How Does a Motor Work?


Are There Different Types of Motors?

  • The basic definition of a motor is a mechanical device that is capable of producing some kind of energy from a different input type of energy. This means that there are many, many different types of motors. There are electrical motors, steam engines, combustion engines, air-powered motors, jet engines and dozens of other varieties. All of these different types of motors work in differing ways but they all have similarities as well.

How Does a Motor Work?

  • The basic process by which motors work is the conversion of one type of energy into another form of energy via a mechanical process. In an internal combustion engine, for example, a combustible fuel is pumped into the motor, mixed with oxygen and then ignited. The explosive force that results is then used to drive pistons. The motion of the pistons are then used to generate motive force of some variety. This is how a motor in a car works. Of course, other kinds of motors can work in very different ways.

What Applications do Motors Serve?

  • There is really no element of modern society that could exist as it does today without motors. Motors are used for transportation, to generate electricity, to harvest crops, to mine and to place satellites into orbit around the Earth. Without motors human society could never have evolved to the point that it has and it would crumble very quickly without them.

  • Photo Credit Jean-Patrick Donzey, Wikimedia Commons
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