Research Article  Open Access
Design and Analysis of Linear FaultTolerant PermanentMagnet Vernier Machines
Abstract
This paper proposes a new linear faulttolerant permanentmagnet (PM) vernier (LFTPMV) machine, which can offer high thrust by using the magnetic gear effect. Both PMs and windings of the proposed machine are on short mover, while the long stator is only manufactured from iron. Hence, the proposed machine is very suitable for long stroke system applications. The key of this machine is that the magnetizer splits the two movers with modular and complementary structures. Hence, the proposed machine offers improved symmetrical and sinusoidal back electromotive force waveform and reduced detent force. Furthermore, owing to the complementary structure, the proposed machine possesses favorable faulttolerant capability, namely, independent phases. In particular, differing from the existing faulttolerant machines, the proposed machine offers fault tolerance without sacrificing thrust density. This is because neither faulttolerant teeth nor the fluxbarriers are adopted. The electromagnetic characteristics of the proposed machine are analyzed using the timestepping finiteelement method, which verifies the effectiveness of the theoretical analysis.
1. Introduction
Currently, linear machines have been applied to numerous directdrive applications such as urban rail transit. It is well known that linear induction machine (LIM) has been applied to the metro traction system in many cities. The linear machine possesses the advantages of the enhanced train climbing ability and the reduced train turning radius. This in turn means increased cornering ability and improved stability. However, the efficiency and the power factor of the LIM are relatively low [1]. In order to overcome these drawbacks, the research on linear permanentmagnet (PM) synchronous machine has been increasingly prompted. However, its cost becomes a challenging issue for long stroke applications, since PM or copper cost increases with the system length. To solve the cost issue, several primaryPM linear machines which are the counterpart of statorPM rotary machines have been considered [2–6]. The common characteristic of the primaryPM linear machine is that both the PMs and windings are on the short primary mover. It has been identified that this topology can reduce the cost for long stroke system.
The linear fluxreversal PM (LFRPM) machine retains the advantage of the primaryPM linear machine which is being cost effective for long stroke applications [2]. However, the thrust density of the LFRPM machine is relatively low because the leakage flux of PMs is too large, hence reducing the effective flux density in air gap.
Another attempt is the linear fluxswitching PM (LFSPM) machine. In recent years, the design procedure and optimization of the LFSPM machine have been investigated [5]. It has been identified that this machine has a high air gap flux density due to the flux concentration effect [2]. Hence, compared with the existing LFRPM machine, it can provide greater thrust density under the same condition. However, the need of a higher PM volume for the LFSPM machine leads to the drastic increase of manufacturing costs.
Recently, the concept of magnetic gear (MG) has been presented and analyzed [7–11]. By using the principle of flux field modulation, the vernier PM (VPM) machine can offer improved torque density [12–15]. Also, it has a simpler structure differing from MG machine. In addition, in order to enhance the reliability of the VPM machine, a new faulttolerant VPM machine was proposed in [12]. Its faulttolerant capability was improved by introducing the faulttolerant teeth. However, its torque density has also been reduced due to the reduced slot area.
The purpose of this paper is to design and analyze a new linear faulttolerant PM vernier (LFTPMV) machine, which combines the advantages of the faulttolerant machine and vernier machine, thus offering high thrust and high faulttolerant capability. Also, in order to obtain the high faulttolerant capability, the proposed machine adopts a delicate complementary structure, rather than conventional faulttolerant teeth or fluxbarriers structure in [5, 12]. Hence, the desired faulttolerant capability is obtained without resulting in the reduction of the thrust density. In addition, the detent force of the proposed machine also reduced due to the complementary structure. Thus, the thrust performance of the proposed machine is improved.
2. Topology and Operation Principle
Figure 1 compares the topologies of the existing linear vernier hybrid (LVH) machine and the proposed LFTPMV machine. Figure 2 shows the schematics of their armature windings. It should be noted that the schematic of armature windings of the proposed machine significantly differs from that of the existing one. In the proposed machine, the armature windings of every phase are reversely connected in series. Phase , for example, is composed of two concentrated armature windings, namely, and . The positions of both windings are mutually apart ( is the stator pole pitch). Moreover, there is the magnetizer which connects the two adjacent mover modules. It should be noticed that the material of this magnetizer is the same as other parts of the mover. Thus, the magnetizer and the two mover modules are processed into a whole primary mover which can simplify the manufacturing process and assembly process. Between two adjacent phases belonging to one mover module, the distance equals to ( is a positive integer and is the phase number). The proposed machine adopts two PMs on the surface of each primary tooth. Compared with the existing one, the consumption of PM material can be reduced and PMs can be easily mounted. It also shows that the mover core of the proposed machine consists of two modules, named mover 1 and mover 2.
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According to the operation principle of flux field modulation, the relationship among the overall PM pairsm , the number of stator teeth , and the pole pairs of the spatial field distribution is given by
It should be noted that if the PMs do not entirely fill air gap along the level direction, the value of is not equal to the number of all existing PM pole pairs amounted on the iron. The existing LVH and proposed LFTPMV machines also operate according to the operation principle of MG. However, both of them have relatively large slot openings and there are no PMs in the slot openings which are not the same as the ones in [7–11]. Hence, (1) should be revised when it is used for the existing LVH and the proposed LFTPMV machines.
To analyze the two machines in this paper, the magnetic resistance and saturation of the steel are considered to be negligible. The effective magnetic motive force (MMF) produced by the PMs can be expressed as where is the mover position, is the effective number of PM pole pairs on the primary mover, F_{m} is the amplitude of the order component of MMF, and is the primary length of the machine. Only considering the fundamental component, the effective MMF of the PMs can be simplified and expressed as
Permeance coefficient changes with secondary moving and its toothed structure. Hence, both the moving velocity and corresponding secondary position influence the permeance coefficient. The permeance coefficient can be expressed as where is the direct current component in permeance coefficient, is the amplitude of the order component of permeance coefficient, is the number of the stator teeth, and is the secondary velocity. Only considering the fundamental component, the permeance coefficient can be simplified and expressed as The air gap magnetic flux density can be expressed as
In (6), the first term represents a static magnetic field that cannot induce voltage in the primary windings. The second term represents short wavelength magnetic field produced by PMs and stator teeth, showing that the traveling speed of magnetic field is slow. The third term represents long wavelength magnetic field, showing that the traveling speed of magnetic field is fast that can induce more considerable voltage than the short wavelength magnetic field. Hence, the third term is chosen as to be effective harmonic to match with the pole pairs of primary windings, resulting in the following relationships: where is the number of primary winding pole pairs, is the gear ratio, and is the speed of the traveling magnetic field.
It can be found that (7) slightly differs from (1), because the primary slot openings of the proposed machines also influence the harmonic components of the PMs. Hence, the must be confirmed and satisfied with (7) in order to use MG effect and obtain high thrust.
For the existing LVH machine, Figure 3 shows the PM MMF waveform and its spectra. It is noticed that 12, the number of the actual PM pole pairs, is not the highest amplitude, due to the primary slot openings. Also, it reveals that the 18order harmonic is the main harmonic component. Therefore, the effective number of PMs is , and the number of stator teeth is . According to (7), the pole pairs produced by primary windings should be .
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3. Optimization
The parameters of the stator tooth, such as and , can influence the performance characteristics of the proposed machine, where is defined as the ratio of stator tooth tip width to the stator pole pitch and is defined as the ratio of stator tooth root width to the stator pole pitch as shown in Figure 1(b). In [16], the authors exhibited that stator tooth dimensions affect the average thrust of the machine. Also, the value of the has negligible impact on the average thrust of the existing machine. In contrast, the value of the has significant impact on its average thrust. Based on these constraints, back electromotive force (backEMF) optimization of the proposed machine can be simplified when the value of the is defined the same as the value of the . Figure 4 shows the peak value of backEMF of the proposed machine with respect to the value of the . It can be observed that the peak value of backEMF reaches maximum when the equals 0.2 or 0.25. Figure 5 shows the peak to peak value variation of detent force of the proposed machine with respect to the when the is chosen as 0.25. It can be known that the optimized is from 0.5 to 0.7. To maximize peak backEMF and minimize peak to peak detent force of the proposed machine, and are chosen as 0.25 and 0.5, respectively.
4. Performance Analysis
4.1. Modular Structure
The opencircuit field distributions under only PM excited are investigated based on finiteelement method. Figure 6 shows the noload magnetic field distributions of the proposed machine at different mover positions. Position A is defined as the original mover position. Positions B, C, and D represent when the mover goes to the left from position A by 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 stator pole pitches, respectively. The mover goes half stator pole pitch (180°) from position A to position C. It can be observed that PM flux distributions of position A in the mover 2 are very similar to those of position C in the mover 1. Also, PM flux distributions of position B in the mover 2 are very similar to those of position D in the mover 1. Therefore, it can be concluded that the change of flux distributions in both parts of the mover has difference in time for half of electrical period. Meanwhile, since there are very few flux lines which pass the magnetizer, the whole mover can be regarded as two independent modules with complementary magnetic circuit. Therefore, the proposed machine can be analyzed by one of both modules, rather than one whole module, which facilitates the interpretation of the MG effect in the proposed machine. Thus, for either of the two modules, the effective number of PMs is , the number of stator teeth is , and the pole pairs produced by primary windings are . Obviously, they can satisfy (7).
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Figure 7(a) shows the noload magnetic field distributions in the mover 1 at position A. Figure 7(b) shows the noload flux radial density in the mover 1 at position A, which is modulated by the stator teeth. It is very crucial to analyze the noload density in the air gap and its harmonics. Figure 7(c) depicts the corresponding harmonic spectra. There are many asynchronous space harmonics in the air gap as the modulation of the stator teeth. Owing to the principle of flux field modulation (8), the fundamental flux travels at the speed 10 times of the speed of the secondary. Namely, .
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4.2. BackEMF
Figure 8 compares the backEMF waveforms induced in winding C_{1}, winding C_{2,} and phase C of the proposed machine at rated speed. Figure 9 shows their harmonics analysis results. The backEMF waveforms of phase C are the overlap of both winding C_{1} and winding C_{2}. It can be seen that the even harmonic components of backEMF greatly decrease, resulting in the phase backEMF being more symmetrical and sinusoidal. This is due to the fact that the two modules of the proposed machines have the complementary magnetic circuits. Another reason is that the two concentrated armature windings belonging to one phase are reversely connected in series as is shown in Figure 2. Figure 10 confirms that the threephase backEMF waveforms are very symmetrical and sinusoidal.
4.3. Detent Force
Figure 11 shows the detent force of the proposed machine. The detent force of the two modules of the proposed machine can be separately calculated by using FEM. In Figure 11, they are noted as “module_1” and “module_2.” As shown, the waveform of detent force of “module_2” is similar to the one of “module_1,” which shifts 180° along the horizontal axis. Hence, there are 180° phase angle differences between the two modules. The sum of “module_1” and “module_2” is defined as “analytical sum.” The “whole” means the total detent force, which is calculated directly by using FEM. Figure 12 shows the waveforms of “analytical sum” and “whole.” It should be noticed that the waveform of “analytical sum” is very similar to the “whole” one.
4.4. Inductance
Figure 13 shows the flux pattern, in which all the PMs are unmagnetized and only phase C is excited. It can be seen that almost all of the produced fluxes pass the armature teeth of phase C, rather than other armature teeth. This means that the proposed machine decouples the phases. Figure 14 compares the selfinductance and the mutual inductance of the proposed machine. It can be calculated that the ratio of the mutual inductance to the selfinductance of the proposed machine is only 4.4%. Hence, the proposed machine inherently possesses the desired faulttolerant capability.
5. Comparison
In order to evaluate the proposed LFTPMV machine as compared with the existing LVH machine, they are designed based on the same number of phases, rated speed, stack length, winding turns, number of stator teeth, number of mover teeth, and stator pole pitch. According to the abovementioned design procedure, a 3pahse 6/20pole LFTPMV and a 3pahse 6/20pole LVH machines are designed. Their major specifications are listed in Table 1.

The electromagnetic performances of the two machines are quantitatively analyzed using FEM. It can be found that the proposed machine requires 50% PMs of the existing one. Since PM material is much more costly, the proposed machine takes the significant advantage of lower cost.
Table 2 compares the selfinductance and the mutual inductance of the existing machine and the proposed machine. It illustrates that the selfinductance of the proposed machine is larger than that of the existing machine because the proposed machine has smaller total (magnetic) air gap length [17]. It can be calculated that the ratio of the mutual inductance to the selfinductance of the proposed LFTPMV machine is much lower than that of the existing LVH machine, revealing that each phase of the proposed machine is essentially decoupled from other phases. That is to say, the proposed machine possesses enhanced faulttolerant capability.

Figure 15 compares their backEMF waveforms under the conditions of the same armature winding turns and speed. It can be found that the proposed machine generates higher backEMF than the existing machine. Therefore, the thrust of the proposed machine is larger than that of the LVH machine when both machines operate at the same speed and electric loading. Figure 16 compares their detent forces. It can be observed that the peak to peak value of the detent force of the proposed machine is much smaller than the one of the existing one.
Figure 17 shows the thrust waveforms of the proposed machine and the existing machine under brushless AC operation with the root mean square (RMS) value of 6 A. In order to evaluate the thrust performance of the two machines, a thrust fluctuation coefficient () is defined as where is the maximum of thrust, is the minimum of thrust, is the average value of thrust, and is the value of thrust ripple. It can be calculated that the average thrust of the proposed machine is 332 N and the corresponding is 7.8%, while the thrust and its ripple of the existing machine are 278 N and 13.3%, respectively. It indicates that the proposed machine possesses the better thrust performance.
6. Discussions and Conclusions
In this paper, a new LFTPMV machine has been proposed which is suitable for high thrust and long stroke applications. The parameters of the stator tooth, and , have been optimized for the maximal peak backEMF and minimal detent force. However, the number and slot openings length also would have significant impacts on the magnetic loading and power density. Furthermore, for the proposed LFTPMV machine, its faulttolerant capability would change with varied number and slot openings length. These issues are very critical for improved electromagnetic performance of the proposed machine. Therefore, it should be closely studied in the future work. On the other hand, since the ratio of the mutual inductance to the selfinductance of the proposed machine is very small, the proposed machine inherently possesses the desired faulttolerant capability. Compared with the existing faulttolerant machines, the proposed machine offers desired faulttolerant capability without sacrificing thrust density because neither faulttolerant teeth nor the fluxbarriers are adopted. Due to the modular and complementary structure, the threephase backEMF waveforms are more symmetrical and sinusoidal. The detent force of the proposed LFTPMV machine is much smaller than that of the existing LVH machine. The proposed machine not only offers larger backEMF but also reduces the cost of PMs. All of these advantages make the proposed machine an excellent candidate for high thrust and high reliability applications such as urban rail transit system.
Conflict of Interests
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.
Acknowledgments
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51277194, 61273154, and 51307072), by the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK2012711), by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions, and by the Fund Program of Jiangsu University for Excellent Youth Teachers.
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Copyright © 2014 Liang Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.