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Volume 114


Use of Carter's coefficient with narrow teeth

S. Neville, B.Sc.(Eng.), D.I.C., C.Eng., F.I.E.E.

The paper shows that Carter's coefficient gives permeance values almost identical with the true ones for
narrow teeth, as established by Carter's later work, unless the tooth width is less than the radial air gap.
A small increase in the coefficient is given for tooth widths down to zero. Theflux-densitydistribution
obtained by the superposition of waveforms for successive slots as in isolation, is also seen to be
indistinguishable in all cases from the true waveforms for near slots, as recently established by Freeman.
It is shown that the harmonic content of the ripple is conveniently expressed by a wavelength spectrum.

The analysis of the magnetic field over an open slot,
given by Carter in 1901,1 and his famous coefficient a
expressing the loss of permeance as a fraction of s\g, were
based on the assumption that the slot considered was remote
from all others. In electrical machines, however, we have a
uniform succession of slots, separated by teeth of similar
width, and engineers have been uncertain about the possible
error involved in using Carter's coefficient in these practical
The reduction in flux density on the opposite face of the
gap obviously extends considerably beyond the width of the
slot itself, and a view that has been widely held suggests that,
if the intervening teeth are so narrow that the loss of density
due to a slot is still appreciable at the centreline of an adjacent
tooth, Carter's coefficient does not properly apply. It is said
that to use a then is to ignore the loss of flux occurring,
in Carter's analysis, at distances greater than the halftooth
width. This view has been supported in important mathematical expositions of the subject. Gibbs,2 for example, in
Fig. 104 of Reference 2, contrasts the curtailed flux distribution thus attributed to the use of a, with the true distribution
calculated (from elliptic functions) for the particular width of
tooth, which shows a distinctly greater loss of permeance.
But this view of the situation is not correct. Whenever
Carter's coefficient is used, allowance is inevitably being made
for all the loss of permeance occasioned by an isolated slot,
and when slots are near together this full loss of permeance
is still being attributed to each of them.
The use of a really assumes that (at least as to mean height)
the flux distribution over a succession of slots is that which is
obtained by superposing the distribution curves for all the
slots that are near enough to have any appreciable effect.
When this is done, the resultant curve agrees very closely
with the true distribution, for all slot widths and all practical
tooth widths. For example, if only the combined effects of
adjacent slots need to be considered, the loss of flux density
opposite the middle of a tooth, implied when a is used, is
twice the loss of density at this distance from an isolated slot;
and in Gibbs's Fig. 104 this will be seen to accord very well
with the true density at that point. Gibbs makes it quite
clear (his pages 213 and 214) that no differences could be
found in numerical comparisons of Carter's a with the

Paper 5345 P, first received 17th March and in revised form 18th
May 1967
Mr. Neville was formerly with Associated Electrical Industries Ltd.,
TrafTord Park, Manchester 17, England

PROC. IEE, Vol. 114, No. 9, SEPTEMBER 1967

64 P23,

permeance of the true field, although this is not consistent

with the diagram referred to.

Distribution over isolated slots

Fig. 1 gives accurate values for the distribution of flux

density (on the opposite side of the gap) for single isolated
slots of various widths, expressed in terms of Bo, the uniform
density which would occur in the absence of the slot, or at a
large distance from it.* For distances greater than one gap
width from the side of the slot, the curves are shown separately
to an enlarged scale. The centre of the slot is marked on each
curve, together with the minima for intermediate slot widths
to facilitate interpolation. Since Carter's coefficient expresses
the loss of permeance as a fraction of a\g, there is marked
against each curve the height of a rectangle, of width equal
to the slot, having an area equal to all the area above that
curve. The height of the rectangle is 1 a.
It will be noticed that for wide slots most of the loss of
density occurs over the width of the slot, but for narrow slots
by far the greater part occurs beyond the width of the slot
itself. For example, with s/g = 3, 90% of the loss occurs over
the slot and only 5% on each side of it; whereas, with
sjg = 0-3, only 23% of the loss occurs over the width of the
slot and 38-5% on each side of it. Bearing in mind that tooth
widths are in general comparable with slot widths, this
characteristic obviously profoundly affects the results of
superposing the effects of a sequence of slots.

Process of superposition
Fig. 2 shows diagrammatically the variety of results
that can thus occur in different circumstances. If either the
slot or the tooth is wide, as in Fig. 2a, the effect of each slot
may hardly reach the middle of the adjacent slots, and only
two curves have to be superposed to obtain thefluxdistribution (on the opposite face of the gap) implied in the application
of a to such a case. If both tooth and slot are narrow, as in
Fig, 2b, several curves (each as for an isolated slot) overlap.
The combination of such a series of curves, in any half slot
pitch, will be seen to amount to adding together the ordinates
of successive portions of one curve, each of length equal to
half a slot pitch, alternately reversed. The four such components in Fig. 2b are marked by full lines. Owing to the
reversals of slope, their resultant shows a much smaller
variation of density than would occur with wide teeth.
Calculation of these curves involves only logarithmic and trigonometric functions. The procedure is fully explained in Reference 2, pp. 103-116; it presents
no difficulty, but accurate numerical work is necessary to obtain satisfactory
curves. The author can provide quarto-sized copies of the illustrations on a very
fine grid, to enable close readings to be taken.

In Fig. 3 this process is applied numerically to the series of

slot widths given in Fig. 1, combined in each case with three
small widths of tooth, namely tig = 0-5, 0-3, and zero. For
t/g = 0, and s/g = 0-1,2, and 5, the successive stages of the
synthesis are shown by dotted lines. For s/g = 5, the dotted
curve marked 5' shows the distribution from the side of the
slot to its centre line, taken from Fig. 1. Added below this is
the distribution beyond the side of the slot, again from Fig. 1,
2 -X/9



curve. T h e dashed curves for t/g = 0 - 3 a n d 0-5 have been

constructed in the same way.

Comparison with true distribution

For comparison with these synthetised curves, the
true field distributions are shown as full lines. The analysis
of the field over near slots was given by Carter in his later







Fig. 1
Flux distribution opposite isolated slots

but here reversed. This component becomes negligible just

before the slot centre is reached (an instance of Fig. 2a),
giving the resultant shown by a dashed line. At s/g = 2, the
curves 2' and 2" are obtained in the same way, but a further
portion of the curve of Fig. 1 remains to be added to 2",
now in the original direction, and this component becomes
negligible at the tooth centreline (compare Fig. 26). For a
still narrower slot, sig = 0 7, the curves 0 7', 0 7" and 0 1'"
are obtained as before, but two further components remain
of significant magnitude, giving 0-7"" and the final dashed

comprehensive paper,3 and his results were subsequently

evaluated, with regard to mean value (or permeance), by
Coe and Taylor,4 and recently, with regard to harmonic
content, by Freeman.5 The calculation of these distributions
generally involves elliptic functions. The process then gives
the ordinates of a series of curves corresponding to two
arbitrary parameters; and to obtain curves for specified values
of sfg and t/g requires either graphical crossplotting or an
elaborate process of trial and error. Ordinates for the true
curves shown here have been specially computed by Freeman,
PROC. IEE, Vol. 114, No. 9, SEPTEMBER 1967

using a development of the program described in his recent

paper.5 For slots of infinite width, the distribution can be
calculated directly for specified values of tjg, although still
involving elliptic functions. This case has been investigated
by Davy,6 but, to obtain satisfactory results, more accurate

In the more hypothetical case of tig = 0, the difference in

Bm/B0, i.e. in the estimated value of gap permeance, is considerable, but even in this extreme case its numerical value
does not exceed 3% at slg = 1-4. This difference rapidly
diminishes for wider or narrower slots; so that if the permeance, as estimated from a, is reduced by a small allowance
related to the slot width, or even by an arbitrary 1 %, no
error of practical importance is likely to be made.


Increase of a for narrow teeth

The small differences in BmlB0 seen in Fig. 3 could,

of course, be completely represented by appropriate small
increases in a when dealing with very narrow teeth, to give
exactly the correct gap permeance. In Fig. 4 the well known
curve of a for isolated slots is plotted to a logarithmic base
of s/g covering the whole range of practice. Just above it,
the curve marked a0 shows the slightly increased value of a
required to give the true permeance with teeth of zero width;
i.e. to bring the synthetised curves for t/g = 0 in Fig. 3 down
to the true curves.* The numerical increase is small, having
its maximum in the region of slg = 1-4-2, but the percentage increase at small values of slg is, of course, quite
appreciable. It is perhaps remarkable that the complete data
defining exactly the permeance of singly slotted air gaps, for
all ratios of s, t, and g, lie between these two curves.
Moreover, the greater part of even this small difference is
concerned with tooth widths smaller than occur in practical
design. In the sauie diagfam the values of(a0 a) are shown
separately to an enlarged scale, togethej with the smaller
increases of a required to yield exactly correct permeances
with tig 0 3 or 0-5, in accordance with the curves of
Fig. 3. For tig = 1, the correction can only just be shown
even on this scale. A dotted line shows approximately the
curve for tjg = 0 1, derived by interpolation.


Fig. 2
Synthesis of fields for a succession of slots
a tlg= \,slg = 2
b tig = h slg = i

numerical work is necessary than his paper would suggest.

The case of teeth of zero width (septa), with any finite slot
width, is readily calculated manually, involving only the
complete elliptic integrals. This case becomes simply algebraic
for infinite slot width.
It will be noticed at once that, for a tooth of only half the
width of the gap, there is little difference between the true
distribution and the synthetised curves which are obtained
by the use of a. Numerically, the difference hardly reaches
0-3% of BQ, showing that a overestimates the permeance in
such cases to only that extent. This difference occurs between
sfg = I -4 and 2, and diminishes for both wider and narrower
slots. It has been verified that, for teeth equal in width to
the gap, the differences are only one fifth of the above values.
For still narrower teeth the differences become a little
greater, but a conspicuous feature is that in all cases (including
even tig = 0) the range of variation of density on the opposite
face of the gap, as derived from the superposition of the fields
of isolated slots, is almost identical with the true value; and
the harmonic content of the two curves is for all practical
purposes identical. Only in the mean height is there any
appreciable difference between the two curves.
For tig = 0-3, a condition that may occur in some very
large generators, the difference in BmlB0 reaches a maximum
of 0-65% at s/g I - 4 - 2, diminishing for larger or smaller
slots. If, therefore, it may be assumed that in the class of
machine in which t/g may be as small as 0-3, the slot ratio
s/g would be similarly small, it is clear that the use of
Carter's coefficient in such cases would be unlikely to affect
practical calculations by more than a small fraction of I %.
PROC. IEE, Vol. 114, No. 9, SEPTEMBER 1967

Harmonic content
It will be seen in Fig. 3 that the shape of the synthetised
curves is even nearer to the truth than is the mean height.
If, therefore, the process were carried out for a wider range
of tooth widths, and the fundamental of each of the resulting
periodic waveforms were determined (as a fraction of Bo),
these values could be plotted to a base of s/g + t/g to form
a curve from which the fundamental for any given slot pitch
could be read off. (The chosen values of tig could even be
made negative, representing overlapping slots, and the curve
thus extended down to a theoretical zero pitch.)
Moreover it is obvious that, in such a curve, the ordinates
at one half (or one third) of any given slot pitch would
represent the fundamentals of waveforms obtained by superposing two (or three) of the waveforms for that slot pitch,
equally spaced by one half (or one third) of that pitch, and
this is simply twice the second harmonic (or three times the
third harmonic) of the original waveform. The one curve
would thus give the amplitudes (and signs) of all the
Fig. 5 gives a set of such curves covering all values of t/s
up to 3, and for a series of values of s/g up to 10, with indication of the end points of intermediate curves to facilitate
interpolation. The sign indicated is for cosine waves having
an origin at the middle of a slot. For an origin at the middle
of a tooth, as in Fig. 3, the sign of even terms is unchanged,
but that of odd terms is reversed. To take, for example,
the three cases of Fig. 3, for, say, s/g = 3, we have on that
curve in Fig. 5, at t/s = 0, 0 1 and 0 167, the fundamental
amplitudes 0 081, 0117, and 0139, which agree
well with Fig. 3. For the corresponding second harmonics
we have at t/s + 1 = 0-50, 0-55, and 0-583, on the same
curve, the values 0012, 0024, and 0031 (all positive), to
be divided by two.

Wavelength spectra

The curves of Fig. 5 are, in fact, the Fourier integrals

or 'wavelength spectra' of the flux-distribution curves for
isolated slots of various widths. Formally the spectrum is
* The true value of BmIBo, for teeth of zero width, or (I oo),
2(gjs)K'jK, to modulus k = tanh rcg/s

given by


obtained by multiplying ordinates of the original curve

(Fig. 1) by cos 6\n, where 0 = 0 to n corresponds with the
half slot width, and n takes a series of values representing
ratios of slot-pitch/slot-width; then integrating the alternate
positive and negative areas under the derived curve from
0 = 0 until they become inappreciable. The process involves
a very large amount of graphical work, which must be done
with high accuracy if consistent points on the spectrum are
to be obtained.
It was therefore thought that the process of synthesis
illustrated in Fig. 3, but performed by numerical tabulation,
1 0 0p

and subsequent direct analysis (for the first 6 harmonics) of

each case by a 48-ordinate method, would probably give
more reliable results. The curves of Fig. 5 were actually
obtained by this method, and it may be mentioned that all the
calculated points lie exactly on the smooth curves shown.
Finally it must be repeated that these spectra really represent
the results of synthesis from isolated slots, and are not directly
related to the true distribution over near slots. But the
exactly computed harmonics of the true fields presented by
Freeman have shown that over the whole range any difference is remarkably small.




0-85 \




0 65





Fig. 3

of synthetised

and true fields for tig = 0 , 0 3 , and 0 - 5

PROC. IEE, Vol. 114, No. 9, SEPTEMBER 1967











-~^0-1 opprox.








as 10





Fig. 4
Modification of a for very narrow teeth

Fig. 5
Wavelength spectra for s/g = 0- 7-10


1 CARTER, F. w.: 'Air-gap induction', Elect. World, NY, 1901, 38,

2 CIBBS, w. j . : 'Conformal transformations in electrical engineering'
(Chapman & Hall, 1958)
3 CARTER, F. w.: 'The magnetic field of the dynamo-electric machine'
J. IEE, 1926,64, pp. 1115-1138
4 COE, R. T., and TAYLOR, H. w.: 'Some problems in electrical machine
design involving elliptic functions', Phil. Mag., 1928, 6, pp. 100-145
5 FREEMAN, E.M.: 'Calculation of harmonics, due to slotting, in the
flux-density wave-form of a dynamo-electric machine', Proc. IEE,
1962, 109 C, pp. 581-588
6 DAVY, N.: T h e field between semi-infinite rectangular electrodes or
magnetic pole-pieces', Phil. Mag., 1944, 35, pp. 819-840
PROC. IEE, Vol. 114, No. 9, SEPTEMBER 1967

Note on the superposition of fields

The results attained in this paper might suggest the

erroneous conclusion that the method has more general
(a) Although the fields due to various distributions of
potential over the same boundaries are, of course, directly
additive, the superposition of fields appropriate to different
boundaries is never analytically valid. Without attempting

a formal proof of such a negative statement, the necessity

of it over a wide range of circumstances can be readily seen.
The field between boundaries containing more than two rightangle corners can be expressed only in terms of elliptic (or
even more complex) functions, whereas expression of the
fields between the corners individually requires only logarithmic or trigonometric functions. If such separate components
could be validly superposed, it would amount to expressing
the higher functions in terms of the more elementary.
(b) Even where this argument does not directly apply, such
superposition almost invariably gives results that bear no
useful resemblance to reality. The well known field over an
infinite plane surface, from one corner of a rectangular pole
parallel to it, provides a typical instance. If two such corners
are brought near together, with either the same or opposite
polarities, the sum or difference of their separate fields gives
a grossly inaccurate representation of the flux distribution
either over a deep slot or between N and S poles.
(c) Only in very few circumstances does such superposition
give results of useful numerical accuracy. Some explanation


of its success in the problem of the present paper may perhaps

be seen in the physics of the case. On the smooth face opposite
to an isolated slot, the great fall in flux density corresponding
to the sudden increase of gap width is offset by displacement
of flux from the air gaps over the adjoining teeth to the region
over the slot. Flux is drawn from a distance on either side
roughly equal to the width of the gap. If, therefore, slots are
separated by teeth of width comparable to the gap, it is
evident that the reduction of density over a tooth, by flux
spreading into a slot on each side of it, must be the sum of
what it would be for two isolated slots. When, however, the
teeth are distinctly narrower than the gap, the flux over each,
even at its maximum density, does not suffice to provide the
amount withdrawn into wide slots. The reduction of density
over the teeth must, therefore, be greater than would be
deduced from superposition, and the density over the slots
will at the same time be slightly curtailed. With very narrow
teeth this deficiency over the tooth is the conspicuous feature
(as at tig = 0 in Fig. 3), although even then the effect over
the slot remains very small.

PROC. IEE, Vol. 114, No. 9, SEPTEMBER 1967