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# Voltage buildup in a DC shunt generator

Valeri Ougrinovski
Session 1, 2001

Shunt generators have a distinct advantage over separately excited dc generators in that no external
power supply is required for the field circuit.
IA
RA
+
-

EA

IL
+

RF

IF

LF

VT
-

The voltage buildup in a dc shunt generator depends on the presence of a residual flux in the poles
of the generator. When the generator first starts to turn, an internal voltage will be generated which is
given by
EA = Kres .
This voltage appears at the terminals of the generator. But when this voltage appears at the terminals,
it causes a current to flow in the generators field coil. Note that there is no load connected to the
terminals, hence the field current IF is only current caused by the voltage EA . This field current
produces a magnetomotive force in the poles, which increases the flux in them. The increase in flux
causes an increase in EA and so on.
This process can be modeled mathematically using a differential equation. Since the internal
voltage EA , the flux in the machine and the field current IF change while the voltage is building up,
these quantities should be treated as time-varying variables:
EA = EA (t),

= (t),

IF = IF (t).

## At no-load, the transient behavior of a shunt generator is described by the equations:

EA = VT + RA IA
IA = IF + IL = IF
d
VT = RF IF + NF
dt
NF dEA
= RF IF +

;
K dt
1

(1)

## AELE.3514 Power and Machines, 2001

see the schematics above. Here, NF is the number of turns in the field coil. In the last equation, we
take into account the fact that during the voltage buildup, the flux in the machine is time-changing.
Hence, this flux induces a voltage across the inductor LF . This voltage must be included in the KVL
equation.
After some algebra, equations (1) can be reduced to the following differential equation:
NF dEA

K dt

## = EA (RA + RF )IF (EA ),

(2)

Here IF (EA ) is the function which expresses the field current versus the internal generated voltage
EA . This function is an inverse function to the function EA = EA (IF ) which is based on the dc
magnetization curve; see the figure given below.
IF=IF(EA)
10

250

200

Field current

EA=EA(IF)
300

150
100

4
2

50
0

4
6
Field current

10

100
200

300

The initial condition for the differential equation (2) is given by the initial internal voltage value
EA (0) = Kres .

(3)

The nonlinear differential equation (2) can be analyzed using the linearization technique1
The steady-state solution of the differential equation corresponds to EdtA = 0. This is the point of
equilibrium where the right-hand side of the differential equation equals to zero:
EA = (RA + RF )IF (EA ),

or

IF (EA ) =

EA
.
RA + RF

Graphically, the solution to the above equation can be found as the point where the straight line
A
intersects the curve IF = IF (EA ); see the graph given below.
IF = RAE+R
F
1

Linearization is a technique which allows one to study stability of steady-state solutions of differential equations. This
technique is introduced and explained in the Control Theory course. Students are assumed to be familiar with this technique.

10

9
IF(EA)
8

## Field current IF,

4
resistor line

EA/(RA+RF)

3
Critical resistor line
2

50

100

150

200

250

300

EA, Volts

From the above figure, one can notice that there is a critical value of the field resistance at which
A
the slope of the curve IF (EA ) at the origin and the slope of the line IF = RAE+R
are equal. Note
F
0
that the slope of the curve IF (EA ) at the origin is given by IF (0). Hence, the critical field resistance
is determined by the equation
1
= IF0 (0)
RA + RF

i.e.,

RF,critical =

1
IF0 (0)

RA .

Furthermore, if RF < RF,critical , and therefore the slope of the straight line is greater than the
1
slope of the curve IF (EA ), RA +R
> IF0 (0), then there are two solutions to the equation EA =
F
(RA + RF )IF (EA ):

EA = 0 and EA = EA
6= 0;
can be found numerically if necessary. These points are the equilibrium points of the
the value of EA
differential equation (2).
1
Alternatively, if RF RF,critical and RA +R
< IF0 (0), then the straight line goes all the way
F
A
below the curve IF (EA ). In this case the curve IF (EA ) is intercepted by the line IF = RAE+R
at the
F
origin only. Hence, in this case the differential equation has a unique equilibrium:

EA = 0.
We now investigate the behavior of the solution of the differential equation (2) with initial conA will denote
dition (3) about each equilibrium using the linearization technique. In what follows, E

the variable of the linearized equation. Usually, this variable is defined as EA = EA EA,equilibrium .
Hence, the linearized equation will always have the equilibrium located at the origin.
Case RF < RF,critical .

## A = EA . The linearized equation is

Linearization about EA = 0. Let E
A
N F dE

K dt

A (1 (RA + RF )I 0 (0)).
= E
F

## AELE.3514 Power and Machines, 2001

1
has a slope steeper than that of
Since RF < RF,critical , then at EA = 0, the straight line RF +R
A
1
A = EA > 0
the curve IF (EA ). That is, RF +RA > IF0 (0). Thus, for any initial internal voltage E
A
dE
dt

> 0 and hence, the equilibrium EA = 0 of the underlying differential equation is unstable.
. Let E
A = EA E . The linearized equation is
A
A
N F dE

K dt

A (1 (RA + RF )I 0 (E )).
= E
F
A

## is steeper than that of the straight line:

The slope of the curve IF (EA ) at EA = EA

IF0 (EA
)>

1
.
RF + RA

A
A
dE

Thus, dE
dt < 0 if EA > 0, i.e., EA > EA and also, dt > 0 if EA < 0 i.e., EA < EA . Hence, the
is stable.
equilibrium EA = EA
.
Since the initial voltage EA (0) = Kresidual is very low, it can be assumed that EA (0) < EA
.
Therefore, EA will increase as t until EA EA

Case RF RF,critical . In this case, we linearize about EA = 0 only as this is a unique equilibA = EA . The linearized equation is
rium. Let E
A
N F dE

K dt

A (1 (RA + RF )I 0 (0)).
= E
F

Since RF > RF,critical , then the slope of the curve IF (EA ) at EA = 0 goes all the way above the
A > 0, we have dEA < 0. That is, the voltage EA decays to zero.
straight line. In this case, for any E
dt
Hence, the equilibrium EA = 0 is stable. Voltage does not build up in this case.

## The steady-state operation of a loaded generator is described by the equations:

EA = VT + IA RA
VT

= RF IF

IA = IL + IF .
From these equations,
RA IL = EA (RA + RF )IF
That is, the RA IL is the voltage gap between the no load voltage and the voltage drop across RA and
RF caused by the field current IF ; see the graph below.

## AELE.3514 Power and Machines, 2001

300

250

200
Resistor line (R +R ) I
A

150

100
R I voltage
A

50

10

Using this graph, the graph VT versus IL can be obtained using the following transformations:
1. Produce the graph IL versus IF by dividing the previous graph by RA ;
IL

150

VT

100
R I voltage
A L

50

2. Produce the graph IF versus IL by swapping the coordinate axes (mirroring the graph about
45 axis).
I

IL

IL

V 150
T

100

50
I

IL