When the coil is positioned as shown in Figure 10- 281A, current will flow from the negative terminal of the battery to the negative (-) brush, to segment B of the commutator, through the loop to segment A of the commutator, to the positive (+) brush, and then, back to the positive terminal of the battery. By using the right-hand motor rule, it is seen that the coil will rotate counterclockwise. The torque at this position of the coil is maximum, since the greatest number of lines of force is being cut by the coil.
When the coil has rotated 90° to the position shown in Figure 10-281B, segments A and B of the commutator no longer make contact with the battery circuit and no current can flow through the coil. At this position, the torque has reached a minimum value, since a minimum number of lines of force are being cut. However, the momentum of the coil carries it beyond this position until the segments again make contact with the brushes, and current again enters the coil; this time, though, it enters through segment A and leaves through segment B. However, since the positions of segments A and B have also been reversed, the effect of the current is as before, the torque acts in the same direction, and the coil continues its counterclockwise rotation.
On passing through the position shown in Figure 10- 281C, the torque again reaches maximum.
Continued rotation carries the coil again to a position of minimum torque, as in Figure 10-281D. At this position, the brushes no longer carry current, but once more the momentum rotates the coil to the point where current enters through segment B and leaves through A. Further rotation brings the coil to the starting point and, thus, one revolution is completed.
The switching of the coil terminals from the positive to the negative brushes occurs twice per revolution of the coil.
The torque in a motor containing only a single coil is neither continuous nor very effective, for there are two positions where there is actually no torque at all. To overcome this, a practical DC motor contains a large number of coils wound on the armature. These coils are so spaced that, for any position of the armature, there will be coils near the poles of the magnet. This makes the torque both continuous and strong. The commutator, likewise, contains a large number of segments instead of only two.
The armature in a practical motor is not placed between the poles of a permanent magnet but between those of an electromagnet, since a much stronger magnetic field can be furnished. The core is usually made of a mild or annealed steel, which can be magnetized strongly by induction. The current magnetizing the electromagnet is from the same source that supplies the current to the armature.
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