SYNCHRONOUS INDUCTION MOTORS BASIC INFORMATION AND TUTORIALS



There are three types of motors that can start and run as induction motors yet can lock into the supply frequency and run as synchronous motors as well. They are (1) the wound-rotor motor with dc exciter (2) the permanent-magnet (PM) synchronous motor, and (3) the reluctance-synchronous motor.

The latter two types have been used primarily with adjustable frequency inverter power supplies. In Europe, wound-rotor induction motors have often been provided with low-voltage dc exciters that supply direct current to the rotor, making them operate as synchronous machines.

With secondary rheostats for starting, such a motor gives the low starting current and high torque of the wound-rotor induction motor and an improved power factor under load.

Several different forms of these synchronous induction motors have been proposed, but they have not shown any net advantage over usual salient-pole synchronous or induction machines and are very seldom used in the United States.

  
FIGURE 20-44 Cross section of (a) a conventional PM synchronous motor and (b) a reluctance synchronous motor.

The PM synchronous motor is shown in Fig. 20-44a. The construction is the same as that of an ordinary squirrel-cage motor (either single or polyphase), except that the depth of rotor core below the squirrel cage bars is very shallow, just enough to carry the rotor flux under locked-rotor conditions.

Inside this shallow rotor core is placed a permanent magnet, fully magnetized. The rotor core serves as a keeper, so that the rotor is not demagnetized by removing it from the stator. In starting, the rotor flux is confined to the laminated core.

As the speed rises, the rotor frequency decreases and the rotor flux builds up, creating a pulsating torque with the field of the magnet, as when a synchronous motor is being synchronized after the dc field has been applied. As the motor approaches full speed, therefore, the ac impressed field locks into step with the field of the magnet and the machine runs as a synchronous motor. The absence of rotor I2R loss, the synchronous speed operation, and the high efficiency and power factor make the motor very attractive for special applications, such as high-frequency spinning motors.

When many such motors are supplied from a high-frequency source, the kVA requirements are reduced to perhaps 50% of those needed for usual induction motor types, with consequent large savings.

If the rotor surface of a P-pole squirrel-cage motor is cut away at symmetrically spaced points, forming P salient poles, the motor will accelerate to full speed as an induction motor and then lock into step and operate as a synchronous motor.

The synchronizing torque is due to the change in reluctance and, therefore, in stored magnetic energy, when the air-gap flux moves from the low- into the high-reluctance region. Such motors are often used in small-horsepower sizes, when synchronous operation is required, but they have inherently low pull out torque and low power factor, and also poor efficiency, and therefore require larger frames than the same horsepower induction motor.

The PM synchronous motor has superior performance in every way, except possibly cost. A cross section of the reluctance-synchronous motor is shown in Fig. 20-44b. These motors are available up to about 5 hp.

If the number of rotor salients is nP, instead of P, and if the P-pole motor winding is arranged to also produce a field of (n - 1)P or (n - 1)P poles, the motor may lock into step at a subsynchronous speed and run as a subsynchronous motor. For the P-pole fundamental mmf, acting on the varying rotor permeance will create (n + 1)P and (n - 1) P-pole fields from this case, and these will lock into step with the independently produced (n - 1)P- or (n + 1)P-pole field, when the rotor speed is such as to make the two harmonic fields turn at the same speed in the same direction.

It is difficult to provide much torque in such subsynchronous motors, and their use is therefore limited to very small sizes, such as may be used in small timer or instrument motors.

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