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Solar cars

A solar Car is a vehicle, which is powered by suns energy. A solar Car is a light weight, low power vehicle designed and built with a single purpose in mind racing. They have limited seating (usually one, sometimes two people), they have very little Cargo capacity, and they can only be driven during the day. It does, however, offer an excellent opportunity to develop future technologies that can be applied to practical applications.

Figure 1: Energy Flow Diagram of a Solar Car The main component of a solar Car is its solar array, consisting of photovoltaic cells, which collect the energy from the sun and converts it into

Solar cars

usable electrical energy. The energy is passed either to the battery for storage, or to the motor to run the Car, though a device called power tracker, which convert it into the required voltage. The decision on whether to transfer the power to the motor or battery is made by a small onboard computer called the motor controller. It is responsible for sending the electricity smoothly to the motor when the accelerator is depressed, controlling the torque that goes to the motor such that the Car maintains the desired speed. Some Cars also use a process called regenerative braking, which allows some of the kinetic energy stored in the vehicles translating mass to be stored in the battery when the Car is slowing down. A solar Car is made up of many components that have been integrated together so that they work as a single system. For the ease of explanation it has been broken down into five primary systems:

Driver Controls & Mechanical Systems Electrical System Drive Train Solar Array Body and Chassis

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Solar Cars do have some of the standard features found in conventional Cars, such as turn signals (front & rear), brake lights, accelerator, rear view mirrors, fresh air ventilation, and usually cruise control. The drivers and passengers are protected safety harnesses and helmets. Drivers and passengers can look forward to uncomfortable seats, cramped positioning, and high cockpit temperatures as these Cars have very few amenities for the driver. 2.1 REAR VISION: Mirrors mounted to a Car's exterior greatly increase aerodynamic drag; therefore, an out-of-thebox thinking is required to find a solution. SUNRUNNER, a solar Car developed by the University of Michigan in 1995, utilized a fibre optic cable connecting an eyepiece in the driver's area to a lens located in an aerodynamic fin mounted on top of the canopy. MAIZE & BLUE, a later model developed by the University, on the other hand, chose an electronic system consisting of a miniature camera installed in the Car's trailing edge and a pocket television in the driver's area. Some Cars also have externally mounted mirrors of mirrors within a bubble canopy. 2.2 VENTILATION: High temperatures are obviously bad for the driver (and passenger), but they are also bad for electrical and electronic components as high temperatures will generally reduce the efficiency and shorten the life of solar cells, batteries, motors, motor controllers and other electronic equipment.

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Figure 2: The comfortable interior temperature and air flow rate as a function of outside temperature Something like 10 kilograms of air would typically have to be provided every minute to approach passenger Car comfort levels. Obviously, that's seldom feasible in a solar Car due to the drag that it might impose on the vehicle, if such cooling flows are not also required by electrical, electronic and mechanical components of the vehicle. Vehicle designers usually use the same airflow several times over as it passes through the vehicle; for example cooling driver, electronics, electrics and motor sequentially. Placing a sizeable air inlet at the forward stagnation point of the vehicle minimises drag due to the opening. 'NACA ducts are an alternative for getting air into the Car if there's a reasonably-flat, external surface nearby that doesn't have significant divergent (or convergent) flow. The mechanical systems of a solar Car are designed to minimize friction and weight while maintaining the strength needed to handle the various road conditions. Lightweight metals like titanium and composites are commonly used to maximize the strength-to-weight ratio. It includes:

Solar cars

2.3 STEERING: The major design factors for steering are reliability and efficient performance. The steering system is designed with precise steering alignment because even small misalignments can cause significant losses and increase tire wear. Different Cars use different steering mechanisms depending on their budget and other considerations. The SUNRUNNER utilized a rack and pinion system that was attached to the steering arms by means of tie rods. TESSERACT, a single-seat high performance solar raceCar, uses a centre mounted handlebars, much like that on bicycles that connect to a rack-andpinion steering system. 2.4 BRAKES: To maximize efficiency, the brakes are designed to move freely, eliminating brake drag, which is caused by brake pads rubbing against the brake surface. Hydraulic disc brakes are commonplace in solar Cars because of their adjustability and good braking power. As a supplemental system, some teams have regenerative braking which allows some of the kinetic energy stored in the vehicles translating mass to be stored in the battery when the Car is slowing down. Here the Car's motor becomes a generator as regenerative braking is applied and adds energy to the batteries during deceleration. Both MAIZE& BLUE and SUNRUNNER had hydraulic disc brakes while only SUNRUNNER used regenerative braking. 2.5 SUSPENSION: Of the available front suspension variants, MacPhearson struts or double A arms are most common in solar Cars. A MacPhearson strut requires a large vertical clearance since it is positioned perpendicular to the ground.

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Double A arms require less vertical clearance, but consist of more components. Depending

upon the design a suitable one is chosen. The most common rear suspension is a trailing arm, similar to that found in motorcycles. Due to a single degree of motion, the trailing arm suspension allows for convenient packaging of dampers and the drivetrain. 2.6 WHEELS: Wheels, however, are the least efficient part of a solar Car due to rolling resistance. About one third of the energy used by a solar Car is lost due to this factor. Due to this limitation, contact with the ground should be minimized. Solar Cars typically have three or four wheels. The common three-wheel configuration is two front wheels and one rear wheel (usually the driven wheel). Four-wheel vehicles are sometimes configured like a conventional vehicle (with one of the rear wheels being driven). Other four-wheel vehicles have the two rear wheels close together near the centre (similar to the common three wheel configuration). Solar Car wheel designs are similar to those of bicycle tires. Generally, the wheel's rims and hubs are aluminium while the spokes are made of steel. A Mylar film is placed over the spokes to increase aerodynamic efficiency. Pneumatic tires are preferred over solid rubber tires because they weigh less and provide a smoother ride. The best tires currently available are the Bridgestone Ecopia tires made for solar Cars. They are very thin and operate at over one hundred pounds/inch pressure.

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The heart of a solar Car is the electrical system, which is made up of batteries and power electronics. Power electronics include the peak power trackers, the motor controller, and the data acquisition system. The primary function of the power electronics is to monitor and control the electricity within the system. 3.1 BATTERIES: A solar Car uses the battery pack to store energy, which will be at a later time. The battery pack is made up of several individual modules wired together to generate the required system voltage. The types of batteries used include:

Lead-Acid Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) Nickel-Cadmium (NiCad) Lithium Ion

The NiCad, NiMH, and Lithium batteries offer improved power to weight ratio over the more common Lead-Acid batteries, but are more costly to maintain. The battery pack is made up of several individual modules wired together to generate the required system voltage. Typically, teams use system voltages between 84 and 108 volts, depending on their electrical system. For example, Tesseract uses 512 li-ion batteries, broken down into twelve modules, which are each equivalent to a Car battery, but only weigh 5 lbs each. Through an

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innovative pack design, the batteries are ventilated with even airflow to minimize temperature differences between the modules.

3.2 PEAK POWER TRACKERS: The peak power trackers condition the electricity coming from the solar array to maximize the power and deliver it either to the batteries for storage or to the motor controller for propulsion. When the solar array is charging the batteries, the peak power trackers help to protect the batteries from being damaged by overcharging. Peak power trackers can be very lightweight and commonly reach efficiencies above 95%. A maximum power point tracker (MPPT) is a DC-DC converter that matches the output of a PV string to the battery voltage in a way that maximises the power generated by the PV string. The power generated by a PV string depends on the operating voltage. PV power increases steadily with operating voltage to a maximum, and then drops off rapidly as the voltage is increased further to the open-circuit voltage. A tracker allows the PV string to always operate at the most efficient point, independently of the battery voltage. For example, if your battery voltage is 100V and the ideal operating point for an array string is 2A x 120V = 240W, the tracker output will be 2.4A x 100V = 240W. In practice, there is always a small loss of 1-2% due to inefficiencies in the tracker electronics. MPPTs are of three types: down (buck) converters, which convert the PV voltage to a lower battery voltage;

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up (boost) converters, which convert the PV voltage to a higher battery voltage; and dual (buck-boost) converters, which will convert either way, though usually with a penalty in efficiency.

3.2.1 FINDING THE MAXIMUM POWER POINT: There are two methods to find the maximum power point. 1. Open-circuit voltage tracking: The tracker periodically measures the open circuit voltage, VOC, of the PV string, then sets the operating voltage to Vmp = k VOC, where k is a constant. The method is simple, and reasonably effective. This method is used by AERL trackers. 2. Power tracking: The tracker measures changes in output power as it makes small changes to the operating point, and adjusts the operating point to maximise output power. 3.3 MOTOR CONTROLLERS: This component performs the complex task of deciding how much current actually reaches the motor at a given time. This determination of current by the motor controller allows the Car to accelerate, decelerate, or stay at a constant speed. The better motor controllers are up to 90% efficient. 3.4 TELEMETRY: A team's telemetry system is used for data acquisition. A commercial or custom system monitors conditions such as speed, battery voltage, power collection and consumption, and motor temperature. The system then relays that information to the driver and team strategists. Most telemetry systems allow for

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two-way data transmissions and are based on microcontrollers and radio modems.

The drive train will consist of the electric motor and the means by which the motor's power is transmitted to the wheel causing the vehicle to move. Due to the low amount of power generated (less than 5 hp) usually only one wheel in the rear of the Car is driven by the electric motor. The motor types that have been used in solar Cars include

brushed DC motors DC brushless motors induction motors

DC brushless motors are commonplace in solar Car racing. Rare-earth, permanent magnets mounted on the rotor, reacts to magnetic fields produced by the motor's windings. Three-phase windings allow the rotor remain at constant torque. A motor controller sends signals to the windings, regulating the magnetic field around the rotor. The most common type of motor used in solar Cars is the dual-winding DC brushless. It is fairly lightweight and can reach efficiencies of 98% at their rated rpm. The dual-winding motor is sometimes used as an electronic transmission. Switching between the dual windings changes the speed rating of the motor. The low speed windings provide high torque for starting and passing, while the high speed windings have higher efficiencies and are best for cruising.


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There are several variations of two basic types of transmissions used in solar Cars. 1. 2. 3. single reduction direct drive variable ratio belt drive hub motor

In the past, the most common type was the direct drive transmission where the motor is connected to the wheel through a chain or belt with a single gear reduction. This is a reliable and easily maintained transmission if special Care is taken when aligning the components. Efficiencies above 75% can be achieved when designed properly. For a variable ratio belt drive, gear ratio changes as the speed of the motor increases. This gives the motor more starting torque at lower speeds, but still allows the Car to run efficiently at higher speeds. Variable belt drives require precise alignment and Careful setup to work efficiently. A hub motor eliminates the need for any external transmission because the motor shaft is connected directly to the wheel hub. This greatly increases the efficiency of the drive train and reduces the number of moving parts necessary to drive the wheel. A hub motor uses low rpm to account for the lack of gear reduction, which tends to drop their efficiency slightly, but they still can achieve efficiencies in excess of 95%.


Solar cars

The energy from the sun strikes the earth throughout the entire day. However, the amount of energy changes due to the time of day, weather conditions and geographic location. The amount of available solar energy is known as the solar insolation or irradiance and is most commonly measured in watts per meter squared or W / m 2.

Figure 3: Typical solar insolation for a sunny day. Solar irradiance is generally modelled as having three components: direct beam irradiance,


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diffuse irradiance, from the sky, and reflected irradiance, from the ground.

The sum of these components is called global irradiance. The irradiance that will fall on a surface depends on the many factors, including: the day of the year the position of the sun in the sky the inclination of the surface cloud cover.

These factors should be taken into account while designing the solar array.


Solar cars

Solar cells or photovoltaics collect the energy from the sun and converts it into usable electrical energy. They are made from silicon by joining an n-type and a p-type silicon semiconductor, creating an electron rich and an electron poor layer. When sunlight strikes the cell, photons cause atoms of the semiconductor to free electrons, leaving behind positive charges. The flow of electrons thus created constitutes an electromotive force that drives the current to charge a battery or power a motor. The cell's positive contact is on the bottom while the negative contact, or bus bar, is located on the top of the cell. Each cell produces approximately .5 volts and 3 amps of current. Connecting the cells in series, i.e., positive to negative, increases voltage. Parallel connections, i.e., negative to negative and positive to positive, increase current. Therefore, connecting the cells in various series and parallel configurations produces modules of different voltages and currents.


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Figure 4: Schematic Diagram of a Solar

Figure 5: Solar Cell Diagram Cells can be grouped into space grade and terrestrial grade categories: Space grade cells are up to 29% efficient, and are used mainly in satellite production due to their high cost. These high efficiency cells cost in excess of $500 per square inch. Terrestrial grade cells having a efficiency of 14%, are much cheaper causing them to be the cells of choice for solar Cars. Each


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cell measures 10cm x 10cm, costs approximately $6.00, and produces 1.5 watts of power. A large number of solar cells are wired together to form a solar array. The entire solar cells together form the solar array. Solar cells should also be divided into several zones. For example, if you have 750 solar cells, you might want to wire 3 sets of 250 cells, each zone producing about 125 volts. If one zone fails, two other zones are still producing power. SUNRUNNER'S array consisted of 14,057 razor blade sized, 16% efficient space grade cells. The cells are extremely fragile. So many engineers put them through a process called encapsulation. Doing so strengthens solar cell durability, but decreases the efficiency. Encapsulation is the process of coating the cells with a tougher material like resins or sandwiching it between two sheets of fibre glass,

which prevents the cells from being damaged. For cells 14% efficient, encapsulation would reduce the overall efficiency to12.5%.


6.1. 1 I-V CURVES AND SERIES MISMATCH: All silicon solar cells put out a voltage of about 0.5V. This is because they're a kind of diode, and this is analogous to the forward break over voltage of the diode. Now, if you have several cells in series and they're all the same they'll all give the same current, and the voltage from all the cells will add up neatly. But they're not all the same. The silicon is doped very subtly differently from cell to cell, or the purity of the silicon varies, or different cells are at different temperatures. Ss some cells will give more current than others. In a


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series string, they can't because all the cells are constrained to give exactly the same current. This will cause many of our cells to run sub-optimally. So after the cells are tabbed, they are measured, and grouped like with like. 6.1. 2 CURVED ARRAYS: The next hazard is curves on the array. Many arrays are not perfectly flat, which means that not all cells are receiving the same amount of sunlight. They have to be arranged in such a way that all the cells in the strings receive approximately the same illumination. A common way to achieve this would be to run each string parallel to the long axis of the Car, so that all the cells in a string are pointing in approximately the same direction. Several strings are often wired together to form a section or panel that has a voltage close to the nominal battery voltage.

6.1. 3 SHADOWS AND BROKEN CELLS: Sometimes there will be shadows on the array. This could be caused by the driver bubble, or by trees or other obstructions near the road, or by passing traffic. When a cell in a string is shaded, its output goes down. Since the other cells continue to force current through it, this cell actually dissipates power instead of generating, and it gets dissipated as heat. Now that this cell is warmer, it's less efficient than the others, and so even when the light comes back, it'll want to generate less current, which means it'll wind up dissipating some power as heat. This is called Thermal runaway. This is prevented in the following way: Every cell (or, more often, every small group of cells) has a diode across it. When a cell in that group is shaded, current flows through the diode. If you have 60 cells in your string, and they're in groups of 6, then when a single cell is shaded, your output voltage will drop by 10%, as the bypass diode for that


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group comes into play, and your current output will drop not at all. This is better than having your voltage drop 0.6V for the dark cell, and having your current output drop by some large amount, as current is forced through the dark cell. The other time that the bypass diodes come in handy is when a cell gets damaged. This may be due to a stone being flicked up from the road, a camera falling out of someone's pocket or a small child running up the array. The damaged cell may go open-circuit, meaning that without the bypass diode, output from the string would drop to zero. With the bypass, output drops only proportionately to the percentage of cells bypassed.

To put the limitations of a solar Car in perspective, a simple calculation will suffice. Only 1000 W/m2 of energy reaches the earths surface in an hour of peak sun. This term can be thought of as the amount of sunlight that reaches a sunny area on cloudless, summer day around noon. An average solar array configuration span 8m, meaning the total amount of energy hitting the solar Car during peak sun is 8KWh/m2. Of this energy, average solar cells are only able to convert 12.5% to electricity. As a result, the total amount of converted energy available to a Car consists of 1 KW/h, approximately the same amount of energy used to run a hairdryer. With Cars running on 700-1500 Watts, efficiency is hypercritical. Therefore, advances in all aspects of engineering, from mechanical to electrical to materials and computer science are the key. The three primary areas of

Solar cars

energy loss consist of aerodynamic drag, braking, and rolling resistance. To minimize aerodynamic drag, engineers make solar cells as sleek as possible. Rolling resistance is proportional to weight. Hence solar Cars should be engineered to be very light.


The most distinctive part of solar Cars is their bodies. The sleek and exotic shapes are eye catching. The main goals when designing the body are to minimize the aerodynamic drag, maximize the exposure to solar insolation, minimize weight, and maximize safety.


Solar cars

Figure 6: Body and Chassis of a Solar Car


Although Cars differ in design, their shapes can be grouped into four categories. A unified aero body and panel allows for a small frontal area, low weight, and a wide range of visibility around the canopy. Fixed or tilting, flat panels with a separate driver cab are simple, lightweight, and inexpensive to construct; however, aerodynamic efficiency is compromised due to exposed suspension components and vulnerability to cross winds. Catamaran shapes offer reduced frontal area and low aerodynamic drag. For north/south race routes, the curved array becomes very powerful in the early morning and late afternoon as the sun travels across the horizon. Finally, are uniquely designed vehicles whose aerodynamic efficiency and power collection capabilities differ from design to design. MAIZE & BLUE and SUNRUNNER were catamaran shaped.


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Figure 8: Body shapes of common solar Cars

Generally, there are three types of chassis used in solar Cars: 1. 2. 3. space frame semi-monocoque or Carbon beam monocoque

A space frame uses a welded tube structure to support the loads and the body. The body is a lightweight, non-load bearing, composite shell that is attached to the chassis separately. The semi-monocoque or Carbon beam chassis uses composite beams and bulkheads to support the loads and is integrated into a non-load bearing composite belly pan. The top sections of the Car are often separate body pieces that are attached to the belly pan. A monocoque chassis uses the body structure to support the loads. Many solar Cars use a combination of the chassis categories mentioned above. The image


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above is an example of a semi-monocoque chassis with an integrated space frame used to protect the driver.

A composite material is the combination of a filler material sandwiched between layers of a structural material. Carbon fibre, Kevlar and fibreglass are common composite structural materials. Honeycomb and foam are common composite filler materials. These materials are bonded together using epoxy resins and in the cases of Kevlar and Carbon fibre, can obtain impressive strengths (equal to steel) but remain very lightweight. SUNRUNNER used Kevlar as the fabric with a Nomex honeycomb spacer while MAIZE& BLUE used Carbon fibre fabric.

There are several characteristics that a commercially viable Car must have. Commercial Cars typical can hold at least 4 passengers. It must be extremely reliable, comfortable, and be able to function on its own. It must also be able to maintain the required speed. In addition, commercial Cars typically have amenities such as air conditioning, radio, and power locks and windows. Solar vehicles when driven on highways, experienced many flat tires and often were incapable of maintaining highway speeds of fifty-five miles per hour. With


Solar cars

the energy available to solar Cars, the type of amenities described above is impossible. The Car is also a very cramped one. Hence it failed to break into the commercial Car market as of now


One plausible market for solar vehicles is a terrestrial application of the rovers that NASA uses in space for data collection in a hot, sun rich area where manual labor is difficult. The vehicles would recharge autonomously, and the drivers discomfort would not be an issue because there would not be a driver. In addition, these vehicles could be kept lightweight and simple without a need for too many amenities. 10.1.1 CARRY-OVER OF EXPERTISE: The solar Car rush brought substantial advances to the design of electric vehicles, starting with the use of solar power. It led to better motors, better use of batteries, and better motor controller design which have been adopted by some electrical vehicle manufacturers. 10.1.2 COMPOSITE HULL CAR:


Solar cars

Another key area that has been charging ahead is the composite hull Car. Composites were not only lighter, but they also made Cars safer than their steel counterparts. 10.1.3 HARNESSING SOLAR POWER Solar Cars also helped spread the word about the use of harnessing solar power. By spreading the word about solar energy in this exciting way, the Cars contributed to the rise in the use of solar cells for other, more practical uses. Lastly, it created a sport that has an educational as well as a social benefit.


Whatever be its limitations, the future is definitely full of promise for the solar Cars. It took us about a hundred years after electricity was invented, to develop a commercially viable electric vehicle. Similarly solar Cars too need a suitable incubation period, to successfully foray into the commercial vehicle segment. With the crude prices hitting upwards of $50 a barrel and still looking bullish, it is certain that the current preference for petroleum based automobiles will change in the not too distant future. The solar Car with no fuel expenses will certainly be preferred for short distance commutation in the future. Though it may offer only a significantly reduced performance compared to the conventional vehicle it will then be looked upon as a cost effective option. Also, there are many areas of the solar Car, which can be improved upon, starting with the solar array. At present the solar array is only 12.5% efficient.


Solar cars

What would be the case if it were made atleast 50% efficient? Im sure that much of the current problems in solar Cars can be overcome.

DC Motor Faradays used oersteds discovered, that electricity could be used to produce motion, to build the world first electric motor in 1821. Ten years later, using the same logic in reverse, faraday was interested in getting the motion produced by oersteds experiment to be continuous, rather then just a rotatory shift in position. In his experiments, faraday thought in terms of magnetic lines of force. He visualized how flux lines existing around a current carrying wire and a bar magnet. He was then able to produce a device in which the different lines of force could interact a produce continues rotation. The basic faradays motor uses a free-swinging wire that circles around the end of a bar magnet. The bottom end of the wire is in a pool of mercury. Which allows the wire to rotate while keeping a complete electric circuit.


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Although Faraday's motor was ingenious. It could not be used to do any practical work. This is because its drive shaft was enclosed and it could only produce an internal orbital motion. It could not transfer its mechanical energy to the outside for deriving an external load. However it did show how the magnetic fields of a conductor and a magnet could be made to interact to produce continuous motion. Faradays motor orbited its wire rotor must pass through the magnets lines of force.


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When a current is passes through the wire ,circular lines of force are produced around the wire. Those flux lines go in a direction described by the left-hand rule. The lines of force of the magnet go from the N pole to the S pole You can see that on one side of the wire, the magnetic lines of force are going in the opposite direction as a result the wire, s flux lines oppose the magnets flux line since flux lines takes the path of least resistance, more lines concentrate on the other side of the wire conductor, the lines are bent and are very closely spaced. The lines tend to straighten and be wider spaced. Because of this the denser, curved field pushes the wire in the opposite direction.

The direction in which the wire is moved is determined by the right hand rule. If the current in the wire went in the opposite direction. The direction of its flux lines would reverse, and the wire would be pushed the other way.


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Rules for motor action

The left hand rule shows the direction of the flux lines around a wire that is carrying current. When the thumb points in the direction of the magnetic lines of force. The right hand rule for motors shows the direction that a current carrying wire will be moved in a magnetic field. When the forefinger is pointed in the direction of the magnetic field lines, and the centre finger is pointed in the direction of the current in the wire the thumb will point in the direction that the wire will be moved.


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In the basic action you just studied the wire only moves in a straight line and stops moving once out of the field even though the current is still on. A practical motor must develop a basic twisting force called torque loop. We can see how torque is produced. If the loop is connected to a battery. Current flows in one direction one side of the loop, and in the opposite direction on the other. Therefore the concentric direction on the two sides. If we mount the loop in a fixed magnetic field and supply the current the flux lines of the field and both sides of the loop will interact,


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causing the loop to act like a lever with a force pushing on its two sides in opposite directions. The combined forces result in turning force, or torque because the loop is arranged to piot on its axis. In a motor the loop that moves in the field is called an armature or rotor. The overall turning force on the armature depends upon several factors including field strength armature current strength and the physical construction of the armature especially the distance from the loop sides to the axis lines. Because of the lever action the force on the sides are further from the axis; thus large armature will produce greater torques.


Solar cars In the practical motor the torque determines the energy available for doing useful work. The greater the torque the greater the energy. If a motor does not develop enough torque to pull its load it stalls.

Producing Continuous Rotation

The armature turns when torque is produced and torque is produced as long as the fields of the magnet and armature interact. When the loop reaches a position perpendicular to the field, the interaction of the magnetic field stops. This position is known as the neutral plane. In the neutral plane, no torque is produced and the rotation of the armature should stop; however inertia tends to keep a moving object in the motion even after the prime moving force is removed and thus the armature tends to rotate past the neutral plane. But when the armature continues o the sides of the loop


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start to swing back in to the flux lines, and apply a force to push the sides of the loop back and a torque is developed in the opposite direction. Instead of a continuous rotation an oscillating motion is produced until the armature stops in the neutral plane.


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To get continuous rotation we must keep the armature turning in the same direction as it passes through the neutral plane .We could do this by reversing either the direction of the current flow through the armature at the instant the armature goes through the neutral pole. Current reversals of this type are normally the job of circuit switching devices. Since the switch would have to be synchronized with the armature, it is more logical to build it into the armature then in to the field. The practical switching device, which can change the direction of current flow through an armature to maintain continuous rotation, is called a commutator.



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For the single-loop armature, the commutator is simple. It is a conducting ring that is split into two segment with each segment connected to an end of the armature loop. Power for the armature from an external power source such as a battery is brought to the commutator segments by means of brushes. The arrangement is almost identical to that for the basic dc generator. The logic behind the operation of the commutator is easy to see in the figures. You can see in figure A that current flows into the side of the armature closest to the South Pole of the field and out of the side closest to the North Pole. The interaction of the two fields produces a torque in the direction indicated, and the armature rotates in that direction. No torque is produced but the armature continues to rotate past the neutral plane due to inertia. Notice that at the neutral position the commutator disconnects from the brushes sides of the loop reverse positions. But the switching action of the commutator keeps the direction of current flow through the armature the same as it was in the figure. A. Current still flows into the armature side that is now closest to the South Pole. Since the magnets field direction remains the same throughout the interaction of fields after commutation keeps the torque going in the original direction; thus the same direction of rotation is maintained.
As you can see in figure D, Inertia again carries the armature past neutral to the position shown in the fig. A while communication keeps the current flowing in the direction that continues to maintain rotation. In this way, the commutator keeps switching the current through the loop, so that the field it produces always interacts with the pole field to develop a continuous torque in the same direction.


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At this point, you have been introduced to the four principal parts that make up the elementary D.C motor. These parts are the same as those you met in your study of the basic D.C generator .a magnetic field, a movable conductor, a commutator and brushes. In practice, the magnetic field can be supplied by a permanent magnet or by an electromagnet. For most discussions covering various motor operating principles, we will assume that a permanent magnet is used at other times when it is important for you to understand that the field of the motor is develop electrically, we will show that an electromagnet is used. In either case, the magnetic field itself consists of magnetic flux lines that form a closed magnetic circuit. The flux lines leave the north pole of the magnet, extend across the air gap between the poles of the magnet, enter the South Pole and then travel through the magnet itself back to the north pole. The movable conductor, usually a loop, called armature, therefore is in the magnetic field. When D.C motor is supplied to the armature through the brushes and commutator, magnetic flux is also build up around the armature. It is this armature flux that interacts with the magnetic field in which the armature is suspended to develop the torque that makes the motor operate.


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The solar Cars are used exclusively for racing in tournaments, at present. Though they have been around for about twenty five years now, the technology is still in the developmental stages. Hence they can not be used as a practical means of transport. The challenge lies in making it a viable means of transport. Further research is needed in this regard to improve solar panels, reduce weight, to improve reliability and to reduce the cost. Research is being Carried out on many semi-conductors and their alloys to develop more efficient solar cells. It can be safely assumed that with the advent of mass production there would be greatly reduced. Thus this technology will definitely live up to its potential some time in the future.


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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.