Adelaide Develops Super-efficient Pump Motors

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
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A new method for manufacturing electrical motors promises to have a major impact on power generation for water pumps.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide have developed electrical pump motors with remarkable levels of efficiency using new magnetic materials and production techniques.

The researchers turned to two recently developed magnetic materials in particular to ramp up the efficiency of electrical motors – the soft magnetic composite (SMC) and amorphous magnetic material (AMM). Innovative production techniques were then employed to manufacture the “stator” of the motor – the station and magnetic part of the device around the rotor which turns, from these two cutting-edge materials.

Nesimi Ertugrul

Nesimi Ertugrul

According to Nesimi Ertugrul, an associate professor from the University of Adelaide’s school of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, their new production method marks a major advance upon existing manufacturing techniques.

“Currently all commercial motors are made by pressing very thin metal sheets of silicon iron together and then stamping out the shape of the stator from the metal,” said Ertugrul. “This process is wasteful of the metal sheeting, and also limits the best use of available space for the copper wire needed in motors.”

Ertugrul said the new technique that he and his team have devised is a key to both the enhanced economy of the manufacturing process and the heightened efficiency of the finished product.

“We’ve produced new stators using SMC with no need for machining, no scrap metal and improved space utilisation for copper wire for greater power output,” he said.

The resulting motor is capable of remarkable efficiency levels compared to its conventional peers. The smaller motors achieve up to 90 per cent energy efficiency in small motors, while reducing the size required to produce a given output.

Ertugrul believes these compact, high efficiency motors could have major implications for modern power generation – particularly with respect to the water pumps employed for industry and irrigation purposes.

“In the developed world, more than 50 per cent of energy generated is used by electrical motors,” he said. “A significant portion of these motors are used to drive water pumps…for example, large buildings have multiple water pumps and every swimming pool has at least one water pump which runs for several hours a day, consuming a large amount of electrical energy.”

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