What is Synchronous Motor | Construction | Working Principle | Advantages

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What is Synchronous Motor

Synchronous motor and induction motor are the most widely used types of AC motor. Construction of a synchronous motor is similar to an alternator (AC generator). A same synchronous machine can be used as a synchronous motor or as an alternator. Synchronous motors are available in a wide range, generally rated between 150kW to 15MW with speeds ranging from 150 to 1800 rpm.

Construction Of Synchronous Motor

 

Construction Of Synchronous Motor
Construction Of Synchronous Motor

Normally it’s construction is almost similar to that of a 3 phase induction motor, except the fact that the rotor is given DC supply, the reason of which is explained later. Now, let us first go through the basic construction of this type of motor.
From the above picture, it is clear that how this type of motors are designed. The stator is given is given three phase supply and the rotor is given DC supply.

Main Features of Synchronous Motors

  1. Synchronous motors are inherently not self starting. They require some external means to bring their speed close to synchronous speed to before they are synchronized.

  2. The speed of operation of is in synchronism with the supply frequency and hence for constant supply frequency they behave as constant speed motor irrespective of load condition

  3. This motor has the unique characteristics of operating under any electrical power factor. This makes it being used in electrical power factor improvement.

Synchronous Motor Working Principle

Electrical motor in general is an electro-mechanical device that converts energy from electrical domain to mechanical domain. Based on the type of input we have classified it into single phase and 3 phase motors. Among 3 phase motors, induction motors and synchronous motors are more widely used. When a 3 phase electric conductors are placed in a certain geometrical positions (In certain angle from one another) then an electrical field is generated. Now the rotating magnetic field rotates at a certain speed, that speed is called synchronous speed. Now if an electromagnet is present in this rotating magnetic field, the electromagnet is magnetically locked with this rotating magnetic field and rotates with same speed of rotating field.
Synchronous motors is called so because the speed of the rotor of this motor is same as the rotating magnetic field. It is basically a fixed speed motor because it has only one speed, which is synchronous speed and therefore no intermediate speed is there or in other words it’s in synchronism with the supply frequency. Synchronous speed is given byWhere, f = supply frequency and p = no. of poles

Principle of Operation Synchronous Motor

Synchronous motor is a doubly excited machine i.e two electrical inputs are provided to it. It’s stator winding which consists of a 3 phase winding is provided with 3 phase supply and rotor is provided with DC supply. The 3 phase stator winding carrying 3 phase currents produces 3 phase rotating magnetic flux. The rotor carrying DC supply also produces a constant flux. Considering the frequency to be 50 Hz, from the above relation we can see that the 3 phase rotating flux rotates about 3000 revolution in 1 min or 50 revolutions in 1 sec. At a particular instant rotor and stator poles might be of same polarity (N-N or S-S) causing repulsive force on rotor and the very next second it will be N-S causing attractive force. But due to inertia of the rotor, it is unable to rotate in any direction due to attractive or repulsive force and remain in standstill condition. Hence it is not self starting.
To overcome this inertia, rotor is initially fed some mechanical input which rotates it in same direction as magnetic field to a speed very close to synchronous speed. After some time magnetic locking occurs and the synchronous motor rotates in synchronism with the frequency.

Characteristic Features Of A Synchronous Motor

  • Synchronous motor will run either at synchronous speed or will not run at all.

  • The only way to change its speed is to change its supply frequency. (As Ns = 120f / P)

  • Synchronous motors are not self starting. They need some external force to bring them near to the synchronous speed.

  • They can operate under any power factor, lagging as well as leading. Hence, synchronous motors can be used for power factor improvement.

 Application Of Synchronous Motor

  • As synchronous motor is capable of operating under either leading and lagging power factor, it can be used for power factor improvement.  A synchronous motor under no-load with leading power factor is connected in power system where static capacitors can not be used.

  • It is used where high power at low speed is required. Such as rolling mills, chippers, mixers, pumps, pumps, compressor etc.

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