How Electric Motors Work

  1. Introduction

    • An electric motor works because its insides contain both magnetism and magnets. An electric motor uses the magnets to power its motion. Magnets have the ability to both repel and attract one another. In fact, the fundamental law of all magnets states that opposites attract and likes repel. There are two ends to each magnet: one end is marked "north," and the other end is marked "south." The south end of a magnet is attracted to the north end of the other magnet and repels against the other magnet's south end. The same is true for the north end; it wants to connect to the other magnet's south end and repels against its north end.


    • The main source of power of an electric motor is its electromagnet. The electromagnet is wrapped around coil and is placed in the middle of the axle. The axle is a magnet as well. A battery is attached to the electromagnet, and its ends repel against the ends of axle causing it to begin turning. This begins to cause motion, and the electric motor begins to spin freely, giving it power.


    • A basic electric motor contains six different parts: armature, brushes, commutator, field magnet, axle and power supply. The axle in an electric motor holds the commutator and the armature. The armature is a set of electromagnets that cause the motor to work. The armature consists of a group of thin metal plates stacked on top of each other. A thinly cut copper wire is coiled around each one, and each end of the copper wire is soldered. Each of the metal plates is wired to the commutator. The electric field begins to work in two parts. When the contacts of the commutator attach to the electromagnet's axle, they begin to the spin magnets. The brushes are made of springy metal that make a connection with the contacts of the commutator. The field magnet is placed inside and may include two additional magnets to work in correlation. The ends of the magnets rest against the sides and work with the rest of the parts to make the electric motor work.

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