# The DC Motor

The DC motor converts electrical energy from a power source into kinetic energy. Most designs
produce kinetic energy in the form of torque in a spinning coil.

This effect is best understood by looking at the motion of the spinning coil at various stages in its
motion (see Positions 1 to 5).

The magnets create a magnetic field with flux density traveling from North to South.

Figure 1: The DC Motor

Axis of rotation Field Magnets NOTE: The right hand rule used to
Armature
determine the direction of motion of
the armature is based on conventional
current. This is current flowing from
the positive terminal to the negative
terminal.

S
N

Split ring commutator
Brushes

Power Supply

Power supply: Provides electrical energy to the circuit (DC)

Brushes: Connect the external circuit to the moving armature, ensuring external circuit wires do not
tangle. They touch/slide against the split ring commutator without moving with it.

Split ring commutator: Rotates with the axle and armature. Ensures current is passing through
armature in correct direction to enable continuous rotation of the axle. Enables the direction of
current through the coil to be reversed every 180 o of rotation.

Field magnets: Provide B field

Armature: Current flows through armature within the B field, inducing a force (see right hand rule).
The armature consists of the coil and split ring commutator. It spins on an axle.

Axle: The axle is the hardware that connects the split ring commutator and armature, and is the axis
of rotation.

The force produced by the interaction of the current and the magnetic field creates a torque ( τ
‘tau’, a twisting force).

I . The overall effect is for the armature to spin in a clockwise direction.71 . N Torque at any armature/coil position τ =B . N . N=τ max Position 2 ( θ=45 ° ) Conventional current is flowing anticlockwise throughout the circuit (from the positive terminal to the negative terminal). I . the interaction of the current and magnetic flux induces a downwards force on the red side of the armature. B . N ≈ 0. I . I . τ max 2 2 Position 3 ( θ=90 ° ) . and an upwards force on the black side of the armature. τ =Fd Where F is the force (Newtons) and d is the distance from the armature to the centre of the axle (meters). Using the right hand rule. L . cos 0=B . I . The magnetic flux flows from North Pole to South Pole (left to right). A . Using the right hand rule. The units of Torque are Newton meters (Nm) The Force on a current carrying wire can be calculated using Faraday’s Law: F=B . Conventional current is flowing anticlockwise throughout the circuit (from the positive terminal to the negative terminal). I . cosθ Where  B is the magnetic flux density of the field  A is the area of the armature  I is the current in the armature  N is the number of coils  θ is the angle of the armature relative to the magnetic field Stages of motion: Position 1 ( θ=0° ) The coil is horizontal at this point. τ =B . N . sinθ The torque of the motor can be calculated as below. A . I . A . N . The overall effect is for the armature to continue to spin in a clockwise direction. A . and an upwards force on the red side of the armature. Maximum torque τ max =B . A . cos 45= √ . A . τ =B . the interaction of the current and magnetic flux induces a downwards force on the black side of the armature. The magnetic flux flows from North Pole to South Pole (left to right).

A . I . The following measures could be taken to increase the maximum torque:  Increase the strength of the magnetic field  Increase the area of the armature  Increase the current flowing through the coil  Increase the number of coils . N . The split ring commutator is not in contact with the external circuit. The black side of the armature now has current going into the page and the red side of the armature now has current going out of the page. A . and an upwards force on the red side of the armature. cos 0=B . As a result. The magnetic flux flows from North Pole to South Pole (left to right). the interaction of the current and magnetic flux induces a downwards force on the black side of the armature. N . τ max 2 2 Position 5 ( θ=180 ° . N ≈ 0. N=τ max This process cycles with the current being reversed in the coil/armature by the split ring commutator every 180o of rotation. τ =B . τ =B . The momentum of the armature allows the armature to move through this position in a clockwise direction. meaning that no current is flowing through the armature. the interaction of the current and magnetic flux now induces a downwards force on the black side armature. Conventional current is flowing anticlockwise throughout the circuit (from the positive terminal to the negative terminal).The coil is vertical at this point. I . Before the split ring commutator changed things. cos 90=0 Position 4 ( θ=135 ° . the black side had current coming out of the page and the red side had it going into the page.71. there is no force on the armature for a brief period of time. use 0 ° due ¿ split ring commutator ) The coil is once again horizontal at this point. and an upwards force on the red side of the armature. N . ensuring that the motor has a continuous rotation in the clockwise direction. A . Using the right hand rule. B . Note how due to the split ring commutator. cos 135= √ . I . I . N . How to create a larger Torque The formula for maximum torque is τ max =B . A . A . I . I . use 45 ° due ¿ split ring commutator ) Conventional current is flowing anticlockwise throughout the circuit. (Note that due to the rotation of the axle these are now the opposite sides of the armature to position 1) The overall effect is for the armature to spin in a clockwise direction. The magnetic flux continues to flow from North Pole to South Pole (left to right). A . (from the positive terminal to the negative terminal). Using the right hand rule. The overall effect is for the armature to continue to spin in a clockwise direction. τ =B . the current has been reversed in terms of each side of the armature.

motor designers can include multiple coils that are angularly displaced from one another on the axle or multiple surrounding magnet pairs that are angularly displaced from one another.5 0. This has the effect of superimposing several of these torque curves over each other. Proportion of maximum Torque Torque of DC motor 1 0.75 0.25 0 0 45 90 135 180 Angle of coil relative to magnetic flux (degrees) The graph of the torque of the motor is a cos graph with the negative torque inverted (flipped to positive) due to the split ring commutator. . To overcome this inconsistent torque output. The net result is a smoother torque output or “torque ripple”.

red side attached to red half of commutator . (Front-on diagram of motor) Axle Split ring commutator Brushes: stay still while commutator Coil: black side attached and coil rotate to black half of commutator.