Working principle and types of an Induction Motor

Induction Motors are the most commonly used motors in many applications. These are also called as Asynchronous Motors, because an induction motor always runs at a speed lower than synchronous speed. Synchronous speed means the speed of the rotating magnetic field in the stator.

There basically 2 types of induction motor depending upon the type of input supply - (i) Single phase induction motor and (ii) Three phase induction motor.

Or they can be divided according to type of rotor - (i) Squirrel cage motor and (ii) Slip ring motor or wound type

induction motor

Basic working principle of an Induction Motor

In a DC motor, supply is needed to be given for the stator winding as well  as the rotor winding. But in an induction motor only the stator winding is fed with an AC supply.
  • Alternating flux is produced around the stator winding due to AC supply. This alternating flux revolves with synchronous speed. The revolving flux is called as "Rotating Magnetic Field" (RMF).
  • The relative speed between stator RMF and rotor conductors causes an induced emf in the rotor conductors, according to the Faraday's law of electromagnetic induction. The rotor conductors are short circuited, and hence rotor current is produced due to induced emf. That is why such motors are called as induction motors
    (This action is same as that occurs in transformers, hence induction motors can be called as rotating transformers.) 
  • Now, induced current in rotor will also produce alternating flux around it. This rotor flux lags behind the stator flux. The direction of induced rotor current, according to Lenz's law, is such that it will tend to oppose the cause of its production. 
  • As the cause of production of rotor current is the relative velocity between rotating stator flux and the rotor, the rotor will try to catch up with the stator RMF. Thus the rotor rotates in the same direction as that of stator flux to minimize the relative velocity. However, the rotor never succeeds in catching up the synchronous speed. This is the basic working principle of induction motor of either type, single phase of 3 phase. 

Synchronous speed:

 The rotational speed of the rotating magnetic field is called as synchronous speed.
Snchronous speed Ns=120f/P
where, f = frequency of the spply
            P = number of poles


Rotor tries to catch up the synchronous speed of the stator field, and hence it rotates. But in practice, rotor never succeeds in catching up. If rotor catches up the stator speed, there wont be any relative speed between the stator flux and the rotor, hence no induced rotor current and no torque production to maintain the rotation. However, this won't stop the motor, the rotor will slow down due to lost of torque, the torque will again be exerted due to relative speed. That is why the rotor rotates at speed which is always less the synchronous speed.
The difference between the synchronous speed (Ns) and actual speed  (N) of the rotor is called as slip.
slip in induction motor