An electric motor is a device used to convert electricity into mechanical energy—opposite to an electric generator. They operate using principles of electromagnetism, which shows that a force is applied when an electric current is present in a magnetic field. This force creates a torque on a loop of wire present in the magnetic field, which causes the motor to spin and perform useful work. Motors are used in a wide range of applications, such as fans, power tools, appliances, electric vehicles, and hybrid cars.
Motors have many different working parts in order for them to continually rotate, providing power as needed. Motors can run off of direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC), and both have their benefits and drawbacks. For the purpose of this article a DC motor will be analyzed, to read about AC motors, click here.
The main parts of a DC motor include:
Figure 3: A basic setup of a DC motor.
Figure 4: An animation of the motor in action. The commutator rotates in order for the rotor to spin continuously.