Electric Motors A Brief Overview


In an age where every single aspect of life is rule by electricity, one cannot afford to stay back in darkness. Human beings with their uncanny ability to invent and innovate things brought in a drastic change into the overall scenario. Electric motors form one of the major elements amongst them.

Human beings have cashed in the benefits of Industrial Revolution to its fullest. Being intelligent and sensible, they realized the immense potential it has within it. Numerous inventions and innovations started hitting the shore. Amidst them, electric motor is one; lets’ have a look at it in a bit closer way.

Very simply defining, an electric motor is one which converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. These generally operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current carrying conductors to generate force. Electric motors and generators are also referred to as electric machines in a simpler sense.

Moving back to history, the first direct electric motor was invented by British scientist William Sturgeon in 1832. Following that, a commutator type direct current electric motor was made. The primary intention behind its invention was commercial use. But since zinc electrodes were quite expensive, and usually depended on primary battery power, they were commercially unsuccessful.

Electric motors are found in applications as diverse and industrial fans, blowers, pumps, machine tools, household appliances, power tool and disk drives. These are usually powered by direct current, for example battery powered portable device of a motor vehicle. It can also be powered by alternating current from a central electrical distribution grid or inverter. The smallest of these kinds of motors are found in wrist watches. Medium size motors of highly standardized dimensions and characteristics provide convenient mechanical power for industrial uses. Motors bearing a very large size are generally used for propulsion of ships, pipeline, compressors and water pumps with ratings in the millions of watts. These motors are generally classified by the source of electric power, by their internal construction, by their application or by the type of motion they produce.

The main principle through which mechanical force is produced was recognized in 1821. This is done through an interaction of an electric current and a magnetic field. Electric motors of increasing efficiency were constructed and produced throughout the 19th century. But commercial applications of these on a large scale required efficient electrical generators and electrical distribution networks. Certain devices convert electrical energy into motion. But they usually don’t generate usable mechanical power as a primary objective and so are not generally referred to as electric motors. Magnetic solenoids and loudspeakers are usually described as actuators and transducers respectively, instead of motors. Some electric motors are used to produce torque or force.