ONLINE ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING STUDY SITE

# Motor Thermal Overload Protection

For understanding motor thermal overload protection in induction motor we can discuss the operating principle of three phase induction motor. There is one cylindrical stator and a three phase winding is symmetrically distributed in the inner periphery of the stator. Due to such symmetrical distribution, when three phase power supply is applied to the stator winding, a rotating magnetic field is produced. This field rotates at synchronous speed. The rotor is created in induction motor mainly by numbers solid copper bars which are shorted at both ends in such a manner that they form a cylinder cage like structure. This is why this motor is also referred as squirrel cage induction motor. Anyway let's come to the basic point of three phase induction motor - which will help us to understand clearly about motor thermal overload protection.As the rotating magnetic flux cuts each of the bar conductor of rotor, there will be an induced circulating current flowing through the bar conductors. At starting the rotor is stand still and stator field is rotating at synchronous speed, the relative motion between rotating field and rotor is maximum.

Hence, the rate of cuts of flux with rotor bars is maximum, the induced current is maximum at this condition. But as the cause of induced current is, this relative speed, the rotor will try to reduce this relative speed and hence it will start rotating in the direction of rotating magnetic field to catch the synchronous speed. As soon as the rotor will come to the synchronous speed this relative speed between rotor and rotating magnetic field becomes zero, hence there will not be any further flux cutting and consequently there will not be any induced current in the rotor bars. As the induced current becomes zero, there will not be any further need of maintaining zero relative speed between rotor and rotating magnetic field hence rotor speed falls. As soon as the rotor speed falls the relative speed between rotor and rotating magnetic field again acquires a non zero value which again causes induced current in the rotor bars then rotor will again try to achieve the synchronous speed and this will continue till the motor is switch on. Due to this phenomenon the rotor will never achieve the synchronous speed as well as it will never stop running during normal operation. The difference between the synchronous speed with rotor speed in respect of synchronous speed, is termed as slip of induction motor.

The slip in a normally running induction motor typically varies from 1 % to 3 % depending upon the loading condition of the motor. Now we will try to draw speed current characteristics of induction motor – let’s have an example of large boiler fan. In the characteristic Y axis is taken as time in second, X axis is taken as % of stator current. When rotor is stand still that is at starting condition, the slip is maximum hence the induced current in the rotor is maximum and due to transformation action, stator will also draw a heavy current from the supply and it would be around 600 % of the rated full load stator current. As the rotor is being accelerated the slip is reduced, consequently the rotor current hence stator current falls to around 500 % of the full load rated current within 12 seconds when the rotor speed attains 80 % of synchronous speed. After that the stator current falls rapidly to the rated value as the rotor reaches its normal speed.