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An Inexpensive Hands-on Introduction to Permanent Magnet Direct Current Motors

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Mechatronics in the Curriculum

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.177.1 - 22.177.14



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Paper Authors


Garrett M. Clayton Villanova University

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Dr. Garrett M. Clayton received his B.S.M.E. from Seattle University and his M.S.M.E. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington (Seattle). He is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Villanova University. His research interests focus on mechatronics, specifically modeling and control of scanning probe microscopes and unmanned vehicles.

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Rebecca A. Stein University of Pennsylvania

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Rebecca Stein is the Associate Director of Research and Educational Outreach in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Masters in Technology Management from Villanova University. Her background and work experience is in K-12 engineering education initiatives. Rebecca has spent the past five years involved in STEM high school programs at Villanova University and The School District of Philadelphia. Additionally, she has helped coordinate numerous robotics competitions such as BEST Robotics, FIRST LEGO League, and MATE.

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An Inexpensive Hands-on Introduction to DC MotorsDC motors are an important curricular component in most freshman and sophomore introductionto mechanical engineering (ME) courses. In order to facilitate a hands on introduction to DCmotors, an inexpensive DC motor experiment has been developed that gives students anopportunity to build a permanent magnet DC motor from common office items (erasers,paperclips, pencils, rubber bands, etc.) along with a few inexpensive components such as acylindrical tube (such as a film canister) and a pair of magnets. The novelty of the presented DCmotor experiment is that it incorporates all aspects of a typical DC motor including, acommutator and brushes. In this paper, the experiment is presented, along with step-by-stepinstructions on how to build the DC motor. This is followed by preliminary results from smallgroups of sophomore students who were asked to take part in this exercise. 

Clayton, G. M., & Stein, R. A. (2011, June), An Inexpensive Hands-on Introduction to Permanent Magnet Direct Current Motors Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17458

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