by William.C.Orthwin.