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The function of a governor

In a power plant, turbine or engine, governor is connected to generator. Generator runs at constant rated
speed also at particular load. If generator is running at full load and suddenly it trips off (i.e. load becomes
zero), there is a possibility speed may go high enough to break the shaft because the turbine or the engine is
still generating the power. There has to be some device, which can control the input (either steam or fuel) to
the turbine or engine as the load decreases or increases. By governors we can control the speed of
generators. Flywheel is used to smoothen out speed over a cycle of rotation. i.e. it is a energy storing and
releasing device over a cycle. By gyroscope we can control the guidance.

Sensitiveness of Governors
If a governor operates between the speed limits N1 and N2, then sensitiveness is defined as the ratio of the
mean speed to the difference between the maximum and minimum speeds. Thus,
N1 = Maximum equilibrium speed,
N2 = Minimum equilibrium speed, and
N = Mean equilibrium speed =

( )
Sensitiveness of the governor = =

It indicates how much a governor responds to speed fluctuations. It should not be too high and too low; if
so, either it shall not respond to speed fluctuations or it shall not attain equilibrium (causing erratic throttle

A governor is said to be stable when for every speed within the working range there is a definite
configuration i.e. there is only one radius of rotation of the governor balls at which the governor is in
equilibrium. For a stable governor, if the equilibrium speed increases, the radius of governor balls must also

Isochronous Governors
A governor is said to be isochronous when the equilibrium speed is constant (i.e. range of speed is zero)
for all radii of rotation of the balls within the working range, neglecting friction. Isochronism is the stage of
infinite sensitivity for spring controlled governors.

For isochronism, range of speed should be zero i.e. N2 – N1 = 0. Therefore from equations of governor
speed h1 = h2, which is impossible in case of a Porter governor. Hence a Porter governor cannot be

Hunting is the name given to a condition in which the speed of the engine controlled by the governor
fluctuates continuously above and below the mean speed. It is caused by a governor which is too sensitive.
It shall, therefore, change supply of fuel to the engine by large amount (either too much or too less).
Effort and Power of a Governor
The effort of a governor is the mean force exerted at the sleeve for a given percentage change of speed (or
lift of the sleeve). It may be noted that when the governor is running steadily, there is no force at the sleeve.
But, when the speed changes, there is a resistance at the sleeve which opposes its motion. It is assumed that
this resistance which is equal to the effort varies uniformly from a maximum value to zero while the
governor moves into its new position of equilibrium.

The power of a governor is the work done at the sleeve for a given percentage change of speed. It is the
product of the mean value of the effort and the distance through which the sleeve moves.
i.e., Power = Effort × lift of sleeve

Effort and Power of a Porter Governor

The effort and power of a Porter governor may be determined as discussed below.
Let N = Equilibrium speed corresponding to the configuration as shown in Fig (a),

We have discussed that when the speed is N rpm,the sleeve load is W = M.g. Assuming that the angles ”α”
and ”β “ are equal, so that q = 1, then the height of the governor,

When the increase of speed takes place, a downward force “P” will have to be exerted on the sleeve in
order to prevent the sleeve from rising. If the speed increases to (1 + c) N rpm and the height (h) of the
governor remains the same, the load on the sleeve increases to M1.g. Therefore

Equating equations (1) & (2)

A little consideration will show that (M1 – M)g is the downward force which must be applied in order to
prevent the sleeve from rising as the speed increases. It is the same force which acts on the governor sleeve
immediately after the increase of speed has taken place and before the sleeve begins to move. When the
sleeve takes the new position, as shown in Fig. (b), this force gradually diminishes to zero.

P = Mean force exerted on the sleeve during the increase in speed or Effort of the governor =
( )

= ( + )

If “F” is the frictional force (in Newton) at the sleeve, then (USE +F for sleeve rising, and –F for sleeve

We have already discussed that the power of a governor is the product of the governor effort and the lift of
the sleeve.

If the height of the governor at speed N is h and at an increased speed (1 + c) N is h1

s = 2 (h - h1)

As there is no resultant force at the sleeve in the two equilibrium positions, therefore

We know that

Substituting the values of “P” and “s” in equation (5) without friction, we have

When speed increases to (1 + c) N and height of the governor remains the same,


From equations (8) and (9), we have

The equation (6) for the lift of the sleeve (s) becomes

Controlling Force:
When the speed of rotation is uniform, each governor fly-ball is subjected either directly or indirectly to an
inward pull, which is equal and opposite to the outward centrifugal reaction. This inward pull is termed as
controlling force, FC. A curve drawn to show how the pull varies with the radius of rotation of the ball is
called a controlling force curve. Controlling force curve may be straight line in same type of governors.
This curve enables the stability and sensitiveness of the governor to be examined and also shows clearly the
effect of friction. Since controlling force is equal and opposite to centrifugal force, we have

 =

 =

If FC is plotted against “r”, then we get the controlling force curve as below and
φ = inclination to the “r” axis of the line joining a given point on the curve to the origin.

Notes :
1. In case the governor satisfies the condition for stability, the angle φ must increase with radius of rotation
of the governor balls. In other words, the equilibrium speed must increase with the increase of radius of
rotation of the governor balls.
2. For the governor to be more sensitive, the change in the value of φ over the change of radius of rotation
should be as small as possible.
3. For the isochronous governor, the controlling force curve is a straight line passing through the origin.
The angle φ will be constant for all values of the radius of rotation of the governor.

For the isochronous governor (F / r = const.) as it is having sensitivity = ∞. So from the definition of
sensitiveness that the change in the value of φ (i.e. F / r ) over the range of radius of rotation should be as
small as possible in order to provide the most sensitive governor. If the controlling force curve is a straight
line, which passes through the origin, the angle φ will be constant for all values of the radius and the
governor will be isochronous. From above,
Using this equation, we can calculate “ω” versus “φ” such as following to make the speed scale (ω or N).
Draw “φ” and that gives you the “ω” on RHS as a scale.

ω1 φ1
ω2 φ2
ω3 φ3
……. …..
ωN φN

Lines may be drawn radiating from origin. These lines are not tangents to the curve; in fact they are
intersecting the curve at different points.


These enable the equilibrium speed to be determined corresponding to a given radius of rotation. The
range of equilibrium speed can be obtained by marking minimum radius (rmin) and maximum radius (rmax)
on the curve and drawing a line from these points to origin to intersect speed scale which will give the
range of equilibrium speed i.e. ωmin and ωmax . The controlling force diagram for the spring controlled
governors is a straight line, as shown in figure below

Also we can determine controlling force (FC) which will control the centrifugal force on the ball of
mass (m). By analysis of forces for Porter governor, we have, [NOT CHECKED: CHECK: arms
pivoted on axis of rotation]

How to get the above expressions?(NOT CHECKED: CHECK: the case of arms pivoted on axis of
Refer to the FBD of the sleeve given to you from which you can get
Refer to the FBD of the ball given to you for which you can get the force vector diagram as below:-

Using Lami’s theorem, we get

= =
( − ) ( − ) ( + )

Using the above two expressions, we get,
= ( + ), without friction

= ( + ), with friction

As Controlling force (FC) is numerically equal to centrifugal force (F) and 180o out of phase, controlling
forces are:-
= ( + ), without friction

= ( + ), with friction