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The history of linear motors date back as far as the 19th century with the work of Charles Wheatstone in Great Britain. Charles’s linear reluctance motor and Nikola Tesla’s invention of the induction motor led to the first linear induction motor (LIM) in 1905 by the German inventor Alfred Zehden. The linear induction motor is an AC asynchronous motor which provides a rectilinear motion in contrast to a rotational motion found in conventional motors. A major advantage of linear motors is the capability to produce a direct thrust without the need of converting rotational energy into translational energy. The goal of our project is to design and construct a linear induction motor test bed where we can experiment and develop different ideas such as high-sensitive sensors, rotor materials and a fast response control system.
In order to begin modeling and developing linear induction motors for different applications, it is necessary to have a modular test bed. To allow for maximum experimental utility the setup will be designed to allow for different rotor materials, highly accurate sensors to provide a fast response, and acceptable motor efficiency. Position sensors will allow us to monitor the position of the rotor and adjust VFD output to adjust rotor movement. The modular LIM test bed will allow customization in order to accommodate several applications and designs. Some of the designs include air gap manipulation, stator tooth, and a quad stator topology. We will also interface LabVIEW with a variable frequency drive (VFD) to control the speed and force of the LIM.