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A Simulation Technique for the Eccentricity of a Three-

Phase Squirrel-Cage Induction Motor

IONESCU Razvan Mihai1, SCUTARU Gheorghe1, NEGOITA Andrei1
”Transilvania” University of Brasov, Romania,
Department of Advanced Electrical Systems, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,
29 B-dul Eroilor, 500036, Brasov, Romania,

Abstract – The paper presents an approach based on between the direction of the flux density on radial
numerical analysis methods for induction motors with direction with no eccentricity and with 15 % eccentricity
squirrel-cage rotor. A finite element method simulation and between the tangential components of the flux
with the software produced by CEDRAT, FLUX 2D/3D density. This percentage of eccentricity is limited
is made. A 2 pole, 2.2 kW, 24 stator slots and 22 rotor because of the motor geometry. The tested motor is used
slots motor is modeled for static eccentricity of up to 15 in production at a local plant. Apart from diagnosis, the
%, on radial direction. Comparative results are modeling method could be a good basis for the
discussed. simulation of machines with known eccentricity defects.

Keywords: eccentricity, FEM, induction motor, II. FINITE ELEMENT METHOD DESCRIPTION
numerical analysis
The studies on noise analysis for induction motors
I. INTRODUCTION showed two ways of approach: the deterministic method
using finite element analysis and the statistical method.
Nowadays induction motors are widely used. The The finite element method is an analysis technique used
reasons are high reliability, high efficiency and good for obtaining approximate solutions for the boundary
performance of the motor. Faults in an induction motor problems in engineering. The finite element method
may arise due to the inappropriate maintenance, the (FEM) has a solid theoretical foundation, based on
excessive use of the motor or of the bearings and lead to mathematical theorems that guarantee an asymptotic
a decrease of the motor lifetime and an increase of the increase of the accuracy of the field calculation towards
noise level. Diagnosis and detection of noise sources and an exact solution. The finite element method is the most
of motor faults make it possible to improve the flexible numerical method used for determining the
performance and increase lifetime [1]. solutions of partial differential equations.
Mechanical faults in the operation of the motor lead The different stages for the simulation with the finite
to eccentricity between the rotor and the stator. element method [5] are presented in Fig. 1:
Deterioration of the bearings leads to a variation of the
airgap which causes an unbalanced magnetic pull.
Since 20 years ago, investigations of faults of ac
drives have been reported. The Finite Element Method
(FEM) has been widely used during the last years in
electromagnetic analysis. Arkkio has studied unbalanced
magnetic pull for motors with different kind of
asymmetry including eccentricity [2], [3]. Belmans et al.
showed that in two-pole induction machine an eccentric
rotor may cause a significant homopolar flux closing
through the shaft, bearings, end-caps and frame [4]
which shortens the motor lifetime.
The paper introduces an approach based on
numerical analysis of three-phase induction motor, with
cage rotor, mainly for diagnosis purposes. Most of the
faults in three-phase squirrel cage induction motors
occur due to airgap eccentricity which is the condition of
the unequal airgap between the stator and the rotor. A
finite element method simulation of a 2 pole, 2.2 kW
motor, with static eccentricity of up to 15% and the
obtained results are presented. A comparison is made,
Fig. 1. Finite element method simulation stages.
r r
Solving an electromagnetic field problem is always where E is the electric field intensity, H is the
based on solving Maxwell’s equations. The numerical
magnetic field intensity, ρimp is the imposed charge
simulation generates data which may be used for testing r r
different states, faults, vibrations, noise levels and density, D is the electric flux density, B is the
allows the verification of the analytical results magnetic flux density, J is the current density, ε , µ ,
previously obtained. The advantage of using FEM is the σ are the environment permittivity, permeability and
accurate modeling of rotating electrical machines, by
representing the material properties and the nonlinearity.
Solving the set of differential equations of the
By using FEM, a complex problem represented by
electromagnetic field, with certain boundary conditions,
differential equations is transformed into a series of
is in fact minimizing the integral which expresses the
algebraic problems solved by partitioning the domain in
potential energy of the system. From the mathematical
a large number of elements. Usually, the discretization
point of view, solving the set of equations is equivalent
of the domain is made using triangular elements. Over
with the variational calculus problem, finding the
each element, the solution is approximated by a linear
function that minimizes the integral, for the given
interpolation of the values of the potential at the vertices
differential equation of Euler and Lagrange. The
of the triangle.
advantage of using the vector potential method is that all
The linear algebra problem is formed by minimizing
conditions which must be satisfied are included in a
a measure of the error between the exact differential
single equation.
equation and the approximate differential equation as
The minimum of the J integral will be computed
written in terms of linear functions.
An example of mesh with triangular elements is [7]:
presented in Fig. 2.
∫ f ( x, y, z,V ,V ,V ,V ) dx dy dz +
' ' '
J= x y z

, (8)

+ (qV + αV 2 ) dS

where x, y, z are the coordinates of the point in

which the function f is computed, V a function which
depends on the same coordinates, Vx' ,V y' ,Vz' are the first
order derivatives of function V with respect to
coordinates x, y, z and q, α are real parameters.
The following assumptions are made: the function
Fig. 2. Mesh with triangular elements
f is a continuous and derivable function in any point of
For magnetic fields, variable in time, the first order the considered domain; the first order derivatives,
Maxwell equations are [6], [7]: V ,Vx' ,V y' ,Vz' are also continuous and derivable functions;
r the integral J has a finite value.
r ∂B
∇× E + = 0 , (Faraday’s law) (1) The value of the function V is assumed as known in
∂t every point of the surface Σ d = Σ − S , where S is a part
r of the surface Σ :
r ∂D r
∇× H − − J = 0 , (Maxwell-Ampere law) (2)
∂t V = V ( x, y, z ) for ( x, y, z )∈Σ d . (9)
∇ ⋅ D = ρimp , (Gauss’s law for an electric field) (3) It is also considered that in every point of the surface
S , the value of a linear combination of the function V
r and the derivatives of the function f is known:
∇ ⋅ B = 0 , (Gauss’s law for a magnetic field) (4)
r r ∂f ∂f ∂f
D = εE , (5) (i ⋅ n ) + ( j ⋅ n) + (k ⋅ n ) +
' '
∂Vx ∂V y ∂Vz' . (10)
r r
B = µH , (6) + q + αV = 0

r r J is called a functional, an integral quantity which

J = σE , (7)
depends on unknown functions. The purpose is to
determine the value of the function V in every point of
the domain, for which the functional J has a minimum circuit coupling and kinematic coupling, suitable for
value: static, harmonic and transient analysis.
It may be used to process different types of
( x, y , z ) → V ( x, y , z ) , ( x , y , z )∈ D ⊂ ℜ3 . (11) applications and regimes as: magneto static, steady AC
magnetic, transient magnetic, coupling with circuit
equations, magnetic, rotating motion, translating motion,
skew, electro static, steady AC electric, electric
conduction, electrolysis, steady thermal, transient
thermal, superconductivity, iron losses.
FEMM [9] is a suite of programs used for solving
low frequency electromagnetic problems on two-
dimensional planar and axisymmetric domains. The
program is capable of solving linear/nonlinear magneto-
static problems, linear/nonlinear time harmonic
magnetic problems, linear electrostatic problems and
steady-state heat flow problems. The magnetics
problems addressed are those in which the displacement
currents can be ignored.
Fig. 3. The domain (D) bounded by the surface Σ and the LMS Virtual.Lab [10] is an integrated software
surface S , included in the domain. suite used to simulate and optimize the performance of
mechanical systems for structural integrity, noise and
The mathematical equations of Euler and Lagrange vibration, system dynamics and durability. Using LMS
are [7]: Virtual.Lab simulation models can be built, real-life
performance may be simulated, the design may be
optimized before prototype construction. Any
∂f ∂ ⎛ ∂f ⎞ ∂ ⎛ ∂f ⎞
− ⎜ ' ⎟− ⎜ ' ⎟− modification on the geometry, parameters or mesh is
∂V ∂x ⎜⎝ ∂Vx ⎟⎠ ∂y ⎜⎝ ∂V y ⎟
⎠ ; propagated over the entire model.
(12) ANSYS Multiphysics [11] is a software product
∂ ⎛ ∂f ⎞
− ⎜⎜ ' ⎟⎟ = 0 which includes structural, thermal, fluid and both high-
∂z ⎝ ∂Vz ⎠ frequency and low-frequency electromagnetic analysis.
The software offers the possibility to simulate the
V = V ( x, y, z ) for ( x, y, z )∈Σ d ; (13) interaction between structural mechanics, heat transfer,
flow, electromagnetics into a single environment.
(i ⋅ n ) + ( j ⋅ n) + (k ⋅ n ) +
∂Vx' ∂V y' ∂Vz'
q + αV = 0 The motor tested using FLUX 2D is a 2 pole motor,
2.2 kW, 3000 rpm, at the frequency of 50 Hz. The motor
for ( x, y , z )∈ S . (14) has 24 stator slots and 22 rotor slots. The slip is 0.052
and the airgap is set to 0.3 mm. A steady state AC model
The finite element method is useful for the study of is defined. For reasons of simplicity, the geometry was
the field inside a finite domain, but it may be extended built for half of the motor. Boundary conditions are
for the study of the exterior of the domain also, for automatically created based on symmetry and
infinite dimensions. This procedure is based on: periodicity.
- extending the mesh beyond a certain boundary, The boundary conditions generated for the model are
at a large distance which is considered to be the shown in Fig. 4:
“infinity” boundary of the domain;
- extending the dimensions of the elements in
geometric progression;
- considering the vector potential function to be
zero or an admitted value in the peaks of the
“infinity” boundary elements.


FLUX [8] is a Computer Aided Engineering package

using the finite element method used for electromagnetic
and thermal physics simulations, both in 2D and 3D.
This software offers a large number of functions, Fig. 4. The boundary conditions of the model.
including multi-parametric analysis, advanced electrical
The red areas represent Dirichlet boundary TABLE I
conditions, in which the value of potential V is explicitly Color shade for magnetic flux density for a phase angle of 0º
defined on the boundary, for example: V = 0 . Min. Value (T) Max. Value (T) Color
The most common use of Dirichlet boundary 99,691584 x 10-6 209,263339 x 10-3
conditions in magnetic problems is to define the 209,263339 x 10-3 418,42699 x 10-3
potential as zero along a boundary to keep magnetic flux 418,42699 x 10-3 627,590655 x 10-3
627,590655 x 10-3 836,754322 x 10-3
from crossing the boundary.
836,754322 x 10-3 1,045917
The green areas represent antiperiodic boundary
1,045917 1,255081
conditions, which join together two boundaries and the 1,255081 1,464245
boundary values are made to be of equal magnitude but 1,464245 1,673408
opposite sign. 1,673408 1,882572
The geometry for half of the model, meshed, is 1,882572 2,091736
presented in Fig. 5: 2,091736 2,300899
2,300899 2,510063
2,510063 2,719227
2,719227 2,92839
2,92839 3,137554
3,137554 3,346718

Fig. 5. The geometry of the model, meshed.

In order to be able to study the flux density, a path

through the airgap is defined. An arc of 180 degrees
through the center of the airgap will be created, which
corresponds to an electric cycle. Fig. 7. Magnetic flux density for a phase angle of 0º.
Fig. 6 presents the flux lines distribution within the
modeled induction motor. Field lines provide a simple In the case of a healthy machine, the normal flux
way to depict the magnetic field, which can be estimated density along a circle placed in the middle of the airgap
at any point, using the direction and density of the field is equally distributed.
lines nearby. A higher density of nearby field lines If the presence of leakage inductances and
indicates a larger magnetic field. Field lines are also a resistances is considered, the voltage drop on these
good qualitative tool for visualizing the magnetic forces. elements influences the repartition of the flux. The
asymmetries in the stator current and in the flux
distribution will be lower.
The relative permeability for the stator, rotor, stator
slots, rotor slots is represented in Fig. 8 and the
corresponding values are presented in Table II:

Fig. 6. Flux lines distribution.

From the magnetic flux distribution chart, for a

phase angle of 0º, we can express the maximum and the
minimum values of the magnetic flux (T):
Fig. 8. Relative permeability in the model.
When the model is tested at steady-state mode, the f r = f1 ⋅ [ni ⋅ Z 2 ⋅ (1 − s )] ; (16)
flux distribution is almost symmetrical. There may be
some asymmetries due to the possible faults in the
⎡ n ⋅ Z ⋅ (1 − s ) 1 − s ⎤
motor. When the eccentricity occurs, the air gap field f r = f1 ⋅ ⎢ i 2 + ⎥; (17)
that consists of the fundamental component, stator and ⎣ p p ⎦
rotor mmf harmonics and stator and rotor slot
permeances, will have new harmonic components due to ⎡ n ⋅ Z ⋅ (1 − s ) 1 − s ⎤
the possible faults. f r = f1 ⋅ ⎢ i 2 + ⎥, (18)
⎣ p+2 p ⎦
Color shade for relative permeability of the model where f1 is the supply frequency; ni is an integer
Min. Value Max. Value Color
number, ni = 0,±1,±2,±3,... ; p is the number of pole
1 396,851836
396,851836 792,703735 pairs; s is the slip and Z 2 is the number of rotor slots.
792,703735 1,188555 x 103 In the case of static eccentricities, the position of
1,188555 x 103 1,584406 x 103 minimum airgap is fixed with regard to the stator.
1,584406 x 103 1,980259 x 103 In order to be able to observe the differences
1,980259 x 103 2,37611 x 103 between the model with no eccentricity and the model
2,37611 x 103 2,771962 x 103
with 15% eccentricity on radial direction, two plots will
2,771962 x 103 3,167814 x 103
be made and the resulted charts will be superimposed, as
3,167814 x 103 3,563666 x 103
in Fig. 9:
3,563666 x 103 3,959518 x 103
3,959518 x 103 4,355369 x 103
4,355369 x 103 4,751221 x 103
4,751221 x 103 5,147073 x 103
5,147073 x 103 5,542925 x 103
5,542925 x 103 5,938776 x 103
5,938776 x 103 6,334628 x 103

The eccentricity, static or dynamic, produced

between the stator and the rotor is the cause for
eccentricity harmonics. Static eccentricity means that the
center of symmetry of the stator is not synchronized
with the center of symmetry of the rotor. The rotor has a
fixed position with respect to the center of symmetry of
the stator. For induction motors with static eccentricity, Fig. 9. The direction of flux density with 0 % eccentricity and
an unbalance of electromagnetic forces which act upon 15 % eccentricity on radial direction.
the stator and the rotor is produced and a radial force
occurs, named unbalanced magnetic pull. Noise and It can be noticed that important peaks appear for the
vibration occur when the frequencies of the forces due to 15 % eccentricity curve corresponding to the area in
static eccentricity correspond to the natural frequency of which the width of the airgap has decreased.
the stator [12]. Fig. 3 shows the tangential components of the flux
Static eccentricity injects harmonics with particular density, where important peaks appear in the same area
frequencies into the air gap magnetic flux density in which the width of the airgap has decreased.
distribution. These frequencies depend on the number of
slots, the static and the dynamic degrees. Also rotating
flux waves induce currents with the same frequencies in
the stator.
Eccentricity has an important influence on the airgap
flux distribution and the fundamental stator currents are
greatly affected. The influence of eccentricity on the
stator currents depends on the position of the
eccentricity with regard to the stator windings.
The frequencies corresponding to the radial forces
produced due to the eccentricity between the stator and
the rotor are [13, 14]:

ni ⋅ Z 2 ⋅ (1 − s )
f r = f1 ⋅ ; (15) Fig. 10. Tangential components of flux density for 0 %
eccentricity and 15 % eccentricity with respect to X axis

The paper presents numerical methods of analysis of [1] J. Faiz, B. M. Ebrahimi, “Static Eccentricity Fault
three-phase induction motor, with cage rotor. A finite Diagnosis in an Accelerating No-Load Three-Phase
element method simulation of a 2 pole, 2.2 kW motor, Saturated Squirrel-Cage Induction Motor”, Progress in
Electromagnetics Research B, Vol. 10, pp. 35 - 54, 2008.
with static eccentricity of up to 15% and the obtained
[2] A. Arkkio, O. Lindgren, “Unbalanced magnetic pull in a
results are presented. A comparison is made, between high-speed induction motor with an eccentric rotor”,
the direction of the flux density on radial direction with Proceedings of ICEM’94, pp. 53 - 58, Paris, France,
no eccentricity and with 15 % eccentricity. September 1994.
[3] A. Arkkio, “Unbalanced magnetic pull in cage induction
The simulation was carried out with the software motors with asymmetry in rotor structures”, IEEE
produced by CEDRAT, FLUX 2D/3D. The tested motor Conference Publication Proceedings of the 8th International
is a 2 pole motor, 2.2 kW, 3000 rpm, at the frequency of Conference on Electrical Machines and Drives, no. 444,
50 Hz. It has 24 stator slots and 22 rotor slots. The slip is pp. 36 - 40, Cambridge, United Kingdom, September
0.052 and the airgap is set to 0.3 mm. A steady state AC
[4] R. Belmans, A. Vandenput, W. Geysen, “Calculation of
model is defined. For reasons of simplicity, the the flux density and the unbalanced pull in two pole
geometry was built for half of the motor. Boundary induction machines”, Archiv für Elektrotechnik, vol. 70,
conditions are automatically created based on symmetry pp. 151 - 161, 1987.
and periodicity. [5] M., Kuczmann, A., Iványi, ”The Finite Element Method in
Magnetics”, Budapest, 2008.
The differences between no eccentricity and 15 % [6] J., Gieras, C., Wang, J., Cho Lai, ”Noise of Polyphase
eccentricity on radial direction may be observed from Electric Motors”, Taylor&Francis, 2006.
the presented charts. [7] A., Nicolaide, ”Masini electrice. Teorie. Proiectare”,
“Scrisul Romanesc” Publishing House, 1975.
[8] Cedrat FLUX 2D/3D Help, Tutorials, 2009.
The Finite Element Method is a powerful tool to [9] D., Meeker, “Finite Element Method magnetics”, Version
analyse machine behaviour and to serve as test-bench 4.2, User’s Manual, 2009.
with precisely known and controlled environment. There [10]
is though a drawback of this method, the extensive time [11]
required for machine modelling, simulation and data [12]P. Vijazrabhaven, R. Knshann,“Noise in Electric
manipulation. Machines”, Review, IEEE “Transactions on Industry
Application”, vol. 35, No. 5, pp. 1007 - 1013, 1999.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT [13]I. Peter, M., Ţaţa, ”The Noise of the Electrical Induction
Single-Phase Motors with Squirrel-Cage Rotor”, IEEE
Conference Proceedings of OPTIM’2006 International
This paper is supported by the Sectoral Operational Conference, Braşov, 2006.
Programme Human Resources Development POSDRU [14]Ghe., Scutaru, I., Peter, ”The Noise of the Electrical
ID6600 and by The National University Research Induction Motors with Squirrel-Cage Rotor”, “LUX
Council (CNCSIS) under the contract number 848/2009. LIBRIS” Publishing House, Braşov, 2004.