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SLOTLESS SIX-PHASE BRUSHLESS DC MACHINE DESIGN AND STEPPING

VECTOR CONTROL

DISSERTATION

Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy
in the Graduate School of The Ohio State University

By

Yu Liu, B. S.

Graduate Program in Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Ohio State University

2015

Dissertation Committee:

Dr. Longya Xu, Advisor

Dr. Mahesh S. Illindala

Dr. Jiankang Wang


© Copyright by

Yu Liu

2015
ABSTRACT

Permanent magnet brushless DC (BLDC) machines have been widely used in electric

vehicles, servo systems and appliances due to their high efficiency and high torque

density. However, challenges still exist to develop high performance BLDC machines for

drive system, including machine design and machine control algorithms. This

dissertation focuses on developing 3 kW slotless six-phase BLDC machines with high

torque density and low torque ripple. Furthermore, two control techniques are proposed

in this dissertation for BLDC machine drives, including stepping vector control (SVC)

and sensorless control.

It requires a very small cogging torque, which is less than 2% of the rating torque, for

the BLDC machine in high-performance applications. The cogging torque in BLDC

machine design can be mitigated most effectively by using slotless stator core structure.

In order to achieve high torque density, a spoke type rotor is adopted in machine design

as it can provide the largest back EMF and most balanced flux density distribution with a

given magnet size. Compared to a three-phase BLDC machine, the advantage a of six-

phase BLDC machine is that a single inverter can split into two smaller power rating ones.

Although cogging torque has been mitigated in machine design, commutation torque

ripple still exists because of a mismatch between incoming and outgoing currents. To

address this issue, a novel control is proposed to combine the merits of sinusoidal current

ii
control and trapezoidal current control to improve BLDC machine performance. The

proposed control algorithm is called SVC because the vector angle changes step by step.

With the proposed algorithm, commutation torque ripple will be minimized by matched

incoming and outgoing currents. To further increase the BLDC machine’s performance, a

torque-enhanced method based on SVC is proposed. The optimal current angle in

enhanced torque control is referred to as the stator current angle that generates maximum

torque when amplitude of stator current vector does not change. The optimal current

angle control can provide 5.4% more torque than conventional control, as though with a

drawback of torque ripple. With further investigation, the torque ripple in optimal current

angle control can be minimized by vector amplitude compensation.

In order to reduce cost and enhance mechanical robustness, a variety of sensorless

control algorithms for BLDC machines have been proposed. However, most of them fail

at zero or low speed because of the undetectable back EMFs. To solve this problem, this

dissertation presents a sensorless control algorithm for BLDC machines based on rotor

saliency. A voltage pulse injection method is used for inductance measurement and the

peak inductance current is measured to improve rotor detection accuracy. For the speed

range from zero to an arbitrarily low speed, sensorless operations of the BLDC machine

can be achieved with the proposed algorithm.

A prototype machine has been built to verify the design of a 3 kW slotless six-phase

BLDC machine. Both computer simulations and experimental results are provided to

verify the feasibility and effectiveness of proposed machine control algorithms.

iii
DEDICATION

This document is dedicated to my parents and my wife.

iv
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

My deepest appreciation goes to my PhD advisor Professor Longya Xu for providing

me with academic guidance, funding support and encouragement during my graduate

study at The Ohio State University. His immense knowledge, profound experience,

patience, motivation, enthusiasm, and deep insight helped me to develop a creative and

critical engineering mind that I believe the most important thing in the research. I also

would like to thank my advisor for all the possible industry-related training opportunities

that I consider the bridge connecting researches to applications. His advice and personal

examples will accompany me in my future career.

I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Mahesh S. Illindala and Professor

Jiankang Wang for being committee members of my dissertation. They provided me with

numerous comments and suggestions on my research proposal and dissertation. My

special thanks go to Professor Vadim Utkin for his invaluable advice in my Candidacy

Exam and Professor Jin Wang for his insightful comments in my Qualifying Exam.

My thanks are extended to my fellow group members. I would like to thank my

senior fellow students Dr. Yuan Zhang, Dr. Thomas Tsai, Dr. Zhendong Zhang and Dr.

Ernesto Inoa for their help with my course work and research, numerous hands-on

instructions and useful discussions on research work. I also want to thank my junior

group members Dakai Hu, Haiwei Cai, Feng Qi, Miao Wang, Yazan Alsmadi, Qi Chen,

Ying Xiao and Han Yang for their friendship and enlightening discussions. I also want to

v
thank visiting scholars Professor Fei Lin, Professor Jinhua Du, Dr. Le Gao, Dr. Xikai Sun,

Professor Hui Liang, Professor Mengjia Jin, Professor Xiaolin Wang and Professor

Hongyu Wang for their valuable advice and help.

I would like to thank my following colleagues majoring in electrical engineering: Ke

Zhou, Feng Guo, Cong Li, Mark Scott, Xiu Yao, Luís Herrera, Lixing Fu, Xuan Zhang,

Ernest Davidson and Daijiafan Mao for their friendship and camaraderie.

I am always indebted to all my family members, especially my parents and my wife,

for their tremendous patience and heartfelt forgiveness. I would like to thank my parents

Xuezhi Liu and Zhongping Yu for their unconditional love and I greatly appreciate the

sacrifices and understanding of my beloved wife, Meijie. Without the endless support

from my family, the completion of my study would not have been possible.

vi
VITA

Feb. 19th, 1985..............................................Born - Qiqihar, Heilongjiang, China.

Jun. 2008.........................................................B.S. Southeast University, Nanjing, China.

Sept. 2009 - Feb. 2015 .................................Graduate Research Associate, Department of

Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Ohio State University.

Feb. 2015 - present........................................Engineer, Fisker Automotive and

Technology Group, LLC.

FIELDS OF STUDY

Major Field: Electrical and Computer Engineering

vii
TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT ....................................................................................................................... ii

DEDICATION .................................................................................................................. iv

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................................................................................ v

VITA ................................................................................................................................. vii

FIELDS OF STUDY ....................................................................................................... vii

TABLE OF CONTENTS ............................................................................................... viii

LIST OF TABLES ........................................................................................................... xii

LIST OF FIGURES ....................................................................................................... xiii

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 1

1.1 Slotless BLDC Machine Design ............................................................................ 2

1.2 BLDC Machine Commutation Torque Ripple Minimization ................................. 2

1.3 BLDC Machine Sensorless Control ...................................................................... 4

viii
1.4 Chapter Organization ........................................................................................... 5

CHAPTER 2: DESIGN OF SLOTLESS SIX-PHASE BLDC MACHINE ................. 7

2.1 Electrical and Mechanical Requirement............................................................... 7

2.2 Stator Design ........................................................................................................ 8

2.3 Stator Winding Connection Design ..................................................................... 12

2.4 Rotor Design ....................................................................................................... 17

2.4.1 Surface-Mounted Type Rotor .......................................................................... 19

2.4.2 Inset Type Rotor .............................................................................................. 20

2.4.3 Single Barrier Type Rotor ............................................................................... 22

2.4.4 Interior Type Rotor .......................................................................................... 24

2.4.5 Spoke Type Rotor ............................................................................................ 26

2.4.6 Rotor Comparison Study ................................................................................. 28

2.5 Air Gap Design ................................................................................................... 36

2.6 Inductance Calculation and Measurement ......................................................... 48

2.7 Winding Resistance Calculation ......................................................................... 57

2.8 Winding Assembling ............................................................................................ 58

2.9 Prototype ............................................................................................................. 69

2.10 Configuration ...................................................................................................... 76

2.11 Summary ............................................................................................................. 77

CHAPTER 3: STEPPING VECTOR CONTROL ...................................................... 79

ix
3.1 Stepping Vector Control of BLDC Machine ........................................................ 79

3.2 Commutation Torque Ripple Minimization of BLDC Machine ........................... 85

3.2.1 BLDC Commutation Torque Ripple Analysis ................................................. 86

3.2.2 Commutation Torque Ripple Minimization Based on SVC ............................ 88

3.2.3 Simulation Verification .................................................................................... 90

3.2.4 Experimental Verification ................................................................................ 91

3.2.5 Ramping Region of SVC ................................................................................. 93

3.3 Enhanced Torque Control of BLDC Machine ..................................................... 95

3.3.1 Optimal Current in Enhanced Torque Control ................................................ 95

3.3.2 Simulation Verification .................................................................................... 98

3.4 Summary ............................................................................................................. 99

CHAPTER 4: SENSORLESS CONTROL OF BLDC MACHINE.......................... 101

4.1 Rotor Saliency Characteristics ......................................................................... 101

4.2 Sensorless Control of BLDC Machine from Zero to Low Speed ....................... 105

4.2.1 Principles of Initial Rotor Position Estimation Algorithm ............................ 107

4.2.2 Principles of Low Speed Sensorless Algorithm .............................................110

4.3 Simulation Verification.......................................................................................112

4.4 Experimental Verification ..................................................................................116

4.5 Summary ........................................................................................................... 121

CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE WORKS ....................................... 123

5.1 Conclusions ....................................................................................................... 123

x
5.2 Future Works ..................................................................................................... 124

REFERENCES .............................................................................................................. 126

xi
LIST OF TABLES

Table 2.1. Rating and Parameters of Slotless Six-Phase BLDC Machine .................... 8

Table 2.2. Distribution Factors of Different Order Harmonics in Six-Phase BLDC

Machine..................................................................................................................... 10

Table 2.3. Distribution Factors of Different Order Harmonics in Three-Phase BLDC

Machine..................................................................................................................... 10

Table 2.4. Effective Air Gap Comparison ..................................................................... 47

Table 3.1. Active Phase and Inactive Phase in Six Regions ......................................... 84

Table 3.2. Rating and Parameters of BLDC Machine ................................................. 92

Table 4.1. Initial Position Estimation Comparison Procedure ................................. 109

Table 4.2. Rotor Position and Injected Voltage ........................................................... 111

Table 4.3. Rating and Parameters of BLDC Machine ................................................116

xii
LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2.1. Slotless Stator Core and Stator Winding (1/8) .......................................... 12

Figure 2.2. Stator Winding Connection ........................................................................ 13

Figure 2.3. Half of a Single Coil ..................................................................................... 14

Figure 2.4. Connection between Two Half Coils .......................................................... 15

Figure 2.5. Phase A Winding .......................................................................................... 16

Figure 2.6. Five Types of Rotor for BLDC Machine .................................................... 18

Figure 2.7. Geometry of Surface-Mounted Type Rotor............................................... 19

Figure 2.8. Back EMF of Surface-Mounted Type Rotor ............................................. 20

Figure 2.9. Geometry of Inset Type Rotor .................................................................... 21

Figure 2.10. Back EMF of Inset Type Rotor ................................................................. 22

Figure 2.11. Geometry of Single Barrier Type Rotor .................................................. 23

Figure 2.12. Back EMF of Single Barrier Type Rotor ................................................. 24

Figure 2.13. Geometry of Interior Type Rotor ............................................................. 25

Figure 2.14. Back EMF of Interior Type Rotor ............................................................ 26

Figure 2.15. Geometry of Spoke Type Rotor ................................................................ 27

Figure 2.16. Back EMF of Spoke Type Rotor ............................................................... 28

Figure 2.17. Flux Density Contour of Single Barrier Type Rotor .............................. 29

Figure 2.18. Air-Gap Flux Density of Single Barrier Type Rotor ............................... 30

Figure 2.19. Flux Density Contour of Interior Type Rotor ......................................... 31

xiii
Figure 2.20. Air-Gap Flux Density of Interior Type Rotor ......................................... 32

Figure 2.21. Flux Density Contour of Spoke Type Rotor ............................................ 33

Figure 2.22. Air-Gap Flux Density of Spoke Type Rotor ............................................ 34

Figure 2.23. Torque of Spoke Type Rotor ..................................................................... 35

Figure 2.24. Excitation Current of Spoke Type Rotor ................................................. 36

Figure 2.25. Air Gap and Effective Air Gap ................................................................. 38

Figure 2.26. Slots and Teeth in Traditional BLDC Machine ....................................... 39

Figure 2.27. Geometry of Machine Design with Reduction in Effective Air Gap ..... 41

Figure 2.28. Back EMF of Machine Design with Reduction in Effective Air Gap .... 42

Figure 2.29. Flux Density Contour of Machine Design with Reduction in Effective

Air Gap ..................................................................................................................... 43

Figure 2.30. Air-Gap Flux Density of Machine Design with Reduction in Effective

Air Gap ..................................................................................................................... 44

Figure 2.31. Torque of Machine Design with Reduction in Effective Air Gap .......... 45

Figure 2.32. Excitation Current of Machine Design with Reduction in Effective Air

Gap ............................................................................................................................ 46

Figure 2.33. Flux Density vs Magnetic Field of Soft Magnetic Material ................... 50

Figure 2.34. Flux Density vs Magnetic Field of Permanent Magnet Material .......... 51

Figure 2.35. Phase Inductance vs Electrical Angle of Original Design ...................... 52

Figure 2.36. Phase Inductance vs Electrical Angle of Machine Design with

Reduction in Effective Air Gap ............................................................................... 53

Figure 2.37. Rotor Position with Maximum Phase A Inductance ............................... 54

Figure 2.38. Rotor Position with Minimum Phase A Inductance ............................... 55

xiv
Figure 2.39. Mutual Inductance between Phase A and Other Phases ........................ 56

Figure 2.40. Fixture and Tooling Overview .................................................................. 58

Figure 2.41. Winding Assembling Step 1 ...................................................................... 59

Figure 2.42. Winding Assembling Step 2 ...................................................................... 60

Figure 2.43. Winding Assembling Step 3 ...................................................................... 61

Figure 2.44. Winding Assembling Step 4 ...................................................................... 62

Figure 2.45. Winding Assembling Step 5 ...................................................................... 63

Figure 2.46. Winding Assembling Step 6 ...................................................................... 64

Figure 2.47. Winding Assembling Step 7 ...................................................................... 65

Figure 2.48. Winding Assembling Step 8 ...................................................................... 66

Figure 2.49. Winding Assembling Step 9 ...................................................................... 67

Figure 2.50. Winding Assembling Step 10 .................................................................... 68

Figure 2.51. Winding Assembling Step 11 ..................................................................... 69

Figure 2.52. First Generation Prototype of Slotless Six-Phase BLDC Machine ....... 70

Figure 2.53. Rotor Shaft of Prototype Machine ........................................................... 71

Figure 2.54. Single Conductor of Prototype Machine ................................................. 72

Figure 2.55. Conductor Connections of Prototype Machine ....................................... 73

Figure 2.56. Stator Windings of Prototype Machine ................................................... 74

Figure 2.57. Fixture and Tooling of Prototype Machine.............................................. 75

Figure 2.58. Three-Phase Configuration of Slotless Six-Phase BLDC Machine ....... 76

Figure 2.59. Back EMF in Three-Phase Configuration ............................................... 77

Figure 3.1. Current Back EMF and Torque in Sinusoidal Current Control ............. 81

Figure 3.2. Current, Back EMF and Torque in Trapezoidal Current Control.......... 82

xv
Figure 3.3. Current and Vector Angle Moving Pattern in Conventional Vector

Control (left) and SVC (right) ................................................................................ 83

Figure 3.4. Block Diagram of SVC for BLDC Machine Drive System ...................... 85

Figure 3.5. Equivalent Circuit of BLDC in Commutation Interval ........................... 86

Figure 3.6. Simulation Results of Commutation Torque Ripple................................. 88

Figure 3.7. Ideal Current for Commutation Torque Ripple Minimization ............... 89

Figure 3.8. Simulation Results of SVC .......................................................................... 91

Figure 3.9. Experimental Results of Current with Vector Angle Control in SVC .... 92

Figure 3.10. Experimental Results of Current with both Vector Angle and Vector

Amplitude Control in SVC ...................................................................................... 93

Figure 3.11. Vector Angle and Real Rotor Angle in SVC ............................................ 94

Figure 3.12. Optimal Current Angle Control ............................................................... 97

Figure 3.13. Optimal Current Angle Control with Vector Amplitude Compensation

.................................................................................................................................... 98

Figure 3.14. Simulation Results of Optimal Current Angle Control .......................... 99

Figure 4.1. Typical BLDC Machine FEM Model (1/4) .............................................. 103

Figure 4.2. Phase Inductance Variation ...................................................................... 104

Figure 4.3. Line Inductance Variation ........................................................................ 104

Figure 4.4. Characterizing Current Region ................................................................ 107

Figure 4.5. Typical BLDC Machine System................................................................ 108

Figure 4.6. Flowchart of the Low Speed Sensorless Algorithm .................................112

Figure 4.7. Inductance Measurement Currents in FEM simulation .........................113

Figure 4.8. North Pole Detection Currents in FEM simulation .................................113

xvi
Figure 4.9. Current Variation in Region 0 ...................................................................115

Figure 4.10. BLDC Machine Drive System .................................................................116

Figure 4.11. Inductance Measurement Currents in Experiment ...............................117

Figure 4.12. North Pole Detection Currents in Experiment ......................................118

Figure 4.13. Sensor-based and Sensorless Comparison..............................................119

Figure 4.14. Inductance Measurement Currents ....................................................... 120

Figure 4.15. Extremely Low Speed Operation ........................................................... 121

xvii
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

Over the past few decades, electrical machines have been a cornerstone of industry

development. Recently, electrical vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs)

have received much attention due to their high fuel efficiency and low emissions.

However, the electrical machines, the core components of the EV and HEV applications,

should be designed to meet higher standards, such as high torque density, high efficiency,

wide torque-speed capability and high reliability [1-4].

Currently, the interior permanent magnet (IPM) motor and cage induction motor (IM)

are the two most popular choices for EV/HEV traction motors. Due to the rare earth’s

strong magnetic field, this type of IPM motor is able to provide a high torque density,

wide speed-torque range, compact size and high efficiency, while a cage IM has no

external source for a magnetic field. To provide torque, an IM must rely upon its rotor

slip relative to the synchronous speed to generate a rotor current. Therefore, the torque

density of a cage IM is lower and larger than that of an IPM motor. Moreover, dual

mechanical port machines and switched reluctance machines are also proposed and

discussed for EV/HEV applications [5, 6]. Though often used as a variable-speed,

constant-frequency generator for wind power, the doubly-fed induction machine (DFIM)

is proposed as a potential candidate for EV/HEV applications, especially for its much

improved constant torque and constant power operations [7-11].

In order to increase electrical machines’ operation speeds, flux weakening controls

1
are required for IPM, IM and DFIM. When they are working at constant power region, a

negative magnetizing current is needed to demagnetize the permanent magnets in the

IPM flux weakening control. As a result, a reduced magnetizing current is necessary for

IM and DFIM flux weakening controls [12-16]. Current closed loop control is critical for

the implementation of machine control algorithms. In order to increase torque response

and system robustness, current closed loop controls, which depend upon a PI regulator,

can be designed using frequency response, genetic algorithm, poles placement, complex

vector, real-time gain tuning and internal model control method [17-21].

1.1 Slotless BLDC Machine Design

The BLDC machine in high-performance applications requires a very small cogging

torque which can not exceed 2% of the rating torque [22-23]. The cogging torque is

similar to reluctance torque, which is caused by the reluctance variation between

permanent magnets and slot or tooth. When a rotor permanent magnet is approaching or

leaving a slot, the co-energy in the air gap between stator and rotor will change, resulting

in cogging torque. Note that the cogging torque can be minimized by many approaches

[24-29], such as skewing the stator laminations or rotor magnets, varying slot width,

varying magnet width, shifting alternate pair of poles, and notching teeth. The cogging

torque in BLDC machine design can be mitigated most effectively by using slotless stator

core structure [30-35].

1.2 BLDC Machine Commutation Torque Ripple Minimization

2
BLDC and brushless AC (BLAC) machines are widely used in electric vehicles (EVs)

and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) applications due to their high power density, high

torque density and high efficiency. Different from BLAC machine with a sinusoidal back

EMF, the BLDC machine is provided with a trapezoidal back EMF. Compared to BLAC

machine, BLDC machine can achieve a higher torque density and a higher power density

for a given size [36]. However, BLDC machine has a significant drawback, which is

commutation torque ripple. Commutation torque ripple will cause oscillation and

resonance in mechanical components, bringing observable vibration and acoustic noise to

drive systems. The ripple is caused by the currents going through the freewheeling

diodes during commutation intervals, and many studies have been conducted to minimize

this torque ripple. In [37], a DC bus voltage control method is proposed, but an

additional DC bus voltage controller is required in the method, increasing overall system

cost. In [38] an algorithm based on current slopes control is proposed, in which the

current slopes of the incoming and outgoing phase currents can be controlled in the same

rate of change by adjusting PWM duty ratio. By delaying the turn-off timing instant of

the outgoing switch, an overlap switching algorithm is proposed in [39]. However, these

conventional methods show limited effectiveness in practical applications due to machine

parameter sensitivity and unsatisfactory performance over an entire speed range. An

algorithm based on SVC, which combines the merits of sinusoidal current control and

trapezoidal current control, is proposed to minimize commutation torque ripple.

The trapezoidal current control is a perfect fit for BLDC machine drive because both

high torque production and high efficiency [40, 41] can be achieved. The trapezoidal

current control is usually implemented by hysteresis control, PI control, fuzzy logic

3
control or feed forward control [42-45]. However, in most of the control algorithms

outgoing phase current is without control and its decay rate is only determined by DC bus

voltage and back EMF. The varying decay rate may cause a mismatch between outgoing

current and incoming current, resulting in a commutation torque ripple. In order to

achieve a trapezoidal current control with commutation torque ripple minimization, [46-

47] are proposed for BLDC motor drive. To further increase BLDC machine

performance, several torque-enhanced methods are proposed [48-52].

1.3 BLDC Machine Sensorless Control

BLDC machines have been widely used in electric vehicles, servo systems and

appliances due to their high efficiency and high torque density. In high performance

applications, the BLDC machine is driven by an inverter and it requires rotor position

information for current commutations. Usually a group of Hall position sensors provides

commutation signals. In order to reduce cost and enhance mechanical robustness, a

variety of sensorless control algorithms have been studied [53-57]. In three-phase BLDC

machine control algorithms, usually two of the three phases are conducted sequentially

and the other non-conducting phase is called silent phase. In order to obtain

commutation timings, the back EMF method detects the back EMF zero crossing of the

silent phase and triggers the commutations every 60 degrees [53]; while [54] integrals the

back EMF of the silent phase and compared with a threshold value. It should be pointed

out that these above mentioned methods, as well as other flux linkage based ones [55, 56]

and freewheeling diode conduction methods [57], fail to achieve commutation at zero or

low speed because of the undetectable back EMFs. To overcome the mentioned

4
drawbacks, a sensorless method based on speed-independent function is proposed in [58],

which can estimate commutation instants from near zero (2% of the rated speed) to high

speed. However, this method is only applicable to the surface-mounted permanent

magnet BLDC machines. A BLDC machine sensorless control algorithm based on

inductance variation is proposed in [59]. In this algorithm, a pulse train, including long

and short pulses, is injected into the conducting phases. The long pulses are used for

torque production and the short ones are for inductance measurement. However, a time

interval insertion between the long and the short pulses is required to ensure

measurement accuracy. During the time interval a negative torque is generated, leading

to a degraded torque performance. Other sensorless algorithms for permanent magnet

synchronous machine, including magnetic pole identifications, high frequency injection

and sliding-mode control, have been investigated in [60-64]. However, these methods

based on space vector control are preferred by sinusoidal current drive rather than

trapezoidal current BLDC drive. A sensorless control algorithm for BLDC motors based

on rotor saliency is proposed in [65].

1.4 Chapter Organization

Chapter 2 presents the design process of a 3 kW slotless six-phase BLDC machine,

including electrical and mechanical requirements, stator design, stator winding

connection design, rotor design and air gap design.

Chapter 3 presents a novel control algorithm for BLDC machine. The proposed

control algorithm combines the merits of sinusoidal current control and trapezoidal

current control to minimize commutation torque ripple of BLDC machine.

5
Chapter 4 presents a sensorless BLDC control algorithm based on rotor saliency. A

voltage pulse injection method is used for inductance measurement and the peak

inductance current is measured through the salient phase to increase accuracy. Zero

speed and arbitrary low speed sensorless operations can be achieved with the proposed

algorithm.

Chapter 5 summarizes the research conclusions in this dissertation and the potential

research topics in future works.

6
CHAPTER 2: DESIGN OF SLOTLESS SIX-PHASE BLDC
MACHINE

Design of a slotless six-phase BLDC machine will be studied in this chapter. At first,

a requirement of dimensions, torque, speed, and power is specified, and then stator core,

stator winding connection and rotor are designed sequentially. In the end, a 3 kW slotless

six-phase BLDC machine is designed and verified by finite element analysis (FEA).

The design procedure includes five aspects:

i. Electrical and Mechanical Requirement

ii. Stator Design

iii. Stator Winding Connection Design

iv. Rotor Design

v. Air Gap Design

2.1 Electrical and Mechanical Requirement

Based on the operation condition, both electrical and mechanical requirements should

meet the specific requirements which are shown in Table 2.1.

7
Table 2.1. Rating and Parameters of Slotless Six-Phase BLDC Machine

Machine Type BLDC


rating output power 3 kW
rating speed 4000 rpm
rating torque 7.2 Nm
rating DC bus voltage 280 V
stator outside diameter 120 mm
axial length 120 mm
phase number 6
pole number 8

In mechanical design, the size of the machine is determined by stator outside

diameter and axial length. In electrical design, DC bus voltage is the main limitation

factor of rating speed, and rating torque is proportional to phase current.

2.2 Stator Design

For the BLDC machine in high-performance applications requires a very small

cogging torque which cannot exceed 1% or 2% of the rating torque [22-23]. The cogging

torque is similar to reluctance torque, which is caused by the reluctance variation between

permanent magnets and slot or tooth. When rotor permanent magnet is approaching or

leaving a slot, the co-energy in the air gap between stator and rotor will change, resulting

the cogging torque. Note that the cogging torque can be minimized many ways [24-29],

such as skewing the stator laminations or rotor magnets, varying slot width, varying

magnet width, shifting alternate pair of poles, and notching teeth. The cogging torque in

BLDC machine design can be mitigated most effectively by using slotless stator core

structure [30-35].

8
A rectangular wire rather than a round wire is adopted in this design due to the

advantages in slot-fill factor, increasing the linkage flux and forming the winding

arrangement. Moreover, a slotless stator can possess a higher winding fill factor

compared to a slotted type because of the construction of the toothless stator core.

A distributed winding rather than a concentric winding is adopted in this design due

to better utilization of the winding space and higher magneto motive force. There are 192

virtual slots in this design and the winding distribution factor is calculated by the

following equation,

𝑞𝛾 4×7.5°
sin( ) sin( )
2
𝑘𝑑 = 2
𝛾 = 7.5 ° = 0.9893 (2.1)
𝑞 sin( ) 4 sin( )
2 2

where q is the number of slots per pole per phase, the product 𝑞𝛾 represents the total

width of the coil of a phase under one pole.

The distribution of the windings consequently affects the harmonic components of

the MMF and induced EMF. Therefore, the distribution factor for the harmonic of order n

can be derived from the fundamental distribution factor as


𝑞𝛾
sin(𝑛 )
𝑘𝑑𝑛 = 2
𝛾 (2.2)
𝑞 sin(𝑛 )
2

The distribution factors of different order harmonics are shown in Table 2.2.

9
Table 2.2. Distribution Factors of Different Order Harmonics in Six-Phase BLDC

Machine

Harmonic Order Distribution Factor


1 0.9893
3 0.9055
5 0.7498
7 0.5435
9 0.3149
11 0.0945
13 -0.0893

If this six-phase BLDC machine is configured as a three-phase BLDC machine, the

distribution factors of different order harmonics are shown in Table 2.3.

Table 2.3. Distribution Factors of Different Order Harmonics in Three-Phase BLDC

Machine

Harmonic Order Distribution Factor


1 0.9553
3 0.6387
5 0.1910
7 -0.1437
9 -0.2243
11 -0.0915
13 0.0860

The comparison between Table 2.2 and Table 2.3 shows that the fundamental

component increased by 3.6% in six-phase configuration. Besides, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th

order harmonics are increased. To achieve good trapezoidal back EMF, six-phase

configuration is adopted in this design.

10
Winding pitch factor is calculated by following equation,

𝜉 180°
𝑘𝑝 = sin (2) = sin ( )=1 (2.3)
2

where 𝜉 is coil pitch, a fractional pitch coil winding is usually adopted to reduce

harmonics in the induced EMF and reduce the length of the end turns. In BLDC machine

design, a full pitch coil winding is used to achieve trapezoidal back EMF.

Both stator and rotor can be skewed to minimize cogging torque or reduce certain

order harmonics. Skew factor is calculated by


𝜃
sin( 𝑠𝑘 )
𝑘𝑠𝑘 = 𝜃𝑠𝑘
2
=1 (2.4)
2

where 𝜃𝑠𝑘 is the skew angle.

In BLDC machine design, it is unnecessary to skew windings or permanent magnets

since a trapezoidal back EMF is preferred.

As a combined effect of winding distribution factor 𝑘𝑑 , winding pitch factor 𝑘𝑝 and

skew factor 𝑘𝑠𝑘 , the winding factor is given by

𝑘𝑤 = 𝑘𝑑𝑛 × 𝑘𝑝 × 𝑘𝑠𝑘 = 98.93% (2.5)

In this BLDC machine design, a high winding factor is obtained to achieve a better

utilization of induced back EMF. As a result, double-layer windings are used in the

design. The slotless stator core and stator winding designs are shown as Figure 2.1.

11
Slotless Stator Core

Stator Winding

Figure 2.1. Slotless Stator Core and Stator Winding (1/8)

To summarize, stator core structure, wire type, winding type, winding distribution

factor, winding pitch factor, skew factor and winding layer are designed sequentially.

2.3 Stator Winding Connection Design

A formed stator winding structure is used in the design. The stator winding

connection is shown as Figure 2.2.

12
A B C D E F

1 25 5 29 9 33 13 37 17 41 21 45

2 26 6 30 10 34 14 38 18 42 22 46

3 27 7 31 11 35 15 39 19 43 23 47

4 28 8 32 12 36 16 40 20 44 24 48

49 73 53 77 57 81 61 85 65 89 69 93

50 74 54 78 58 82 62 86 66 90 70 94

51 75 55 79 59 83 63 87 67 92 71 95

52 76 56 80 60 84 64 88 68 92 72 96

112
97 121 101 105 129 109 133 113 137 117 141
5

98 122 102 126 106 130 110 134 114 138 118 142

99 123 103 127 107 131 111 135 115 139 119 143

100 124 104 128 108 132 112 136 116 140 120 144

145 169 149 173 153 177 157 181 161 185 165 189

146 170 150 174 154 178 158 182 162 186 166 190

147 171 151 175 155 179 159 183 163 187 167 191

148 172 152 176 156 180 160 184 164 188 168 192

4 172 8 176 12 180 16 184 20 188 24 192

3 171 7 175 11 179 15 183 19 187 23 191

2 170 6 174 10 178 14 182 18 186 22 190

1 169 5 173 9 177 13 181 17 185 21 189

148 124 152 128 156 132 160 136 164 140 168 144

147 123 151 127 155 131 159 135 163 139 167 143

146 122 150 126 154 130 158 134 162 138 166 142

145 121 149 125 153 129 157 133 161 137 165 141

100 76 104 80 108 84 112 88 116 92 120 96

99 75 103 79 107 83 111 87 115 91 119 95

98 74 102 78 106 82 110 86 114 90 118 94

97 73 101 77 105 81 109 85 113 89 117 93

52 28 56 32 60 36 64 40 68 44 72 48

51 27 55 31 59 35 63 39 67 43 71 47

50 26 54 30 58 34 62 38 66 42 70 46

49 25 53 29 57 33 61 37 65 41 69 45

Down Up Down Up Down Up Down Up Down Up Down Up


Slot Slot Slot Slot Slot Slot Slot Slot Slot Slot Slot Slot

Figure 2.2. Stator Winding Connection

13
Half of a single coil is shown as Figure 2.3,

Figure 2.3. Half of a Single Coil

Two half coils are connected through a form-wound stator structure, as shown in

Figure 2.4.

14
Figure 2.4. Connection between Two Half Coils

15
Phase A winding is shown as Figure 2.5.

Figure 2.5. Phase A Winding

16
For easy assembling puposes, a formed stator winding structure has been utilized in

slotless six-phase BLDC machine design. Furthermore, the proposed formed stator

winding structure has a shorter end-winding than conventional winding structure.

2.4 Rotor Design

The designed stator core and stator winding provide a rectangular MMF distribution,

the fundamental of which is 27% higher than sinusoidal MMF distribution. There are

three principles in the rotor design of slotless six-phase BLDC machine. The top priority

is performance, referred to as high torque density. Secondly, a trapezoidal back EMF is

required because this is a BLDC type machine. The third principle is to reduce cost by

reducing the usage of permanent magnets.

There are five types of rotor for BLDC machine design and one of them will be

selected based on the three principles; the rotor geometry optimization will be studied

after that. The five types of rotor are surface-mounted, inset, single barrier, interior and

spoke, as shown in Figure 2.6.

17
Surface-mounted Inset

Single Barrier Interior

Spoke

Figure 2.6. Five Types of Rotor for BLDC Machine

18
In each type of rotor, geometry and back EMF will be examined by FEA. The

magnitude of back EMF can be considered as an indicator of torque density because

torque is proportional to back EMF when current remains constant. A trapezoidal shape

of back EMF is required for BLDC machine because the current is square shaped. The

permanent magnet area calculated from 2D geometry is used for cost evaluation.

All five rotor candidates are examined by FEA with the same stator. Only 1/8

geometry will be studied in FEA because it is an eight poles machine.

2.4.1 Surface-Mounted Type Rotor

The geometry of surface-mounted type rotor (1/8) is shown as Figure 2.7 and the

permanent magnet area is 157 mm^2.

Figure 2.7. Geometry of Surface-Mounted Type Rotor

19
Based on FEA results, the back EMF of surface-mounted type rotor at 4000 RPM is

shown as Figure 2.8, for shape evaluation purpose only Phase A and Phase C are plotted.

The shape of back EMF is not ideal trapezoidal due to the smooth transition at the

commutation interval.

Figure 2.8. Back EMF of Surface-Mounted Type Rotor

2.4.2 Inset Type Rotor

The geometry of inset type rotor (1/8) is shown as Figure 2.9 and the permanent

magnet area is 157 mm^2.

20
Figure 2.9. Geometry of Inset Type Rotor

Based on FEA results, the back EMF of inset type rotor at 4000 RPM is shown as

Figure 2.10, for shape evaluation purpose only Phase A and Phase C are plotted. The

shape of back EMF is not ideal trapezoidal due to the smooth transition at commutation

interval.

21
Figure 2.10. Back EMF of Inset Type Rotor

2.4.3 Single Barrier Type Rotor

The geometry of single barrier type rotor (1/8) is shown as Figure 2.11 and the

permanent magnet area is 135 mm^2.

22
Figure 2.11. Geometry of Single Barrier Type Rotor

Based on FEA results, the back EMF of single barrier type rotor at 4000 RPM is

shown as Figure 2.12, for shape evaluation purpose only Phase A and Phase C are plotted.

The shape of back EMF is trapezoidal.

23
Figure 2.12. Back EMF of Single Barrier Type Rotor

2.4.4 Interior Type Rotor

The geometry of interior type rotor (1/8) is shown as Figure 2.13 and the permanent

magnet area is 162 mm^2.

24
Figure 2.13. Geometry of Interior Type Rotor

Based on FEA results, the back EMF of single barrier type rotor at 4000 RPM is

shown as Figure 2.14; for shape evaluation purposes, only Phase A and Phase C are

plotted. The shape of back EMF is trapezoidal.

25
Figure 2.14. Back EMF of Interior Type Rotor

2.4.5 Spoke Type Rotor

The geometry of spoke type rotor (1/8) is shown as Figure 2.15 and the permanent

magnet area is 130 mm^2.

26
Figure 2.15. Geometry of Spoke Type Rotor

Based on FEA results, the back EMF of spoke type rotor at 4000 RPM is shown as

Figure 2.16; for shape evaluation purposes, only Phase A and Phase C are plotted. The

shape of back EMF is trapezoidal.

27
Figure 2.16. Back EMF of Spoke Type Rotor

2.4.6 Rotor Comparison Study

Compliant to trapezoidal shape, back EMF principle, single barrier, interior and

spoke type rotors are selected for further study because surface-mounted and inset type

rotor can only provide quasi trapezoidal shape back EMF.

The flux density contour and air-gap flux density of single barrier type rotor are

shown as figures 2.17 and 2.18 respectively.

28
Figure 2.17. Flux Density Contour of Single Barrier Type Rotor

29
Figure 2.18. Air-Gap Flux Density of Single Barrier Type Rotor

The flux density contour and air-gap flux density of interior type rotor are shown as

figures 2.19 and 2.20, respectively.

30
Figure 2.19. Flux Density Contour of Interior Type Rotor

31
Figure 2.20. Air-Gap Flux Density of Interior Type Rotor

The flux density contour and air-gap flux density of spoke type rotor are shown as

figures 2.21 and 2.22, respectively.

32
Figure 2.21. Flux Density Contour of Spoke Type Rotor

33
Figure 2.22. Air-Gap Flux Density of Spoke Type Rotor

Through further comparison, spoke type rotor provides the largest back EMF and

most balanced flux density distribution for a given magnet size.

The torque of spoke type rotor and excitation current are shown as figures 2.23 and

2.24, respectively.

34
Figure 2.23. Torque of Spoke Type Rotor

35
Figure 2.24. Excitation Current of Spoke Type Rotor

As a conclusion, the best candidate is spoke-type interior-magnet rotor that developed

to increase the air-gap flux density by the flux-concentration principle. The spoke-type

interior-magnet rotor was used as an aircraft generator and in servo-motors by Fanuc and

by Pacific Scientific.

2.5 Air Gap Design

Based on the FEA results from above sections, rotor core structure and magnet

dimension decide back EMF shape and torque capability. However, air-gap flux density

is the determinant of back EMF shape and torque capability based on further study,

36
therefore, air gap will be studied in this section.

The difference between air gap and effective air gap are shown as Figure 2.25.

37
Effective Air Gap

Air Gap

Figure 2.25. Air Gap and Effective Air Gap

38
It can be seen that air gap is the physical gap that is much smaller than the effective

air gap. In the traditional BLDC machines, stator core has slots and teeth, shown as

Figure 2.26.

Tooth

Slot

Figure 2.26. Slots and Teeth in Traditional BLDC Machine

The flux density in the teeth are high, while in the slots are low, resulting in the

reduction of average air flux density. The effective air gap is calculated based on the

Carter coefficient,

𝑙𝑒 = 𝐶𝑙𝑔 (2.6)

where 𝐶 is Carter coefficient, 𝑙𝑒 and 𝑙𝑔 are effective air gap and air gap, respectively.

The Carter coefficient is determined by

39
𝑠 𝑊 +𝑊
𝑡 1
𝐶 = 𝑊 (1−𝜎)+𝑊 = 𝑊𝑠 (2.7)
𝑠 𝑡 1−𝜎
𝑊𝑠 +𝑊𝑡

where 𝑊𝑠 and 𝑊𝑡 are slot width and tooth width respectively, 𝜎 is given by

2
2 𝑊 𝑙𝑔 𝑊
𝜎 = 𝜋 {tan−1 2𝑙𝑠 − 𝑊 ln [1 + (2𝑙𝑠 ) ]} (2.8)
𝑔 𝑠 𝑔

Usually in practical design, the optimal ratio between slot width and tooth width is

one. Therefore, the minimum Carter coefficient can be obtained when 𝜎 is maximized.

The saturation value of 𝜎 can be found close to 0.9 by increasing the ratio between slot

width and air gap.

In slotless machine, slot width is zero and the Carter coefficient is one. However, the

effective air gap is not equal to air gap because the permeability of winding can be

considered as air. As a result, the effective air gap of slotless machine is given by

𝑙𝑒 = 𝑙𝑔 + 𝑊𝑤 (2.9)

where 𝑊𝑤 is winding width.

Since air gap flux density is inversely proportional to effective air gap, a smaller

effective air gap can provide larger back EMF. In other words, it requires less permanent

magnets to obtain the same back EMF. There are several limitations when trying reduce

effective air gap. The air gap reduction is mainly limited by bearing tolerance and

precision, machine manufacturing and installation. The winding width reduction needs to

take into account winding current density, winding heat dissipation and winding

insulation.

With a reduction in effective air gap, with regard to conductor width, conductor

length and insulation, a slotless six-phase BLDC machine is shown in Figure 2.27,

40
Figure 2.27. Geometry of Machine Design with Reduction in Effective Air Gap

Based on FEA results, the back EMF of machine design with reduction in effective

air gap at 4000 RPM is shown as Figure 2.28; for shape evaluation purposes only, Phase

A and Phase C are plotted. The shape of back EMF is trapezoidal.

41
Figure 2.28. Back EMF of Machine Design with Reduction in Effective Air Gap

The flux density contour and air-gap flux density of machine design with reduction in

effective air gap are shown as figures 2.29 and 2.30 respectively.

42
Figure 2.29. Flux Density Contour of Machine Design with Reduction in Effective Air

Gap

43
Figure 2.30. Air-Gap Flux Density of Machine Design with Reduction in Effective Air

Gap

The torque of machine design with reduction in effective air gap and excitation

current are shown as figures 2.31 and 2.32, respectively.

44
Figure 2.31. Torque of Machine Design with Reduction in Effective Air Gap

45
Figure 2.32. Excitation Current of Machine Design with Reduction in Effective Air Gap

The FEA simulation results showed that the machine design with reduction in

effective air gap can achieve the same torque capability, but permanent magnet usage is

dramatically reduced, as shown in Table 2.4.

46
Table 2.4. Effective Air Gap Comparison

Item Normal Effective Air Gap Reduction Unit


Stator core OD 120 120 mm
Stator core ID 105 104.5 (decrease) mm
Rotor core OD 100 101.4 (increase) mm
Axial length 120 120 mm
Air Gap 0.3 0.3 mm
Effective Air Gap 2.5 1.55 (decrease by 38%) mm
Insulation thickness 0.2 0.11 (decrease) mm
Conductor number 384 576 (increase) conductor
Conductor width 0.8 0.46 (decrease) mm
Conductor length 1.45 0.93 (decrease) mm
Conductor area 1.16 0.43 (decrease) mm^2
Conductor current 7.5 4.6 (decrease) A
Conductor current density 6.5 10.7 (increase by 65%) A/( mm^2)
PM width 1 6 3.6 (decrease) mm
PM width 2 9 5.4 (decrease) mm
PM length 17.5 17.2 (decrease) mm
PM area 131 77.4 (decrease) mm^2
PM residual magnetism 1.2 1.2 T
PM coercive force 910 910 KA/m
Stator core volume 318 327 (increase by 3%) cm^3
Rotor core volume 272 302 (increase by 11%) cm^3
Conductor volume 53 30 (decrease by 43%) cm^3
PM volume 125 74 (decrease by 41%) cm^3

From the comparison results, machine design with reduction in effective air gap has

the same air gap, but effective air gap is decreased by 38% because of the smaller

conductor and thinner insulation. The smaller conductor will cause an increase in

conductor current density and the thinner insulation will require a low manufacture

tolerance. As a result, the 65% increase in conductor current density will cause efficiency

drop and bring heat dissipation problems.

In addition, machine design with reduction in effective air gap has the same outside

47
dimensions, with a smaller stator core inner diameter and a larger rotor core outer

diameter. These two changes allow allocating more inductors and generating more torque.

The cost of machine design with reduction in effective air gap will be reduced

because that the PM volume can be decreased by 41% while maintaining the same torque

capability, though stator core volume and rotor core are increased by 3% and 11%

respectively.

In summary, the original design is optimized to achieve a higher efficiency while

machine design with reduction in effective air gap is optimized to use less PM material.

The original design is selected for prototype production because of the high

efficiency and relative ease to manufacture. The machine design with reduction in

effective air gap has advantages in cost and weight and will be manufactured in the next

generation.

2.6 Inductance Calculation and Measurement

From the comparison results above, the air gap flux density of the original design is

slightly higher, but the machine design with reduction in effective air gap has a much

larger back EMF. The root cause is the inductance. In this section, the inductance of six-

phase BLDC machine will be studied by different calculation methods and then

inductance will be measured based on FEA simulations.

In electrical machine design, when it refers to inductance calculation, flux linkage is

always required. Therefore, at the beginning, the flux linkage definition will be

introduced as,

𝜓 = 𝐿𝑖 (2.10)

48
where 𝐿 is inductance, 𝑖 is current going through the inductor. Based on Faraday’s law,

𝜕𝜓
𝑣= (2.11)
𝜕𝑡

flux linkage can also be expressed as the time integration of voltage, then combine the

two equations above,

𝜕𝑖 𝜕𝐿
𝑣 = 𝐿 𝜕𝑡 + 𝑖 𝜕𝑡 (2.12)

the first part in equation 2.12 is overwhelming because the rate of change of inductance

with respect to time is much slower than that of the current. Assuming 𝐿 is constant,

then

𝜕𝑖
𝑣 = 𝐿 𝜕𝑡 (2.13)

thus, inductance can be calculated by the terminal voltage and current.

There is another way to define flux linkage, which is

𝜓 = 𝑁𝜙 (2.14)

where 𝑁 is number of turns, 𝜙 is flux, substitute equation 2.14 into 2.10,

𝑁𝜙
𝐿= (2.15)
𝑖

the flux can be written as

𝜙 = 𝐹𝑃 (2.16)

where 𝐹 is MMF and 𝑃 is permeance, then inductance can be expressed as

𝐿 = 𝑁2𝑃 (2.17)

From equation 2.17, inductance is proportional to square of number of turns. Hence,

the inductance will be increased significantly by adding number of turns. For example,

the original design has 8 turns while machine design with reduction in effective air has 12

turns. The turns ratio is 2 to 3 and the inductance ratio will be 4 to 9 if permeance is not

49
affected. Theoretically, the back EMF ratio will be 2 to 3 if air gap flux density of both

cases are the same. However, form FEA simulation results, figures 2.16 and 2.28 show

that the back EMF ratio is 2 to 3.2, of which the differences are caused by air gap flux

density. As a result, in order to achieve the same torque capability, 37.5% current can be

reduced for machine design with reduction in effective air.

From equation 2.17, inductance is not only affected by turns ratio but also by

permeance. Magnetic permeability is used to measure the ability of a martial to support

the formation of a magnetic field within itself. Magnetic permeability is defined as,
𝐵
𝜇=𝐻 (2.14)

where 𝐵 is magnetic flux density and 𝐻 is magnetic field, also referred to as magnetic

field strength. For example, stator core and rotor core are soft magnetic material, of

which the magnetic permeability can be calculated based on Figure 2.33.

Figure 2.33. Flux Density vs Magnetic Field of Soft Magnetic Material

50
Magnetic permeability of permanent magnet can be calculated based on Figure 2.34.

Figure 2.34. Flux Density vs Magnetic Field of Permanent Magnet Material

The relative permeability of air and copper is one. Since the spoke type rotor has

salience, the inductance will change periodically according to the position. The

inductance of the original design is shown as Figure 2.35.

51
Figure 2.35. Phase Inductance vs Electrical Angle of Original Design

The inductance of machine design with reduction in effective air gap is shown as Figure

2.36.

52
Figure 2.36. Phase Inductance vs Electrical Angle of Machine Design with Reduction in

Effective Air Gap

Form FEA simulation results Figure 2.35 and 2.36 show that the phase inductance

ratio is 1 to 3.7 because of the turns ratio and permeance. The permeance of original

design is lower than that of machine design with reduction in effective air gap due to the

less effective air gap and thinner permanent magnets.

From Figure 2.35, the phase inductance changes periodically as rotor moves. The

maximum phase A inductance is around 0.197 mH, where rotor position is shown as

Figure 2.37, and minimum phase A inductance is 0.125 mH, where rotor position is

shown as Figure 2.38.

53
Figure 2.37. Rotor Position with Maximum Phase A Inductance

54
Figure 2.38. Rotor Position with Minimum Phase A Inductance

55
In Figure 2.37, most of the flux line does not cross the permanent magnets, resulting

in a high permeance for phase A. On the contrary, in Figure 2.38, most of the flux line

crosses the permanent magnets, resulting in a low permeance.

In original design, mutual inductance between phase A and other phases are shown as

Figure 2.39.

Figure 2.39. Mutual Inductance between Phase A and Other Phases

From Figure 2.39, mutual inductance AB, AD, AE and AF are negative signs because of

the opposite coil direction. Mutual inductance AF is close to zero due to its unique

position, where the number of clockwise flux lines is very close to that of anti-clockwise

56
flux lines.

In this section, the calculation method of inductance has been derived. The influence

of turns number and permeance has been analyzed. Furthermore, phase inductance and

mutual inductance have been measured through the FEA simulations method.

2.7 Winding Resistance Calculation

As the main reason of copper losses, stator winding resistance needs to be designed

appropriately. The resistance calculation of round wire is given as,

4𝜌𝜚𝑛𝑠 𝑙ℎ
𝑅= (2.15)
𝜋𝑛𝑝 𝑑2

where 𝜌 is resistivity, 𝜚 is number of slots per phase, 𝑛𝑠 is number of wires per slot, 𝑙ℎ is

half length of one single coil, 𝑛𝑝 is number of parallel wires per strand, 𝑑 is diameter of

wire. In slotless six-phase BLDC machine design, rectangular wire is adopted. Thus, the

resistance calculation can be rewritten as,

𝜌𝜚𝑛𝑠 𝑙ℎ
𝑅=𝑛 (2.16)
𝑝 𝑙𝑤 𝑤𝑤

where 𝑙𝑤 is wire length and 𝑤𝑤 is wire width. Particular to this design, 𝜚 is 64 while 𝑛𝑠

and 𝑛𝑝 are both one. The resistance of one phase winding can be calculated as

(1.67×10−8 )×64×1×(162×10−3 )
𝑅= = 0.15 𝛺 (2.17)
1×(0.8×10−3 )×(1.45×10−3 )

Usually, there is some error between real winding resistance and calculated due to end-

winding connections. Winding resistance can be reduced by several methods, such as

parallel wires under different poles, or simply increase the wire cross section. However,

these methods will reduce winding inductance. Therefore, winding resistance cannot be

designed independently; inductance and back EMF should also be considered.

57
2.8 Winding Assembling

The slotless six-phase BLDC machine has two layers of windings and each layer has

192 conductors. Conventional fixture and tooling are no longer suitable for this type of

machine. Therefore, an innovative assembling process is proposed. The fixture and

tooling include six types of parts as shown in Figure 2.40.

A4: OD 98.4 mm
B
A3: OD 100.6 mm

C A2: OD 102.8 mm

A1: OD 105.0 mm
same as stator ID

Stator Core
1/8 machine model

Figure 2.40. Fixture and Tooling Overview

In Figure 2.40, part A1, A2, A3 and A4 are slots with different outer diameters. Part

B is key and part C is hollow cylinder with multiple slots. Note that outer diameter of

58
part A1 is the same as stator inner diameter. There are eleven steps in the assembling

process.

Step 1: As shown in Figure 2.41, in order to make stator and part C concentric, part

A1s are used to fill the space between stator and part C.

A1: OD 105.0 mm
same as stator ID

1/8 machine model

Figure 2.41. Winding Assembling Step 1

Step 2: As shown in Figure 2.42, one of part A1 has been removed, still stator and

part C are concentric.

59
A1: OD 105.0 mm
same as stator ID

1/8 machine model

Figure 2.42. Winding Assembling Step 2

Step 3: As shown in Figure 2.43, put one part A3 in the empty place and use part B to

fix A3.

60
Figure 2.43. Winding Assembling Step 3

Step 4: As shown in Figure 2.44, place the first layer winding, including four

conductors, in the space between part A3 and stator. Note that the conductors are

downward. Then potting material is injected into the gaps between the conductors.

61
Figure 2.44. Winding Assembling Step 4

Step 5: As shown in Figure 2.45, replace part A3 with part A2. Part A2 will extrude

conductors and potting material, removing excess potting material.

62
Figure 2.45. Winding Assembling Step 5

Step 6: As shown in Figure 2.46, repeat steps 2, 3, 4 and 5 to install first layer

winding.

63
Figure 2.46. Winding Assembling Step 6

Step 7: As shown in Figure 2.47, replace one part A2 with part A4 and use part B to

fix part A4

64
Figure 2.47. Winding Assembling Step 7

Step 8: As shown in Figure 2.48, place the second layer winding including four

conductors in the space between part A4 and first layer winding. Note that the

conductors are downward. Then potting material is injected into the gaps between the

conductors.

65
Figure 2.48. Winding Assembling Step 8

Step 9: As shown in Figure 2.49, replace part A4 with part A3. Part A3 will extrude

conductors and potting material, removing excess potting material.

66
Figure 2.49. Winding Assembling Step 9

Step 10: As shown in Figure 2.50, repeat steps 7, 8 and 9 to install second layer

winding.

67
Figure 2.50. Winding Assembling Step 10

Step 11: As shown in Figure 2.51, remove part C and parts A2. Then, a uniform air

gap is obtained. At the meantime, both first layer and second layer windings are

concentric.

68
Figure 2.51. Winding Assembling Step 11

2.9 Prototype

In the previous sections, stator core, stator winding, rotor core and permanent

magnets have been designed and verified by FEA simulations, also the manufacture

fixture and tooling were proposed. The first generation prototype of slotless six-phase

BLDC machine is shown in Figure 2.52.

69
Stator Core
Nonmagnetic Materials

Permanent Magnet (not installed) Rotor Core

Figure 2.52. First Generation Prototype of Slotless Six-Phase BLDC Machine

From Figure 2.52, the rotor core is different from the original design because of the

mechanical concern. Note that the permanent magnets have not been installed on the

rotor. Both stator core and rotor core are made with lamination stacks. In the center of

rotor core, there is a rotor shaft as shown in Figure 2.53.

70
Figure 2.53. Rotor Shaft of Prototype Machine

From Figure 2.53, rotor shaft is designed to support rating torque. In addition, a

resolver will be mounted on the rotor shaft for rotor position measurement. Stator

windings are made with 384 conductors, single conductor is shown as Figure 2.54.

71
Conductors (total 384)

Figure 2.54. Single Conductor of Prototype Machine

Two conductors are soldered together to form a coil; the conductor connections are

shown as Figure 2.55.

72
Figure 2.55. Conductor Connections of Prototype Machine

73
One phase winding has 32 coils in a series connection. The whole stator windings are

shown in Figure 2.56.

Figure 2.56. Stator Windings of Prototype Machine

74
At last, fixture and tooling for manufacture are shown as Figure 2.57.

Figure 2.57. Fixture and Tooling of Prototype Machine

75
2.10 Configuration

The slotless six-phase BLDC machine can be called a multiphase machine, because

the number of phases is twice that of a three-phase machine. The advantage of this

multiphase machine is that a single inverter can split into smaller inverters. On the other

hand, the slotless six-phase BLDC machine can be configured as a three-phase BLDC

machine as shown in Figure 2.58.

Figure 2.58. Three-Phase Configuration of Slotless Six-Phase BLDC Machine

76
Based on FEA results, the back EMF in three-phase configuration at 4000 RPM is shown

as Figure 2.59.

Figure 2.59. Back EMF in Three-Phase Configuration

The shape of back EMF is not quite trapezoidal. Compare Figure 2.59 with 2.16, the

magnitude of back EMF doubled, but the flat region decreased, making an obvious gap

between two flat back EMF regions.

2.11 Summary

In this chapter, a 3kW slotless six-phase BLDC machine has been designed. The

77
stator core, stator winding connection, rotor core and air gap are optimized by three

principles. The first principle is performance, referring to high torque density. The

second one is trapezoidal back EMF. The third one is to reduce cost by reducing the

usage of permanent magnets. After geometry design and FEA validation, the inductance

and resistance of stator winding is calculated. In the meantime, a winding assembling

method is proposed and a prototype machine has been built. At last, the advantage of six-

phase BLDC machine is that a single inverter can split into two smaller power rating

inverters.

78
CHAPTER 3: STEPPING VECTOR CONTROL

In this chapter, a novel control algorithm for slotless six-phase BLDC machine is

proposed. The proposed control algorithm combines the merits of sinusoidal current

control and trapezoidal current control to improve slotless six-phase BLDC machine

performance. The proposed control algorithm is called SVC because the vector angle

changes step by step. With the proposed algorithm, commutation torque ripple will be

minimized by matched incoming and outgoing currents. Furthermore, a torque-enhanced

method based on SVC is proposed.

Essentially, slotless six-phase BLDC machine will be controlled as two slotless three-

phase BLDC machines. Phases A, C and E are grouped as one slotless three-phase

BLDC machine and phase B, D and F are grouped as another one. The control algorithm

in these machines is identical, the only difference is phase delay. Therefore, SVC is

analyzed and derived based on three-phase BLDC machine at first. After that, a

commutation torque ripple minimization method based on SVC is proposed and verified.

Finally, an optimized SVC is proposed to increase torque output capability.

3.1 Stepping Vector Control of BLDC Machine

BLDC and brushless AC (BLAC) machines are widely used in electric vehicle (EV)

and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) applications due to their high power density, high

79
torque density and high efficiency. Different from a BLAC machine with a sinusoidal

back EMF, the BLDC machine is provided with a trapezoidal back EMF. Compared to a

BLAC machine, a BLDC machine can achieve a higher torque density and a higher

power density for a given size [36]. However, a BLDC machine has a significant

drawback, which is commutation torque ripple. Commutation torque ripple will cause

oscillation and resonance in mechanical components, bringing observable vibration and

acoustic noise to drive systems. The ripple is caused by the currents going through the

freewheeling diodes during commutation intervals, and many studies have been

conducted to minimize this torque ripple. In [37], a DC bus voltage control method is

proposed, but an additional DC bus voltage controller is required in the method,

increasing overall system cost. In [38] an algorithm based on current slopes control is

proposed, in which the current slopes of the incoming and outgoing phase currents can be

controlled in the same rate of change by adjusting PWM duty ratio. By delaying the turn-

off timing instant of the outgoing switch, an overlap switching algorithm is proposed in

[39]. However, these conventional methods show limited effectiveness in practical

applications due to machine parameter sensitivity and unsatisfactory performance over an

entire speed range. An algorithm based on SVC, which combines the merits of sinusoidal

current control and trapezoidal current control, is proposed to minimize commutation

torque ripple in this chapter.

Sinusoidal current control can be applied to BLDC machine drive but the

performance will be degraded because of the large torque ripple. The torque ripple is

caused by non sinusoidal back EMF. The sinusoidal current control is usually

implemented by space vector control. The current, back EMF and torque waveforms are

80
shown in Figure 3.1.

I_A I_B I_C BackEMF_A

6
4
2
0
-2
-4
-6

Torque

1.5
1.45
1.4
1.35
1.3
1.25
0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25
Time (s)

Figure 3.1. Current Back EMF and Torque in Sinusoidal Current Control

The trapezoidal current control is a perfect fit for BLDC machine drive because both

high torque production and high efficiency [40, 41] can be achieved. The trapezoidal

current control is usually implemented by hysteresis control, PI control, fuzzy logic

control or feed forward control [42-45]. However, in most of the control algorithms

81
outgoing phase current is without control and its decay rate is only determined by DC bus

voltage and back EMF. The varying decay rate may cause a mismatch between outgoing

current and incoming current, resulting in a commutation torque ripple. The current,

back EMF and torque waveforms are shown in Figure 3.2.

I_A I_B I_C BackEMF_A

6
4
2
0
-2
-4
-6

Torque

1.3
1.2
1.1
1
0.9

0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25


Time (s)

Figure 3.2. Current, Back EMF and Torque in Trapezoidal Current Control

In order to achieve a trapezoidal current control with commutation torque ripple

82
minimization, a novel vector control algorithm, the SVC, is proposed for BLDC machine

drive. Similar to conventional vector control, vector angle and vector amplitude are the

two control variables in SVC. The main difference lies in the vector angle’s moving

pattern. As the BLDC machine rotates, the vector angle moves continuously in

conventional vector control, while it moves step by step in SVC. Both moving patterns

are shown in Figure 3.3.

Conventional Vector Control Stepping Vector Control


Ia Ib Ic (A)

-5

vector_angle
(degree)

400

300

200

100

0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4


Time (s)

Figure 3.3. Current and Vector Angle Moving Pattern in Conventional Vector Control

(left) and SVC (right)

The vector angle move pattern has a direct effect on current shape. In Figure 3.3, the

continuous vector angle leads to a sinusoidal current and the stepping vector angle results

83
in a trapezoidal current with spikes. Note that in both cases, vector amplitude is kept

constant, when BLDC machine rotates.

In trapezoidal current control, 360 electric degrees are divided into six regions. Only

two phases are conducting (active) in each region, with the other being non-conducting

(inactive). The active phases and inactive phases for each region are listed in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1. Active Phase and Inactive Phase in Six Regions

Electrical Angle Region Active phase Inactive phase Vector Angle


0-60 1 A, C B 30
60-120 2 B, C A 90
120-180 3 B, A C 150
180-240 4 C, A B 210
240-300 5 C, B A 270
300-360 6 A, B C 330

Each of the regions can be represented as one corresponding vector angle. Therefore,

in SVC algorithm, the vector angle is maintained at 30 electric degrees when the rotor

moves in region 1, the resulting phase A current equals minus phase C current, the phase

B current is zero. When the rotor enters region 2, the vector angle will jump to 90

electric degrees in a given commutation interval and keep at 90 electric degrees for the

whole region 2, the resulting phase B current equals minus phase C current, the phase A

current is zero. The same procedure is used for other regions. In this way, the current is

controlled in a trapezoidal shape as expected. The implementation of the proposed SVC

algorithm is shown in the block diagram in Figure 3.4.

84
Figure 3.4. Block Diagram of SVC for BLDC Machine Drive System

In the controller block diagram, vector amplitude is decoupled into magnetizing and

torque components. By default, magnetizing current Id is set to zero in BLDC machine

drive. Then vector amplitude only depends on torque current Iq. Vector angle generation

is the core of SVC. The position feedback device Hall sensor can provide six

commutation signals to vector angle generation. The details of vector angle generation

will be discussed in the next section.

3.2 Commutation Torque Ripple Minimization of BLDC Machine

In this section, an original idea of SVC algorithm will be proposed for the BLDC

machine drive system, the commutation torque ripple is minimized in this algorithm by

matching the slopes of incoming and outgoing phase currents. After theoretical analysis

and calculation, computer simulations and experimental results will be provided to verify

the proposed SVC algorithm. At last, the length of the ramping region in SVC will be

discussed.

85
3.2.1 BLDC Commutation Torque Ripple Analysis

The commutation torque ripple is caused by the currents going through the

freewheeling diodes during commutation interval. For example, when the machine

commutates from region 1 to region 2, the conducting status of three-phase is shown in

Figure 3.5.

Incoming Current
A B C
Equivalent Circuit of
Three Phase BLDC Machine
R L EA
VA
R L EB
VDC VB VN
R L EC
VC

Outgoing Current

Figure 3.5. Equivalent Circuit of BLDC in Commutation Interval

The incoming current flows through the upper leg switch of phase B and the outgoing

current flows through the lower leg diode of phase A. Based on the conductions of

switches and diodes, phase voltage equations during commutation intervals can be

expressed as the following,

86
𝑑𝑖𝐴
𝑉𝐴 = 0 = 𝑅𝑖𝐴 + 𝐿 + 𝐸𝐴 + 𝑉𝑁 (3.1)
𝑑𝑡

𝑑𝑖𝐵
𝑉𝐵 = 𝑉𝐷𝐶 = 𝑅𝑖𝐵 + 𝐿 + 𝐸𝐵 + 𝑉𝑁 (3.2)
𝑑𝑡

𝑑𝑖𝐶
𝑉𝐶 = 0 = 𝑅𝑖𝐶 + 𝐿 + 𝐸𝐶 + 𝑉𝑁 (3.3)
𝑑𝑡

the summation of all the currents is given by

𝑖𝐴 + 𝑖𝐵 + 𝑖𝐶 = 0 (3.4)

Then the neutral point voltage can be calculated as


1
𝑉𝑛 = 3 (𝑉𝐷𝐶 − (𝐸𝐴 + 𝐸𝐵 + 𝐸𝐶 )) (3.5)

Assuming the resistance is very small that can be neglected, the slope of incoming phase

B current can be calculated as

𝑑𝑖𝐵 𝑉𝐷𝐶 −𝐸𝐵 −𝑉𝑁


= when switch is on
{𝑑𝑖𝑑𝑡𝐵 𝐿
−𝐸𝐵 −𝑉𝑁
(3.6)
= when switch is off
𝑑𝑡 𝐿

The slope of outgoing phase C current can be calculated as

𝑑𝑖𝐶 −𝐸𝐶 −𝑉𝑁


= (3.7)
𝑑𝑡 𝐿

When the slopes of incoming current and outgoing current do not match, it will produce a

commutation torque ripple. The simulation waveforms of the incoming current, outgoing

current and commutation torque ripple are shown in Figure 3.6.

87
Ia Ib Ic (A)

20

10 Outgoing Current Incoming Current


0

-10

-20

toque (Nm)

35 Commutation Torque Ripple


30

25

20

15
0.204 0.208 0.212
Time (s)

Figure 3.6. Simulation Results of Commutation Torque Ripple

3.2.2 Commutation Torque Ripple Minimization Based on SVC

In the conventional methods of commutation torque ripple reduction, duty ratio has

been controlled to equalize the two mismatched commutation time intervals. The

limitation of these methods is that only the incoming current is controllable, while the

outgoing current is not because it goes through a freewheeling diode.

In SVC, all three-phase currents are under the control of switching devices. The

incoming and outgoing currents can be manipulated to have matched slopes during the

88
commutation interval. The implementation is based on vector angle control and vector

angle is kept as 30 electric degrees when rotor is rotating in region 1 until Hall sensor

sends a commutation signal. The vector angle will change rapidly from 30 to 90 electric

degrees in a given commutation time and then maintain at 90 when rotor is at region 2.

During commutation interval, three-phase currents are all conducting. The outgoing

current is decreasing to zero while incoming current is increasing from zero, both of them

are with the same rate of change. Though the slopes are matched, spikes still existed in

the commutation interval as in Figure 3.3. In addition, the vector amplitude can be

adjusted during the commutation interval. In order to minimize commutation torque

ripple, vector amplitude will be compensated as a function of vector angle, which can be

written as
1
𝐴𝑣𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 = sin(60+(𝜃 (3.8)
𝑣𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 %60))

where 𝐴𝑣𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 and 𝜃𝑣𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 are vector amplitude and vector angle, respectively.

Ideal trapezoidal current waveforms during commutation interval are shown as Figure

3.7.

Figure 3.7. Ideal Current for Commutation Torque Ripple Minimization

89
Torque equation of BLDC machine is given by,
1
𝑇𝑒 = 𝜔 (𝐸𝐴 𝑖𝐴 + 𝐸𝐵 𝑖𝐵 + 𝐸𝐶 𝑖𝐶 ) (3.9)
𝑚

In region 1, for example, only phase A and phase C are conducting. The currents and

back EMFs of these two phases satisfy

𝑖𝐴 = −𝑖𝐶 (3.10)

𝐸𝐴 = −𝐸𝐶 (3.11)

Torque equation can be simplified as


1
𝑇𝑒 = 𝜔 (𝐸𝐶 𝑖𝐶 + 𝐸𝐶 𝑖𝐶 ) (3.12)
𝑚

During the commutation interval, all three phases are conducting. The currents and back

EMFs of these three phases satisfy

𝑖𝐴 + 𝑖𝐵 = −𝑖𝐶 (3.13)

𝐸𝐴 = 𝐸𝐵 = −𝐸𝐶 (3.14)

Torque equation can be simplified as


1
𝑇𝑒 = 𝜔 (𝐸𝐶 𝑖𝐶 + 𝐸𝐶 𝑖𝐶 ) (3.15)
𝑚

Based equations 3.12 and 3.15, the torque will not change during commutation interval in

the proposed SVC algorithm.

3.2.3 Simulation Verification

A computer model of the BLDC system with proposed SVC algorithm, as shown in

Figure 3.4, has been developed in PSIM simulator. The simulation results are shown in

Figure 3.8.

90
Only with Vector Angle Control Vector Angle Control with Vector Amplitude Compensation

Ia Ib Ic (A)

20
0
-20

vector_angle (degree)
400

200

vector_amplitude (per-unit value)


1.16
1.12
1.08
1.04
1

Id_command Id_feedback Iq_command Iq_feedback (per-unit value)


0.4

0.2

Torque (Nm)
24
22
20
18
16
0.2 0.22 0.24 0.26 0.28 0.3
Time (s)

Figure 3.8. Simulation Results of SVC

In SVC, with the control of vector angle and vector amplitude, the currents work in a

trapezoidal shape and the slopes of incoming and outgoing phase currents are matched.

As a result, the commutation torque ripple is minimized.

3.2.4 Experimental Verification

To further verify the effectiveness of the proposed SVC algorithm, experimental

91
testing is conducted on an actual BLDC machine system. The parameters of the tested

BLDC machine are given in Table 3.2.

Table 3.2. Rating and Parameters of BLDC Machine

Nominal power 1 hp
Nominal voltage 230 V
Nominal current 2.4 A
Number of pole pairs 2
Base speed 1800 rpm
Stator Resistance 2.9 Ω
Mutual inductance 64 mH

Figure 3.9 shows the current waveform only with vector angle control, thus the

trapezoidal current can be found with spikes during commutation interval.

Figure 3.9. Experimental Results of Current with Vector Angle Control in SVC

92
Figure 3.10 shows the current waveform with both vector angle and vector amplitude

control. Due to vector amplitude compensation, the current spikes are eliminated and the

commutation torque ripple is minimized. The commutation torque ripple is reduced to

less than 20%, which can also be found in Figure 3.8.

Figure 3.10. Experimental Results of Current with both Vector Angle and Vector

Amplitude Control in SVC

3.2.5 Ramping Region of SVC

As shown in Figure 3.11, vector angle includes two types of regions: the flat region

and the ramping region. Most of the time, vector angle stays at the flat region. The flat

region ends when a commutation signal is triggered by the Hall position sensor.

93
Meanwhile vector angle will enter the ramping region, which corresponds to the

commutation interval.

vector_angle (degree)
250

Ramping Region
200
Flat Region
150
Triggered by Controller
100
Triggered by Hall sensor
50
real_rotor_angle (degree)
250

200

150

100

50
0.132 0.136 0.14
Time (s)

Figure 3.11. Vector Angle and Real Rotor Angle in SVC

The ramping region is not terminated by the Hall position sensor, but by a controller.

As a result, the vector angle in the ramping region is an artificial angle, which is

unrelated to the real rotor angle. Therefore, the length of ramping region is controllable.

Usually vector angle is requested to change quickly to achieve a short commutation

94
interval because of the limited overlap between two adjacent flat regions. However, the

current through an inductor cannot change instantaneously. If the commutation interval

is too short, the current cannot follow the vector angle, and vector amplitude commands,

though, that the PI controller is well tuned. Hence, it is easier to implement the optimal

commutation interval at low speeds than at high speeds because real angle moves faster.

The length of ramping region should be chosen as a tradeoff between speed and current

amplitude.

3.3 Enhanced Torque Control of BLDC Machine

In this section, an original idea of enhanced torque control will be proposed for the

BLDC machine drive system, the torque output is enhanced by matching back EMFs and

phase currents. After theoretical analysis and calculation, simulations will be provided to

verify the proposed control algorithm.

3.3.1 Optimal Current in Enhanced Torque Control

In interior permanent magnet machine control, usually maximum torque per ampere

(MTPA) control is adopted to increase torque output. In order to take advantage of

reluctance torque, the MTPA angle varies as current amplitude changes. When current

amplitude stays the same, the MTPA angle will not change.

Different from the concept of MTPA control, optimal current angle in enhanced

torque control is referred to the stator current angle that generate maximum torque when

amplitude of stator current vector does not change. The optimal current angle is

95
calculated based on back EMFs. For ideal sinusoidal back EMFs, the optimal current

angle is the same as the position angle, which will be verified later in this section. In

practice, back EMFs are non-ideal sinusoidal, therefore, the optimal current angle will

not exactly align with the position angle.

In general, the MTPA angle can be considered as a way to achieve enhanced torque

macroscopically, while the optimal current angle is used to obtain enhanced torque

microscopically.

The reluctance torque is not considered in the following analysis of optimal current

angle in enhanced torque control. In a Y connection type BLDC machine, the three-

phase currents will satisfy the following equation,

𝑖𝐴 + 𝑖𝐴 + 𝑖𝐶 = 0 (3.16)

either conventional vector control or SVC is applied, the phase angle difference is 120

degrees and phase A current is defined as

𝑖𝐴 = 𝐼 sin(𝜃) (3.17)

where 𝐼 is current amplitude and 𝜃 is current angle. As a result, phase B and phase C

currents can be expressed as

𝑖𝐵 = 𝐼 𝑠𝑖𝑛(𝜃 − 120°) (3.18)

𝑖𝐶 = 𝐼 𝑠𝑖𝑛(𝜃 + 120°) (3.19)

Then, equation 3.9 can be rewritten as


1
𝑇𝑒 = 𝜔 (𝐸𝐴 × 𝐼 sin(𝜃) + 𝐸𝐵 × 𝐼 𝑠𝑖𝑛(𝜃 − 120°) + 𝐸𝐶 × 𝑠𝑖𝑛(𝜃 + 120°)) (3.20)
𝑚

Equation 3.20 can be simplified as

1 1 1 √3 √3
𝑇𝑒 = 𝜔 (𝐼 sin(𝜃) × (𝐸𝐴 − 2 𝐸𝐵 − 2 𝐸𝐶 ) + 𝐼 cos(𝜃) × (− 𝐸 + 𝐸 )) (3.21)
𝑚 2 𝐵 2 𝐶

The derivative of equation 3.21 is

96
𝑑(𝑇𝑒 ) 1 1 1 √3 √3
= 𝜔 (𝐼 cos(𝜃) × (𝐸𝐴 − 2 𝐸𝐵 − 2 𝐸𝐶 ) − 𝐼 sin(𝜃) × (− 𝐸 + 𝐸 )) (3.22)
𝑑(𝜃) 𝑚 2 𝐵 2 𝐶

The extreme value of torque can be obtained, when 𝜃 satisfies

1 1 √3 √3
0 = cos(𝜃) × (𝐸𝐴 − 2 𝐸𝐵 − 2 𝐸𝐶 ) − sin(𝜃) × (− 𝐸 + 𝐸 ) (3.23)
2 𝐵 2 𝐶

which can also be expressed as


1 1
𝐸𝐴 − 𝐸𝐵 − 𝐸𝐶
𝜃 = tan−1 ( √3
2
√3
2
) (3.24)
− 𝐸𝐵 + 𝐸𝐶
2 2

From equation 3.24, optimal current angle 𝜃 is calculated based on three-phase back

EMFs. Trapezoidal back EMFs and optimal current angle 𝜃 are shown as Figure 3.12.

Figure 3.12. Optimal Current Angle Control

In figure 3.12, back EFMs are trapezoidal. The optimal current angle 𝜃 is shown

with rotor position angle. The angle difference between optimal current angle and rotor

position angle is less than one degree. The average torque increases by 5.4% from 1.30

Nm in SVC to 1.37 Nm in optimal current angle control. However, there are torque

97
ripples in optimal current angle control.

In order to reduce the torque, vector amplitude will be compensated as a function of

back EMFs, which can be written as


𝑇𝑟𝑒𝑞𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑡
𝐴𝑣𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 = 1 1 1 √3 √3
(3.25)
(𝐼 sin(𝜃)×(𝐸𝐴 − 𝐸𝐵 − 𝐸𝐶 )+𝐼 cos(𝜃)×(− 𝐸𝐵 + 𝐸𝐶 ))
𝜔𝑚 2 2 2 2

where 𝐴𝑣𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 is vector amplitude, 𝑇𝑟𝑒𝑞𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑡 is request torque and 𝜃 is obtained through

equation 3.24. Optimal current angle with vector amplitude compensation is shown as

Figure 3.13.

Figure 3.13. Optimal Current Angle Control with Vector Amplitude Compensation

3.3.2 Simulation Verification

A computer model of the BLDC system with proposed optimal current angle control

algorithm has been developed in PSIM simulator. The simulation results are shown in

Figure 3.14.

In optimal current angle control, with the control of vector angle and vector

98
amplitude, the currents work in a quasi-sinusoid shape and the phase currents and back

EMFs are matched. As a result, the torque output is enhanced and torque ripple is

minimized.

BackEMF_A BackEMF_B BackEMF_C (V)

10

-10

optimal_current_angle (degree)
400
300
200
100
0
Ia Ib Ic (A)
40
20
0
-20
-40
Id_command Id_feedback Iq_command Iq_feedback (per-unit value)
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
-0.1

Torque (Nm)
25
20
15
10
0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12 0.14
Time (s)

Figure 3.14. Simulation Results of Optimal Current Angle Control

3.4 Summary

In this chapter, an original SVC algorithm has been proposed for BLDC machine

drive system; the commutation torque ripple is minimized in this algorithm by matching

99
the slopes of incoming and outgoing phase currents. Computer simulations and

experimental results are provided to verify the proposed SVC algorithm. Furthermore, an

enhanced torque control of the BLDC machine has been proposed. Based on three-phase

back EMFs, an optimal current angle can be calculated. The optimal current angle

control can provide 5.4% more torque than conventional control, but with a drawback of

torque ripple. At last, the torque ripple in optimal current angle control is minimized by

vector amplitude compensation.

100
CHAPTER 4: SENSORLESS CONTROL OF BLDC MACHINE

In this chapter, a sensorless BLDC control algorithm based on rotor saliency is

proposed. A voltage pulse injection method is used for inductance measurement and the

peak inductance current is measured through the salient phase to increase accuracy. Zero

speed and arbitrary low speed sensorless operations can be achieved with the proposed

algorithm. Finite element analysis method (FEM) simulations and experimental results

are provided to verify the proposed control algorithm.

This chapter is organized as follows: the rotor saliency characteristics are discussed at

the beginning. Then, the principles of the algorithm for the BLDC zero speed starting

and low speed operation are described. Later on, FEM simulations and experimental

testing are conducted and results are presented to verify the effectiveness of the proposed

sensorless control algorithm. A summary is presented as the last section.

4.1 Rotor Saliency Characteristics

BLDC machines have been widely used in electric vehicles, servo systems and

appliances due to their high efficiency and high torque density. In high performance

applications, the BLDC machine is driven by an inverter and it requires rotor position

information for current commutations. Usually a group of Hall position sensors provides

commutation signals. In order to reduce cost and enhance mechanical robustness, a

101
variety of sensorless control algorithms have been studied [53-57]. In three-phase BLDC

machine control algorithms, usually two of the three phases are conducting sequentially

and the other non-conducting phase is called silent phase. In order to obtain

commutation timings, the back EMF method detects the back EMF zero crossing of the

silent phase and triggers the commutations every 60 degrees [53], while [54] integration

the back EMF of the silent phase compared with a threshold value. It should be pointed

out that these above mentioned methods, as well as other flux linkage based ones [55, 56]

and freewheeling diode conduction methods [57], fail to achieve commutation at zero or

low speed because of the undetectable back EMFs. To overcome the mentioned

drawbacks, a sensorless method based on speed-independent function is proposed in [58],

which can estimate commutation instants from near zero (2% of the rated speed) to high

speed. However, this method is only applicable to the surface-mounted permanent

magnet BLDC machines. A BLDC machine sensorless control algorithm based on

inductance variation is proposed in [59]. In this algorithm, a pulse train, including long

and short pulses, is injected into the conducting phases. The long pulses are used for

torque production and the short ones are for inductance measurement. However, a time

interval insertion between the long and the short pulses is required to ensure

measurement accuracy. During the time interval a negative torque is generated, leading

to a degraded torque performance. Other sensorless algorithms for a permanent magnet

synchronous machine, including magnetic pole identifications, high frequency injection

and sliding-mode control, have been investigated in [60-64]. However, these methods

based on space vector control are preferred by sinusoidal current drive rather than

trapezoidal current BLDC drive.

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The proposed sensorless control algorithm for BLDC machines is based on rotor

saliency. A voltage pulse injection method is used for inductance measurement and the

peak inductance current is measured to improve rotor detection accuracy. For the speed

ranging from zero to an arbitrarily low speed, sensorless operations of the BLDC can be

achieved with the proposed algorithm.

The saliency characteristics are studied through a typical BLDC model using the

finite element analysis method (FEM) as shown in Figure 4.1.

Stator Core

Winding

Permanent Magnet
Rotor Core

Figure 4.1. Typical BLDC Machine FEM Model (1/4)

By the FEM simulation results, the variation of phase inductance and line inductance

are functions of the BLDC rotor position as presented in figures 4.2 and 4.3, respectively.

For convenience of investigation, one electrical cycle is divided into six regions by

commutation points and each region covers 60 electrical degrees.

103
Region 0 Region 1 Region 2 Region 3 Region 4 Region 5
0.16

0.158

0.156

0.154 A
L(mH)
0.152 B
C
0.15

0.148

0.146
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360

Rotor Position (electric degree)

Figure 4.2. Phase Inductance Variation

0.318
Region 0 Region 1 Region 2 Region 3 Region 4 Region 5
0.316

0.314

0.312 AB
L(mH) BC
0.31
CA
0.308

0.306

0.304
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360

Rotor Position (electric degree)

Figure 4.3. Line Inductance Variation

Note that, in both phase inductance and line inductance simulation results, inductance

104
data in deep magnetic saturation conditions are not provided, because in the real situation,

the current for inductance measurement is always less than 20% of the rated current.

Figures 4.2 and 4.3 reveal that both the phase inductance and line inductance vary

with the rotor position in a quasi-sinusoidal manner. For example, across Region 0 where

the rotor position lies within 0 to 60 degrees, the phase inductance of Phase C remains the

smallest among the three, while Phase A inductance keeps increasing and Phase B

decreasing. A similar quasi-sinusoidal manner can also be found in the line inductance,

where, for the same region, AB inductance is the largest, while CA inductance keeps

increasing and BC decreasing. Such kind of manners could provide us not only the

information about which region the rotor lies in, but also a method of detecting

commutation points. In other words, the specific rotor position can be acquired by

knowing phase inductance or line inductance.

4.2 Sensorless Control of BLDC Machine from Zero to Low Speed

As discussed in the last section, it is revealed that the rotor position and the phase and

line inductance are closely inter related, which provides an insight of sensorless control

of a BLDC machine. However, directly measuring the phase or line inductance involves

complicated processes and requires additional circuits in the BLDC system. Therefore, a

more practical method is adopted in this chapter. As is well known, when applying a

voltage across an ideal inductor, the current flowing through the inductor will increase

linearly. The rate of increase is proportional to the inverse of the inductance and the

magnitude of the applied voltage. However, if the voltage, as well as the amount of time

the voltage applied on the inductor, is fixed, the peak current is inversely proportional to

105
the inductance. Therefore, by measuring the inductor peak current, which is simple and

easy to implement, the inductance information can be obtained, as well as the rotor

position. However, BLDC machine winding is not an idealized inductor because of the

resistance. Therefore, the voltage applying time has to be as short as possible to

minimize the effect of resistance.

As mentioned above, information of both the phase inductance and line inductance

can be utilized as an indicator for the rotor position detection. However, the neutral point

of BLDC machines is usually not available for measurement, making it impossible to

obtain the phase inductance information. Therefore, it is logical that the obtainable line

inductance information is utilized to realize sensorless control of the BLDC machine.

In a BLDC machine system, if DC bus voltage VDC is applied across any two

terminals of the three phases, the voltage equation of the circuit, where the voltage drop

across the resistor is neglected, can be expressed as

𝑑𝑖𝑝𝑝
𝑉𝐷𝐶 = 𝐿𝑝𝑝 (𝜃) (4.1)
𝑑𝑡

where Lpp (θ) represents the position-dependent line inductance, and ipp is the current

flowing in the corresponding phases. Define the smallest amount of time that the voltage

is applied on stator phases to be one unit of Voltage Applying Period (VAP) 𝑡𝑉𝐴𝑃 , then,

during one VAP, the current variation ∆ipp can be expressed as

𝑉𝐷𝐶 ∙𝑡𝑉𝐴𝑃
∆𝑖𝑝𝑝 = (4.2)
𝐿𝑝𝑝 (𝜃)

As can be seen, if 𝑡𝑉𝐴𝑃 is kept constant, the current variation is in inverse proportion

with the line inductance. Assuming that there is no current in the corresponding phases

before the voltage is applied, and then only by measuring the peak current at the end of

VAP, the line inductance at arbitrary rotor position can be indirectly obtained.

106
4.2.1 Principles of Initial Rotor Position Estimation Algorithm

As discussed in previous sections, the six regions are marked in Figure 4.3, with each

region characterized by a line inductance being the largest throughout that region. It is

well known that BLDC machines have six operational regions, and each of them requires

specified phase currents, which are shown in Figure 4.4 with arrows.

A+ B- C+ B-
Phase A Region 1, iCA_min Phase C

Region 2, iBC_min Region 0, iAB_min


A+ C- C+ A-

Region 3, iAB_min Region 5, iBC_min

Region 4, iCA_min
B+ C- B+ A-

Phase B
Figure 4.4. Characterizing Current Region

Instead of the characterizing line inductance, the characterizing current is marked for

each region. A typical three-phase BLDC machine drive system is shown in Figure 4.5.

107
IDC

S1 S3 S5
BDCM32
A
BDCM
BLDC
VDC B

S4 S6 S2

Figure 4.5. Typical BLDC Machine System

The implementation is conducted in the following sequences: first, energize A-B

phases for one VAP. At the end of that VAP, sample the DC bus current iAB . Second,

wait until iAB drops to zero. Third, repeat the first two steps to energize B-C phases and

C-A phases in sequence, and sample the DC bus current iBC and iCA . Then, by comparing

the sampled currents, the rotor position could be preliminarily located. For instance, if

iAB is the smallest among the three sampled currents, then the rotor can be considered to

lie in either Region 0 or Region 3 according to figures 4.3 and 4.4.

Further operation has to be adopted to pinpoint the rotor position, and this process is

called the magnet polarity determination, which is based on the core saturation effect.

Forth, a positive voltage is applied to certain phases depending on the rotor’s preliminary

position for eight VAPs, which is sufficient to produce large currents to saturate the core.

108
For example, still assuming that the rotor position is preliminarily located in Region 0 or

Region 3, then Phase A and C are chosen to be energized because voltage VA+C- or VC+A-

will produce the most likely flux to saturate BLDC machine. A large current will be

generated and iP will be sampled at the end of the last VAP. Fifth, after iP drops to zero,

apply a negative voltage to the same phases for the same amount of time, 8 VAPs, and

sample iN at the end of 8 VAPs. One of them will produce a flux in alignment with the

rotor flux and saturate the core, hence the current is much larger than the other one. The

comparison procedure is presented in Table 4.1.

Table 4.1. Initial Position Estimation Comparison Procedure

Min(iAB, iBC, iCA) iAB iBC iCA


Polarity Determination Phases A-C B-A B-C
iP , iN Comparison iP > iN iP < iN iP > iN iP < iN iP > iN iP < iN
North Pole Position (Region
3 0 5 2 4 1
Number)
B+ & A+ & C+ & B+ & C+ & A+ &
Starting Current
A- B- B- C- A- C-

Compared with the initial rotor position estimation method discussed in [66], where

six saturation currents are injected, the proposed algorithm uses five current pulses to

locate the initial rotor position, only two of which are saturation currents. It minimizes

the damage that saturation current might cause and reduces the time of initial rotor

position estimation.

109
4.2.2 Principles of Low Speed Sensorless Algorithm

When the BLDC machine works in low speed operation, the back EMF based

methods are not applicable. The initial rotor position estimation algorithm is also not

applicable because it requires large detection currents and long operation time. The

magnet polarity determination currents are usually greater than rated current, so that the

BLDC machine will suffer from a large torque ripple. In addition, the initial rotor

position estimation algorithm needs a long time interval to complete five current

samplings and the long time interval insertion will bring serious disturbance to normal

operation.

To overcome the drawbacks, a low speed sensorless control of BLDC machine based

on line inductance variation is proposed. Theoretically, all three line inductances can be

used for commutation timing estimation, as shown in Figure 4.3. However, not all of

them are practical to be utilized to trigger a commutation. The conducting line

inductance is difficult to measure because of the PWM chopping. The feasibility of the

other two line inductances is analyzed as following.

When the BLDC machine is at region 0, Phase A and Phase B are conducting. As

shown in Figure 4.3, B-C line inductance decreases during the first 30 degrees and stays

steady from 30 to 90 degrees, while C-A inductance stays steady at first and increases

later. Assuming that the BLDC machine is moving to region 1, the variation rate of C-A

line inductance is much higher near the commutation point, compared to B-C line

inductance. The line inductance with an obvious variation at commutation point makes

itself a prominent candidate for low speed sensorless control. If the BLDC machine is

110
moving in the opposite direction, B-C line inductance will be chosen for sensorless

control. The sensorless algorithm in other regions will follow the same procedure and the

corresponding injected voltage is given in Table 4.2.

Table 4.2. Rotor Position and Injected Voltage

Region 0 1 2 3 4 5
Clockwise
CA BC AB AC CB BA
Injected Motion
Voltage Anti-clockwise
CB BA CA BC AB AC
Motion

In order to acquire C-A line inductance, C-A current pulses need to be measured.

Assuming the rotor position is in Region 0, where Phase A and B are conducting. When

the PWM is “ON,” the current goes through VDC -S1-Phase A-Phase B-S6-VDC , shown in

Figure 4.5, and IDC is equal to iAB . On the other hand, when the PWM is “OFF,” the

current flows in the loop D4-phase A-phase B-S6-D4, and IDC is zero. If, during OFF

state, Phase C and A are energized by turning on S5 and S4, then the DC current would

be the same when the current goes through C-A phases. In other words, by measuring the

DC current, the C-A inductance could be acquired, and so is the rotor position.

Based on the principle discussed above, the implementation is conducted as follows.

For every N (N could be any number, for instance, 100) DSP interrupt cycles, one voltage

pulse is injected to certain phases for several VAPs and the corresponding current is

sampled at the end of the last VAP. Every time, the sampled current is compared with a

pre-determined value, and if the sampled current drops below this value, a commutation

will be triggered. Figure 4.6 shows the flowchart of the proposed algorithm.

111
Send Pulse

Sample DC Current

Smaller than No
Threshold
Current?

Yes

Commutation

Figure 4.6. Flowchart of the Low Speed Sensorless Algorithm

4.3 Simulation Verification

Both initial rotor position estimation algorithm and low speed sensorless algorithm

are tested by FEM simulations. In the simulation, the North Pole of the rotor is fixed at

30 degrees, and voltage pulses are applied on A-B, B-C and C-A phases in sequence.

Figure 4.7 shows the FEM results of the sampled DC current.

112
1
0.9 iB iC
0.8
iA
0.7
0.6

Current (A)0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
0 0.001 0.002 0.003 0.004 0.005

Time (s)

Figure 4.7. Inductance Measurement Currents in FEM simulation

After that, A-C phases are energized with positive and negative voltages, and the DC

current is shown in Figure 4.8.

2.5

iN
2
iP
1.5

Current (A)
1

0.5

South Pole North Pole


0
0 0.001 0.002 0.003 0.004 0.005

Time (s)

Figure 4.8. North Pole Detection Currents in FEM simulation

The results that iAB is the smallest and iP is the biggest implies, based on Table 4.1,

113
that the North Pole is located in Region 0, which matches the 30 degrees position. After

the North Pole is identified, the BLDC machine can start rotating from zero speed by

applying A+B- voltage. Further simulation is conducted to illustrate the current variation

as the rotor rotates from 0 to 60 degrees, as shown in Figure 4.9.

114
0.45
0.4
0.35
0.3

Current (A)
0.25
0.2
0.15
0.1
0.05
0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Rotor Position (electric degree)

(a) Current Pulse in AB

0.5
0.45
0.4
0.35
0.3
Current (A)
0.25
0.2
0.15
0.1
0.05
0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Rotor Position (electric degree)

(b) Current Pulse in BC

0.5
0.45
threshold
0.4
0.35
0.3
Current (A)
0.25
0.2
0.15
0.1
0.05
0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Rotor Position (electric degree)

(c) Current Pulse in CA

Figure 4.9. Current Variation in Region 0

115
It verifies that C-A current is the most suitable candidate in triggering a commutation

in Region 0. In addition, the threshold trigger is marked in Figure 4.9.

4.4 Experimental Verification

To verify the effectiveness of the proposed control algorithm, an experimental test has

been conducted on a real BLDC machine drive system. Figure 4.10 shows the lab setup

of the BLDC machine system.

Figure 4.10. BLDC Machine Drive System

The machine’s parameters are given in Table 4.3.

Table 4.3. Rating and Parameters of BLDC Machine

Nominal power 1 hp
Nominal voltage 230 V
Nominal current 2.4 A
Number of pole pairs 2
Base speed 1800 rpm
Stator Resistance 2.9 Ω
Mutual inductance 64 mH
Saliency Yes

116
Figure 4.11 shows the experimental results of the current response after applying

voltage pulses to the standstill BLDC machine.

iA iB iC

iB iC iA

Figure 4.11. Inductance Measurement Currents in Experiment

The blue trace represents the current as it goes through Phase A, pink is Phase B, and

green is Phase C. The part of the waveforms above the central line can be regarded as the

DC bus current. It is followed by the North Pole detection, and the current responses are

shown in Figure 4.12.

117
|iA |
North Pole
South Pole iA

Figure 4.12. North Pole Detection Currents in Experiment

The blue trace is the current in Phase A, and the red one is its absolute value, which

can be treated as the DC bus current as well. Figures 4.11 and 4.12 match perfectly with

the simulation results shown in figures 4.7 and 4.8.

The experimental results of a sensor-based operation and the proposed sensorless

operation are compared in figures 4.13.

118
with sensor sensorless

Figure 4.13. Sensor-based and Sensorless Comparison

The BLDC machine shifts from sensor-based operation to sensorless operation at the

dashed line, the commutation point is detected precisely and the performance under

sensorless operation is as good as it is under sensor-based operation.

Figure 4.14 reveals the detailed sensorless operation within 60 degrees.

119
iA

iB

iC threshold

Region 0 (0 to 60 electric degrees)

Figure 4.14. Inductance Measurement Currents

From top to bottom are the currents of Phase A, Phase B and Phase C. The center of

the screen, where A-B phases are conducting, corresponds to Region 0 in Figure 4.3. The

sampled DC bus current, which is also the absolute value of the sampled Phase C current,

decreases in this interval. The commutation is conducted when the sampled Phase C

current reaches the threshold. The Phase C current matches with the simulation result

shown in Figure 4.9 (c).

The proposed algorithm is also tested under a low speed operation. Figure 4.15

shows the three phase currents when the BLDC machine is operating at an extremely low

speed, 8.5 RPM, which is less than 0.5% of the rating speed.

120
Figure 4.15. Extremely Low Speed Operation

Given that this algorithm is only position dependent, it can be utilized at an arbitrary

low speed as long as the saliency exists.

4.5 Summary

In this chapter, a sensorless control algorithm for a BLDC machine at zero and low

speed based on rotor saliency is proposed. FEM simulations are conducted on a BLDC

machine to reveal the dependence of the phase inductance and line inductance on the

rotor positions. Algorithms for the detecting rotor position at standstill and extreme low

speed are proposed based on line inductance variation and are verified by both FEM

simulation and experimental testing. The advantages of the proposed control algorithm

121
include the following:

 Speed-independent of rotor position detection; with the proposed algorithm, the

BLDC machine can achieve sensorless operation at zero and any arbitrary low

speeds.

 Easy to implement; the rotor position detection does not require any real

measurement of inductance, rather than the peak current detection.

 Simple and low cost setup; the implementation of the sensorless algorithm uses

only one current sensor.

122
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE WORKS

5.1 Conclusions

This dissertation is aimed at developing the next generation high performance BLDC

machine, and advanced motor control algorithms for BLDC machine are proposed.

In chapter two, a 3kW slotless six-phase BLDC machine has been designed. The

stator core, stator winding connection, rotor core and air gap are optimized by three

principles. The first principle is performance, referred to as high torque density. The

second one is trapezoidal back EMF. The third one is to reduce cost by reducing the

usage of permanent magnets. After geometry design and FEA validation, the inductance

and resistance of stator winding is calculated. In the meantime, a winding assembling

method is proposed and a prototype machine has been built. At last, the advantage of a

six-phase BLDC machine is that a single inverter can split into two smaller power rating

inverters.

In chapter three, an original idea of a SVC algorithm has been proposed for BLDC

machine drive system; the commutation torque ripple is minimized in this algorithm by

matching the slopes of incoming and outgoing phase currents. Computer simulations and

experimental results are provided to verify the proposed SVC algorithm. Furthermore, an

enhanced torque control of BLDC machine has been proposed. Based on three-phase

back EMFs, an optimal current angle can be calculated. The optimal current angle

123
control can provide 5.4% more torque than conventional control, but with a drawback of

torque ripple. Finlly, the torque ripple in optimal current angle control is minimized by

vector amplitude compensation.

In chapter four, a sensorless control algorithm for a BLDC machine at zero and low

speed based on rotor saliency is proposed. FEM simulations are conducted on a BLDC

machine to reveal the dependence of the phase inductance and line inductance on the

rotor positions. Algorithms for the detecting rotor position at standstill and extreme low

speed are proposed based on line inductance variation and are verified by both FEM

simulation and experimental testing. The advantages of the proposed control algorithm

include the following:

 Speed-independent of rotor position detection; with the proposed algorithm, the

BLDC machine can achieve sensorless operation at zero and any arbitrary low

speeds.

 Easy to implement; the rotor position detection does not require any real

measurement of inductance, rather than the peak current detection.

 Simple and low cost setup; the implementation of the sensorless algorithm uses

only one current sensor.

5.2 Future Works

Future work will focus on the following:

 Optimize slotless six-phase BLDC machine design by reducing effective air gap.

 Optimize rotor structure for high speed application.

 Investigate the mutual inductance of six-phase BLDC machine.

124
 Explore the possibility of extending the proposed SVC algorithm to BLDC flux

weakening control.

 Develop SVC algorithm based on discontinuous PWM.

 Explore the possibility of extending the proposed optimal current angle control to

an interior permanent magnet machine with utilization of reluctance torque.

 Investigate the effects of harmonic currents in optimal current angle control on

motor efficiency.

 Develop current close loop control with the proposed sensorless control of BLDC

machine.

125
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