Studying the development of electrical machines is something that will interest any research paper writer. The Electrical motor as we see today, in various electrical devices, gave rise to significant advancements in the engineering and technological field following the discovery of electricity. These motors transform electrical energy into mechanical energy. And no doubt, these inventions have made life comfortable for humans. Little wonder how life would have been without these inventions. It would have been like Sir Thomas Edison’s period whereby the only use of electricity was to power bulbs and nothing more. To appreciate this invention, here is how the electrical machines have evolved.
1. Building the Foundation of the electric motor: Invention of Battery and Electromagnet
The building of electric motors received a significant boost following the invention of the battery, electromagnet, and production of the magnetic field from electric current. Most electrical devices cannot function without the motor.
Alessandro Volta developed the very first known battery, the voltaic pile, which consist of zinc and copper discs piled over each other but separated with a layer of cardboard or cloth soaked in a solution of brine. Hans Christian Oersted in the year 1820, made known the production of a magnetic field from electric current. William Sturgeon, on the other hand, developed the electromagnet in the year 1825.
2. Experimenting with electromagnetic devices
Many inventors made significant contributions in this era of electric device development. They include André-Marie Ampère, Michael Faraday, Peter Barlow, Istvan Jedlik, Johann Michael Ekling, Joseph Henry and the likes of William Ritchie. Each of these inventors was able to work independently to make what we have today regarding electrical machines possible.
Andre-Marie is famous for inventing the cylindrical coil (solenoid) in 1820, which is used to create the magnetic field. Andre founded the Ampere’s force law which is a simple principle that explains the production of mechanical force following the interaction of electric current and magnetic field.
Michael Faraday, in 1821, made Andre’s idea a reality. Faraday is widely known for his incredible electromagnetic induction discoveries. However, the invention by Andre became one of the most substantial breakthroughs in the electrical science field.
Michael Faraday was able to use electromagnetic means to demonstrate the transformation of electrical energy into mechanical energy. He did so by dipping a collection of wire hanging freely into mercury with a permanent magnet placed on it. The wire rotated around the magnet following the passing of electric current through it. It shows that passing electric current produced circular magnetic force around the wire.
3. Introducing the first commutator DC electronic motor
William Sturgeon invented the first commutator DC electric motor in 1832. Following this invention by Sturgeon, Thomas Davenport formulated a DC powered motor for commercial use. His motor was strong enough for different devices including a printing press. But because of the high cost of running the battery power, the machine was abandoned. Thomas also went bankrupt as a result.
4. Developing the first commercially viable machine
The year 1855 was a remarkable year concerning machine invention. Ányos Jedlik invented the first rotary machine with the use of electromagnets and commutator. But the inventor did not pursue nor develop his work further.
In 1871, Zenobe Gramme got the credit for introducing the first commercially viable machine. He produced an anchor ring dynamo that was able to address the double-T armature pulsating DC challenges. But in the year 1886, a famous inventor, Frank Julian Sprague came up with a DC motor. Interestingly, the machine is capable of maintaining a steady speed even when made to carry different loads.
A large number of inventors worked on projects involving the development of AC motors in the 1880s. For instance, Galileo Ferraris and Nikola Tesla invented the rotating AC motor, but their motor was considered too weak to be regarded as a commercial motor. In 1888, Tesla’s patent was acquired by George Westinghouse who also hired him to work on his project (transformers and motors). And according to the famous electrician of the company Assignmentgeek.com Alvin Burks, Tesla’s motors were considered unsuitable for street-cars as a result of the speed of the AC induction.
Sprague, a radical industrialist from the United States of America, went on to invent the first ever DC motor with consistent speed in 1886. A few years later, in 1889, Michael Dolivo-Dobrovosky, a Russian engineer, and inventor, produced the first known cage rotor version of the 3-phase induction motor. Interestingly, Michael Dolivo’s motors are still in use. He was able to build on Tesla and Ferraris’ idea but later went on to criticize their work.
5. Inventing motors for bigger machines
There was a need to develop more powerful motors that can power a lift or train. Alfred Zehden in the year 1905 described this linear induction motor. But it took close to three decades for another inventor, Kemper to develop the linear induction motor that Alfred was talking about, and made it available for commercial use. Laithwait later improved on it after some years.
Electrical machines are essential in our everyday life. They are available in different types and sizes and used for different purposes. These inventors worked day and night to make their ideas a reality. If they were reluctant, we would not have had these inventions today. Getting certain chores done would have been more challenging and time-consuming.