Jumat, 30 September 2011

Historical developments

In electricity generation, an electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. A generator forces electric charge (usually carried by electrons) to flow through an external electrical circuit. It is analogous to a water pump, which causes water to flow (but does not create water). The source of mechanical energy may be a reciprocating or turbine steam engine, water falling through a turbine or waterwheel, an internal combustion engine, a wind turbine, a hand crank, compressed air or any other source of mechanical energy. Early 20th century alternator made in Budapest, Hungary, in the power generating hall of a hydroelectric station Early Ganz Generator in Zwevegem, West Flanders, Belgium The reverse conversion of electrical energy into mechanical energy is done by an electric motor, and motors and generators have many similarities. In fact many motors can be mechanically driven to generate electricity, and very frequently make acceptable generators.
Historical developments Before the connection between magnetism and electricity was discovered, electrostatic generators were invented that used electrostatic principles. These generated very high voltages and low currents. They operated by using moving electrically charged belts, plates and disks to carry charge to a high potential electrode. The charge was generated using either of two mechanisms: Electrostatic induction The triboelectric effect, where the contact between two insulators leaves them charged. Because of their inefficiency and the difficulty of insulating machines producing very high voltages, electrostatic generators had low power ratings and were never used for generation of commercially significant quantities of electric power. The Wimshurst machine and Van de Graaff generator are examples of these machines that have survived. edlik's dynamo Main article: Jedlik's dynamo In 1827, Hungarian Anyos Jedlik started experimenting with electromagnetic rotating devices which he called electromagnetic self-rotors. In the prototype of the single-pole electric starter (finished between 1852 and 1854) both the stationary and the revolving parts were electromagnetic. He formulated the concept of the dynamo at least 6 years before Siemens and Wheatstone but didn't patent it as he thought he wasn't the first to realize this. In essence the concept is that instead of permanent magnets, two electromagnets opposite to each other induce the magnetic field around the rotor. It was also the discovery of the principle of self-excitation. In the years of 1831–1832, Michael Faraday discovered the operating principle of electromagnetic generators. The principle, later called Faraday's law, is that an electromotive force is generated in an electrical conductor that encircles a varying magnetic flux. He also built the first electromagnetic generator, called the Faraday disk, a type of homopolar generator, using a copper disc rotating between the poles of a horseshoe magnet. It produced a small DC voltage. This design was inefficient due to self-cancelling counterflows of current in regions not under the influence of the magnetic field. While current was induced directly underneath the magnet, the current would circulate backwards in regions outside the influence of the magnetic field. This counterflow limits the power output to the pickup wires and induces waste heating of the copper disc. Later homopolar generators would solve this problem by using an array of magnets arranged around the disc perimeter to maintain a steady field effect in one current-flow direction. Another disadvantage was that the output voltage was very low, due to the single current path through the magnetic flux. Experimenters found that using multiple turns of wire in a coil could produce higher more useful voltages. Since the output voltage is proportional to the number of turns, generators could be easily designed to produce any desired voltage by varying the number of turns. Wire windings became a basic feature of all subsequent generator designs. Dynamo Main article: Dynamo Dynamos are no longer used for power generation due to the size and complexity of the commutator needed for high power applications. This large belt-driven high-current dynamo produced 310 amperes at 7 volts, or 2,170 watts, when spinning at 1400 RPM. Dynamo Electric Machine [End View, Partly Section] (U.S. Patent 284,110) The dynamo was the first electrical generator capable of delivering power for industry. The dynamo uses electromagnetic principles to convert mechanical rotation into pulsed DC through the use of a commutator. The first dynamo was built by Hippolyte Pixii in 1832. Through a series of accidental discoveries, the dynamo became the source of many later inventions, including the DC electric motor, the AC alternator, the AC synchronous motor, and the rotary converter. A dynamo machine consists of a stationary structure, which provides a constant magnetic field, and a set of rotating windings which turn within that field. On small machines the constant magnetic field may be provided by one or more permanent magnets; larger machines have the constant magnetic field provided by one or more electromagnets, which are usually called field coils. Large power generation dynamos are now rarely seen due to the now nearly universal use of alternating current for power distribution and solid state electronic AC to DC power conversion. But before the principles of AC were discovered, very large direct-current dynamos were the only means of power generation and distribution. Now power generation dynamos are mostly a curiosity.
Alternator Without a commutator, a dynamo becomes an alternator, which is a synchronous singly fed generator. When used to feed an electric power grid, an alternator must always operate at a constant speed that is precisely synchronized to the electrical frequency of the power grid. A DC generator can operate at any speed within mechanical limits, but always outputs direct current. The primary advantage of the alternator is that the field windings can be swapped from the exterior non-rotating shell to the interior rotating shaft, and the current producing windings are on the exterior shell. This allows for extremely thick current producing windings that stay in a fixed position with permanent non-moving wiring. The rotating field coil by contrast can operate at high voltage and low current so that only small, simple, and low-cost slip rings are needed. For example, automotive alternators commonly only use a single carbon brush to supply power to the field coil; the other end of the coil is attached to the vehicle ground by way of the rotor bearings. By using a rotary transformer to convey power to the rotating field coil, no rubbing physical contacts are needed at all, and the alternator becomes an almost maintenance-free power generation device.

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