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Armature reaction and Commutation

The term reaction is defined as the action between two or more elements. Reaction taking
place around the surface of the armature core is called armature reaction.
In DC machine the area between the armature surface and the main pole face is called air
gap.When the machine is excited flux set up by the main field winding m will be present in the
air gap.Further when the main armature conductor carry current ie,when the machine is
loaded,they set up an additional flux, a which is also present in tha same air gap.As the two flux
can not exist independently in a common space in the air gap.
The interaction between flux set up by the current carrying armature conductors with the
main field flux is therefore defined as the armature reaction.The entire energy conversions-from
mechanical to electrical in the case of generator,and from electrical to mechanical in the case of
motors,takes place only due to this interaction.

Flux due to main poles

Flux set up by armature conductors.

The flux set up by the main poles alone is shown in fig4.2 and the flux set up by the current
carrying armature conductors alone is shown in fig.4.7.Now if these two figures are combined
the resultant wave form can be given in fig.4.8.
The wave form(1) in fig4.8 indicates the flux set up by the main poles.This will be the only flux
present in the air gap when the armature conductor carry any current.

Fig.4.8.Armature reaction
In fig 4.8 the inward direction of current is marked in the armature conductors which are lying
under north pole region,and outward direction of current in the conductor that are lying under
south ole region.The direction of current in the armature conductor should be with reference to
the direction of rotation and mode of operation.The said and marked direction of current in the
armature conductor will be available if the DC machine is either rotated in clockwise direction
and operating as generator or rotaing in anticlockwise direction as motor.Wavefor(2) is the flux
set up by the current carrying armature conductors.
Waveform(3) shown in Fig4.8 is obtained by adding the wavefors (1) and(2) both by magnitude
and direction at each and every location.The resultant flux waveform may coincide with
waveform (3) provided the machine is in unsaturated condition.There is a reduction of flux under
the leading pole tips in thr case of generator(trailing pole tips in the case of motor)and an
increase in flux take place in the trailing pole tips,(leading pole tips in the case of motor).
Comparing the waveform (3) with waveform (1),one can conclude that:

The average values of waveform (3) is same as that of waveform (1).hence the average
value of flux remain the same provided the machine is unsaturated.
The shape of the waveform (3) is distorted.


The zero crossing of the waveform or the magnetic neutral axis (MNA) gets shifted.

The shifting of MNA is in the same direction as that of rotation when the machine operates as
generator and shifting is in the opposite direction as that of rotation when the machine operates
as motor.
Saturation effect set a limit for maximum flux a machine can have.The amount of reduction in
flux that takes place in one pole tip may not be compensated in the other pole tip,as increase in
flux beyond certain limit is restricted due to saturation.Hence when saturation taken in to account
there will be a net reduction in flux due to armature reaction.
He following are therefore the undesired effect of armature reaction:

Magnetic neutral axis get shifted

Distorting effect-distortion of flux waveform
Demagnetising effect-net reduction in flux.

The cross-magnetising effect of armature reaction may be neutralised by providing compensating

windings on the main pole face of a DC machine.
Large size DC machines like,turbo-generators,motors for rolling mills,colliery winders etc.,are
normally subjected to very violent fluctuations in load.A sudden change in load will produce a
sudden change in the flux set up by armature current.This inturn will cause induced emf in the
armature coils.The magnitude of this emf will depend upon the rate of change in flux and will be
very high if the change in load is larger and if the change is taking place almost instantaneously.
If the emf exceeds the permissible limit that can be beared by the insulation provided between
adjacent commutator segments,it wil give rise to flash over,in the form of an arc completely
encircling the commutator and hence short circuiting the whole armature winding.This flashover
or arcing can be effectively overcome by compensating the armature mmf under the polefaces.It
is already seen that a coil under the pole face is linked with maximum crossflux.Therefore the
effect of rapidly changing flux caused by rapidly changing loads will be more pronounced on the
armature coils lying under the pole face.Hence the most effective way to neutralise this effect is
to provide additional compensating windings embedded in solts that are cut in pole faces as
shown in fig4.12
As the compensating required is prportional to the armature current, the compenasting winding
should be excited by the armature current.Therefore it is necessary that the compenasting
winding be connected in series with the armature winding.Further in order that armature and
compensating winding mmf opposes each other .The direction of current in the compensating
winding coilside must be opposite to that in the armature winding coil side just below the
respective pole phases.

Since the compensating winding mmf neutralize the armature mmf only under the main pole
phases the mmf required to be established by the compensating winding can be estimated as
given in the equations