The Difference Between AC and DC Motors

November 27, 2019 11:47 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

There are two primary categories of electric motors that you should be aware of: AC and DC motors. But what exactly is the difference between these two types of motor, and what are the circumstances in which one would choose one over the other?

Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know about DC and AC electric motors in Lubbock, TX.

AC motors

AC electric motors are most commonly run by an AC variable frequency drive. They work by applying alternating current (AC) power to the motor. While there are a few different parts that help the motor operate, the most important ones to know are the rotor and the stator.

The rotor rotates inside the motor coils and is attached to a shaft that produces torque via the rotating magnetic field. The stator has coils that are supplied with the alternating current, which produces that rotating magnetic field.

Within the category of AC motors, there are two primary subcategories of motors, those being induction motors (also referred to as asynchronous motors) and synchronous motors. Induction motors rely on the use of a magnetic field on the rotor of the induction motor that’s created by an induced current. The synchronous motor, meanwhile, rotates at the supply frequency or on a sub-multiple of that frequency.

Synchronous motors are able to operate in a very precise manner because they do not rely on induction. The magnetic field in that type of motor gets generated by current sent through slip rings or through a permanent magnet. Synchronous motors also run faster than induction motors because the speed of the asynchronous motor is reduced by its slip.

DC motors

DC electric motors, meanwhile, run based on direct current (DC) power and are mechanically commutated machines. These types of motors have a voltage-induced rotating armature winding, as well as a non-rotating armature field frame winding that is a permanent magnet or static field.

DC motors use different motor connections with regard to the field and armature windings that result in different torque and speed regulation. Compared to Ac motors, DC motors have speeds that can be controlled in the winding simply by changing up the voltage applied to the motor armature or by changing the field frame current.

Most of the DC motors that are used today have been designed to be controlled with electronic DC drives, typically found in industrial settings. DC motors are still widely used on an international scale, especially in the steel mill and paper production industries, but they are not necessarily as versatile as AC motors. They are generally used in applications where the motor needs external controls, whereas AC motors are best used in applications where power performance is needed for longer periods of time.

These are just a few examples of some of the most important differences that exist between DC and AC electric motors in Lubbock, TX. To learn more about these two basic kinds of motors and where they’re most likely to be used, contact M.B. McKee Company, Inc. today.

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