Date of Award

Spring 1995

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Barry K Fussell


Until recently, brush dc motors have been the dominant drive system because they provide easily controlled motor speed over a wide range, rapid acceleration and deceleration, convenient control of position, and lower product cost. Despite these capabilities, the brush dc motor configuration does not satisfy the design requirements for the U.S. Navy's underwater propulsion applications.

Technical advances in rare-earth permanent magnet materials, in high-power semiconductor transistor technology, and in various rotor position-sensing devices have made using brushless permanent magnet motors a viable alternative. This research investigates brushless permanent magnet motor technology, studying the merits of dual-air gap, axial-field, brushless, permanent magnet motor configuration in terms of power density, efficiency, and noise/vibration levels.

Because the design objectives for underwater motor applications include high-power density, high-performance, and low-noise/vibration, the traditional, simplified equivalent circuit analysis methods to assist in meeting these goals were inadequate. This study presents the development and verification of detailed finite element analysis (FEA) models and lumped parameter circuit models that can calculate back electromotive force waveforms, inductance, cogging torque, energized torque, and eddy current power losses. It is the first thorough quantification of dual air-gap, axial-field, brushless, permanent magnet motor parameters and performance characteristics.

The new methodology introduced in this research not only facilitates the design process of an axial field, brushless, permanent magnet motor but reinforces the idea that the high-power density, high-efficiency, and low-noise/vibration motor is attainable.