We have become such a technologically driven society that we hardly pay attention to some of the basic machines which allow us to lead such a lifestyle. Forget your smartphone or tablet, we’re talking about things at an even more basic level. All modern electronic gadgets are great, but most of us don’t realise the manufacturing processes that occur in the background, hidden from public view, which make everything from a coffee machine to a car available for us to purchase. In the rapid pace of development which we have experienced over the last 200 years, perhaps no other item has had more significant impact than the humble DC motor.
The Early Days
Stripped down to its basics, a modern electric motor basically converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. This allows motors to perform a wide variety of tasks, especially in the field of manufacturing. But how it got developed reads almost like a detective novel. At the beginnings of the 19th Century, several curious tinkerers discovered to their amazement that electricity produced a magnetic field. Among them was a gentleman named Ampere and in his honour, one of the basic units that measure electrical fields, the ampere, commonly known as the amp, is named after him. It took a few decades for other inventors to figure out what to do with this magnetic field. At first, magnetic fields were basically an amusement, a game that genteel society played. Create an electric field, place it next your head and if by magic, most of your hair stood on end! But once things took a serious turn, it was discovered that you could actually make a mechanical device spin when its magnetic field interacted with the magnetic field produced by the electric current. It was thus that the electric motor was born.
Making Rapid Advances
It was up to a US scientist, Joseph Henry, to produce the first visible demonstration of how a simple magnetic field could produce motion. He made a simple electromagnet and placed it on a team, where it could move back and forth. Two magnets on either side of the pole alternately attracted and repelled his little electromagnet; the whole device rocked gently back and forth at 75 cycles per minute. Henry thought this was interesting and perhaps even curious, but failed to understand the consequences of his little experiment. Just a year later, William Sturgeon in the UK invented the commutator, a device which many ways allowed him to create a simple mechanical device which was arguably the first DC motor.
Get Exactly What You Need
Today, DC motors are in high demand in industry, as they produce plenty of torque and can be applied to manufacturing processes both large and small, they are highly flexible in terms of applications and the latest models are even more energy efficient. Click here to find out more about DC motors, asynchronous motors or synchronous motors and how your business could benefit from them.