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# AC MACHINE (Part 1) E2063/ Unit 6/ 1

UNIT 6

OBJECTIVES

## General Objective : To analyze the basic principles of operation of an AC generator

and the differences between DC generator and AC generator by
using commutator and slip ring.

Specific Objectives : At the end of the unit you will be able to:

##  Utilize the left-hand rule for generators.

 Explain the concept of electromagnetic induction.
 Draw the construction of DC generator and alternator.
 Explain the principle of operation of an AC generator.
 Differentiate between DC generators and AC generators.
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INPUT

6.0 INTRODUCTION

An electric generator is a device used to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy.
The generator is based on the principle of "electromagnetic induction" discovered in 1831
by Michael Faraday, a British scientist. Faraday discovered that if an electric conductor, like
a copper wire, is moved through a magnetic field, electric current will flow (be induced) in
the conductor. So the mechanical energy of the moving wire is converted into the electric
energy of the current that flows in the wire.
The figure below shows a simple electric generator. In the animation, the mechanical
energy needed to turn the generator comes from the brown hand crank at the front of the
generator. In a hydroelectric power plant, the mechanical energy to turn the generator comes
from the water turbine, which is turned by the force of falling water. The hand crank in the
animation causes the red wire to spin inside a magnetic field (the blue lines). As Faraday
learned, moving the wire through the magnetic field causes electric current to flow in the
wire. The turning red wire is connected to a volt meter, which shows the amount of electric
current that is produced. In a hydroelectric plant, the generator is connected to transmission
lines that deliver the electricity to your home or business.

## Fig. 6.1 The simple electric generator

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The AC generator (alternator) is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical
energy using the principle of electromagnetic induction. The amount of voltage generated
depends on the following:
i. The strength of the magnetic field.
ii. The angle at which the conductor cuts the magnetic field.
iii. The speed at which the conductor is moved
iv. The length of the conductor within the magnetic field.

The polarity of the voltage depends on the direction of the magnetic lines of flux and the
direction of movement of the conductor. To determine the direction of current flow in a
given situation, the left-hand rule for generators is used.

The rule is explained in the following manner. Extend the thumb, forefinger, and middle
finger of your left hand at right angles to one another, as shown in Fig. 6.2. Point your
thumb in the direction the conductor is being moved. Point your forefinger in the direction
of the magnetic flux (from north to south). The middle finger then points in the direction of
current flow in an external circuit to which the voltage is applied.

## 6.1 PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION OF AC GENERATOR (ALTERNATOR)

An elementary AC generator (Fig. 6.3) consists of a wire loop so that it can be rotated in a
stationary magnetic field. This produces an induced e.m.f. in the loop. Sliding contacts
(brushes) connect the loop to an external circuit load in order to pick up or use the induced
e.m.f.

The pole pieces (marked N and S) provide the magnetic field. The pole pieces are
shaped and positioned as shown to concentrate the magnetic field as close as possible to the
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wire loop. The loop of wire that rotates through the field is called the armature. The ends of
the armature loop are connected to rings called slip rings. They rotate with the armature. The
brushes, usually made of carbon with leads attached to them, ride against the rings. The
generated voltage appears across these brushes.

## A voltage is produced in the following manner. The armature loop is rotated in a

clockwise manner (Fig. 6.4). Its initial, or starting, position is shown in Fig. 6.4 (A). At 0°
the armature loop is perpendicular to the magnetic field. The black-and-white conductors are
moving parallel to the magnetic field; thus, they do not cut any lines of force. The induced
e.m.f. is zero, as the meter shows at A. As the armature loop rotates from position A to B,
the conductors cut through more and more lines of force at continually increasing angle. At
90° (position B), they are cutting through a maximum number of lines of force and at a
maximum angle. The result is that between 0° and 90°, the induced e.m.f. in the conductors
builds up from zero to maximum value. Observe that from 0° to 90° the black conductor cuts
down through the field. At the same time the white conductor cuts up through the field. The
induced e.m.f. in the conductors are series-aiding, the result of the same relative motion
between the armature and the field causing more flux lines to be cut. The meter at position B
reads a maximum value.

As the armature loop continues rotating from position B (90°) to position C (180°),
the conductors that were cutting through a maximum number of lines of force at position B
now cut through fewer lines. At position C, they are again moving parallel to the magnetic
field . Thus, from 90° to 180°, the induced voltage decreases to zero. However, the polarity
of the induced voltage has remained the same. This is shown by A through C on the graph.
As the loop starts rotating beyond 180°, from position C through D, and back to position A,
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the voltage is in the direction opposite to that shown from A, B, and C. The magnitude of
the voltage is the same as it was from A to C except for its reversed polarity (as shown by
meter deflection in D). The voltage output waveform for one complete revolution of the
loop is shown on the graph in Fig 6.4 and is a single-phase voltage.

## Fig 6.4 Output voltage of an elementary generator during one revolution.

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Activity 6A

INPUT…!

## 6.1 AC generator is also called ……………..

6.2 The generator converts …………energy into………….energy.
6.3 The ends of the armature loop are called ………… ……………
6.4 What is the difference between a rotor and a stator?

## Feedback to the Activity 6A

6.1 alternator
6.2 mechanical, electrical
6.3 slip rings
6.4 rotor – rotating part of the machine
stator – stationary part of the machine
AC MACHINE (Part 1) E2063/ Unit 6/ 7

INPUT

## 6.2 THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AC GENERATOR AND DC GENERATOR

The difference between AC and DC generator is that the DC generator results when you
replace the slip rings of an elementary generator with two-piece commutator, changing the
output from AC to pulsating DC as shown in Fig. 6.5.

## Fig. 6.5 A Basic DC generator

The major difference is that the alternator has several design differences that compensate for
the problems that are common in the DC generator. The first difference is that the part of the
alternator that produces the large current is located in the stationary part of the machine
called the stator, so that the brushes are needed to transfer the large amount of electrical
energy that is produced. This means that the part of the alternator that uses a small amount
of current to produce the magnetic field must be located in the rotating part of the machine,
called the rotor. Since the motor needs a small amount of constant DC voltage, this voltage
can be supplied through slip rings and two brushes rather than commutator segments. Fig.
6.6 shows the basic parts of the AC alternator. You should notice that slip rings are mounted
on the rotor and they run completely around the armature shaft like a collar, instead of the
commutator segments in the DC generator.
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## Source: Industrial Electronics Application for Programmable Controllers, Instrumentation and

Process Control, and Electrical Machines and Motor Controls by Thomas E. Kissel

## Fig. 6.6 Basic parts of an alternator

Fig. 6.7 shows the general construction of DC generator. It has five principal components
i.e. (i) field systems (ii) armature core (iii) armature windings (iv) commutator (v) brushes.
While Fig. 6.8 shows the alternator (ac generator or synchronous generator). It has 3-phase
winding on the stator and dc field winding on the rotor.

## Fig 6.7 DC Generator

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## Let Z = No. of conductors or coil sides in series per phase

Φ = Flux per pole in webers
P = Number of rotor poles
N = Rotor speed in r.p.m
In one revolution (i.e., 60/N second), each stator conductor is cut by PΦ webers,i.e.,
dΦ = PΦ ; dt = 60/N
∴ Average e.m.f. induced in one stator conductor
PΦ N
dΦ PΦ
= = = 60 volts
dt 60 / N

## Since there are Z conductors in series per phase,

PΦ N
∴ Average e.m.f. per phase = 6 0 ×Z
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PΦ N
120 f
= 60 ×
P

 120 f 
= 2fΦ Z volts 
N = p  
 
R.M.S value of e.m.f./ phase = Average value/ phase × form factor
=2fΦ Z × 1.11 = 2.22 f Φ Z
Er.m.s / phase = 2.22 f Φ Z volts.

Example 6.1

A 3-phase, 50 Hz star-connected alternator has 180 conductors per phase and flux per pole
is 0.0543 wb. Find

## (i) e.m.f. generated per phase

(ii) e.m.f. between line terminals. Assume the winding to be full pitched and
distribution factor to be 0.96

## (i) Generated e.m.f./phase, Eph = 2.22 KpKdZfφ

= 2.22 ×1×0.96×180×50×0.0543
= 1041.5 V

## (ii) Line voltage 3 E ph = 3 ×1041 .5 = 1803.19 V

AC MACHINE (Part 1) E2063/ Unit 6/ 11

Activity 6B

INPUT…!

## 6.5 State the differences between an AC generator and a DC generator.

6.6 Draw the output that is produced by a DC generator and an AC generator.

6.6

## (AC waveform) (DC waveform)

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KEY FACTS

## 1. Basically the generator is the opposite of the motor.

2. An alternator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy using
the principle of electromagnetic induction.
3. An alternator uses slip rings to provide a means for the generated voltage to be taken
from the device.
4. To form a basic DC generator, the slip rings are replaced with a commutator.
5. The output of the commutator is a pulsating DC waveform.
6. In this case the rotation of the coil produces a current.
7. The current produced is an alternating one.
8. The split rings are replaced with two slip rings.
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SELF-ASSESSMENT 6

You are approaching success. Try all the questions in this self-assessment section and
check your answers with those given in the Feedback on Self-Assessment 6 given on the
next page. If you face any problems, discuss it with your lecturer. Good luck.

Question 6-1

## a. Describe the components of an elementary AC generator.

b. What component is used to convert an alternator to a DC generator?
c. Synchronous generator or alternator is the other name for ……….……….
d. AC systems have a number of advantages over DC systems. (Yes/No)
e. A rectifier is used to convert AC to DC. (Yes/No)
f. The operation of an alternator is not based on the concept of electromagnetism.
(Yes/No).
g. For an alternator operation, the direction of induced e.m.f. can be determined by
Fleming’s right hand rule. (Yes/No)
h. Find the number of armature conductors in series per phase required for the
armature of a 3-phase, 50Hz, 10-pole alternator. The winding is star-connected to
give a line voltage of 11000. The flux per pole is 0.16 wb. Assume Kp = 1 and
Kd = 0.96.

Question 6-2

a. A 3-phase, 50 Hz star-connected alternator has 100 conductors per phase and flux
per pole is 0.05wb. Find
(i) e.m.f. generated per phase
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(ii) e.m.f. between line terminals. Assume the winding to be full pitched and
distribution factor to be 0.96

FEEDBACK TO SELF-ASSESSMENT 6

Have you tried the questions????? If “YES”, check your answers now.

b. commutator
c. AC generator.
d. Yes
e. Yes
f. No
g. Yes
h. Z = 372.5

## Solution of Question 6-2

a. (i) 532.8 V
(ii) 922.84 V

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
…..May success be with
you always….
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