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Material Science Meets Engineering Education While Building An Induction Pulse Electric Motor

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Hands-on Materials Science and Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.868.1 - 13.868.5



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Paper Authors


John Marshall University of Southern Maine

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John Marshall is the Industrial Power and Energy Coordinator at the University of Southern Maine. His areas of specializations include Power and Energy Processing, Electronic Control Systems, Automation, and Plant Layout / Material Handling.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Material Science Meets Engineering Education While Building an Induction Pulse Electric Motor


This is an excellent design and fabrication project that can be used in introductory engineering classes to teach motor principles as well as material selection. The basic concept of this activity was originally developed by Beakman’s World, and I have improved it over the past ten years while teaching motor principles at the university level. Standard Radio Shack materials can be used. One of the most important improvements is replacing the paperclip based motor cradle for one made from copper wire.

The primary objective of this project is to gain an understanding of electric motor principles; and the materials needed to convert electricity and magnetism into motion. Keywords related to this project include: conductors; insulators; enamel; magnetism; electromagnet; and motor principles. Only a very basic knowledge of electricity and magnetism are needed as a prerequisite.

When being utilized as a “materials” experiment, students can experiment with conductors other than copper (such as aluminum and steel) and detect slower (less efficient) motor operation.

Low Voltage Direct Current Electric Motor Operation

Heavy gauge copper wire is used to fabricate the coil cradle, and the cradle is attached to a standard “D” size battery with elastic bands. After winding the motor coil, we remove insulation from two locations with sandpaper and assemble the device.

When the un-insulted parts of the coil make contact with the cradle, current flows through the coil, making it into an electromagnet. Since magnets attract, the coil attempts to align itself with the magnet. However, when the coil turns to face the magnet, contact is broken, and the magnetic field collapses. Inertia causes the coil to continue around until contact is reestablished and the process repeats itself. In other words, the motor revolves continuously.

Marshall, J. (2008, June), Material Science Meets Engineering Education While Building An Induction Pulse Electric Motor Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4018

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