AC Motor

 As in the DC motor case, a current is passed through the coil, generating a torque on the coil. Since the current is alternating, the motor will run smoothly only at the frequency of the sine wave. It is called a synchronous motor. More common is the induction motor, where electric current is induced in the rotating coils rather than supplied to them directly.

One of the drawbacks of this kind of AC motor is the high current which must flow through the rotating contacts. Sparking and heating at those contacts can waste energy and shorten the lifetime of the motor. In common AC motors the magnetic field is produced by an electromagnet powered by the same AC voltage as the motor coil. The coils which produce the magnetic field are sometimes referred to as the "stator", while the coils and the solid core which rotates is called the "armature". In an AC motor the magnetic field is sinusoidally varying, just as the current in the coil varies.

 How does a motor work? AC Generator Generator and Motor DC Motor
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AC Generator

The turning of a coil in a magnetic field produces motional emfs in both sides of the coil which add. Since the component of the velocity perpendicular to the magnetic field changes sinusoidally with the rotation, the generated voltage is sinusoidal or AC. This process can be described in terms of Faraday's law when you see that the rotation of the coil continually changes the magnetic flux through the coil and therefore generates a voltage.

 Voltage generation detail AC Motor Generator and Motor DC Motor
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Generator and Motor

A hand-cranked generator can be used to generate voltage to turn a motor. This is an example of energy conversion from mechanical to electrical energy and then back to mechanical energy.

As the motor is turning, it also acts as a generator and generates a "back emf". By Lenz's law, the emf generated by the motor coil will oppose the change that created it. If the motor is not driving a load, then the generated back emf will almost balance the input voltage and very little current will flow in the coil of the motor. But if the motor is driving a heavy load, the back emf will be less and more current will flow in the motor coil and that electric power being used is converted to the mechanical power to drive the load.

 Demonstration AC Motor AC Generator DC Motor
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DC Circuits

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