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This paper describes the merits of a recently developed form of a three-phase permanent-magnet (PM) brushless AC machine in which the concentrated coils of each stator phase are wound either on adjacent teeth or on alternate teeth. Such a machine is often referred to as modular and offers a number of significant advantages over conventional PM brushless machines. For example, it results in a smaller number of slots for a given number of poles, which is a distinct manufacturing advantage, and yields a fractional number of slots per pole, which is conducive to low cogging torque. It also enables a significant increase in the achievable machine inductance to facilitate constant power operation over a wide speed range by flux weakening. However, the torque in modular machines is developed by the interaction of a high-order stator space harmonic MMF with the PMs, since the fundamental stator MMF has fewer poles than the PM rotor. Hence, significant eddy currents may be induced in the rotor by the fundamental and low-order space harmonic MMFs. The eddy-current loss can, however, be reduced by segmenting the magnets. Given that modular machines combine the high specific power and efficiency of conventional PM brushless machines with a high machine inductance, to enable a wide speed range, constant power operation, their potential for low manufacturing cost, and the fact that they have inherently low cogging torque, they are eminently suitable for in-wheel traction applications.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2008