**AUTO-CENTERING LINEAR MOTOR**

*;*

**H02K7/09***;*

**H02K33/16***; (IPC1-7): H02K33/00; F25B9/14*

**H02K35/02**US3648084A | 1972-03-07 | |||

US4647802A | 1987-03-03 | |||

US5148066A | 1992-09-15 |

2. Description Of The Related Art Reference 1 discloses an AC electrical machine that can be used either as a generator to convert reciprocating motion of a permanent magnet ring to AC voltage, or as a motor to convert AC voltage to reciprocating motion of a permanent magnet ring. Referring to Figure 4 of Reference

1, permanent magnets 50 reciprocate in a left- right direction, and if the machine is conventionally designed, there will be no force on the permanent magnets if there is no current in armature coil 56, provided the magnets do not emerge from the air gaps. If the magnets do so emerge, strong magnetic forces are generated that expel the magnets further. To prevent emergence of the magnets and their subsequent expulsion from the air gap, mechanical and/or magnetic centering springs have been used in prior art. The latter are disclosed in Reference 2. Centering springs introduce complication and increase cost. The object of the present invention is to provide magnetically generated centering force on the reciprocating magnets without adding cost or complexity.

(f) BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In the invention, the ferromagnetic structure (60,62,64,68 of Fig. 6, Reference 1) is designed unconventionally in that all or part of it is allowed to magnetically saturate as permanent

magnets 50 of Ref. 1 approach the left or right extremes of the air gap in which they reciprocate.

Theory shows, and experiment confirms, that magnetic saturation causes a force to be exerted on the reciprocating magnets in a direction such as to confine the magnets within the air gap.

Conventional design avoids magnetic saturation because it degrades performance by lowering efficiency, and, in the case of generators, distorts output voltage waveform. In a linear motion AC motor-generator of the type disclosed in Ref. 1 but modified according to the invention, it is found that useful centering forces can be generated without incurring a significant performance penalty.

(g) BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS Figure 1A is a cross sectional view of a linear, permanent magnet motor or generator according to prior art. In Fig. 1A, dimensions and magnetic quantities that are changed by the invention are identified by symbols.

Figure 1B is a cross-sectional view of a linear, permanent magnet motor or generator, in which dimensions and magnetic quantities that distinguish the invention from prior art are identified by symbols.

Figure 2 shows graphs of magnetic quantities in the iron structure according to prior art and in the invention. These quantities are plotted against displacement X of the magnets from their centered position. The quantities graphed are magnetic intensity H' (prior art), magnetic flux density B' (prior art), H (invention) and B (invention).

Figure 3 shows, for prior art and the invention, graphs of magnetic force on the motor magnets plotted against displacement of the magnets from their centered position.

(h) DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Figure 1A is a cross-sectional view of a contemporary embodiment of a reciprocating permanent magnet motor or generator as disclosed in U. S. patent 4,602,174. The machine is

substantially axially symmetric about axis A-A. A permanent magnet ring 1 is magnetized radially with magnetization M, and reciprocates parallel to A-A in air gaps bounded by outer ferromagnetic structure 2 and inner ferromagnetic structure 3.

A coil of wire 4 surrounds inner ferromagnetic structure 3. X denotes axial displacement of the magnet ring from the position where it is centered axially within the air gaps. With no current in coil 4, the magnetic flux density B'and the magnetic intensity H'in the inner and outer ferromagnetic structures are functions of X and of the dimensions y'and Y', and are denoted in Figure 1A by the conventional functional notation B' (X), H' (X) respectively.

Figure 2 shows graphs of H' (X) and B' (X) in a prior art machine conventionally designed to avoid magnetic saturation. B' (X) is a substantially linear function of X with a maximum value typically less than 13000 Gauss, and H' (X) is typically below 10 Oersted for all X.

Fig. 1B is a cross sectional view of a linear permanent magnet motor or generator according to the invention. Fig. 1B the same as Fig. 1A except that one or both of dimensions y and Y are made sufficiently smaller than their prior art counterparts y'and Y'so that magnetic saturation occurs near X=L/2 and X=-L/2, which are the values of X at which magnets 1 begin to emerge from the air gap between iron structures 2 and 3.

Fig. 2 shows graphs of H (X) and B (X) in a motor or generator according to the invention.

Near | X | =L/2, H (X) rises above 20 Oersted, exceeding typical saturation for electrical steel, which is about 10 oersted. B (X) near |X|=L/2 falls below a linear projection of its values at small X, and reaches a maximum value exceeding 15000 Gauss.

The purpose of allowing parts of ferromagnetic structures 2 and 3 to saturate when magnet ring 1 nears either end of the air gaps is to generate magnetic forces that prevent the magnet ring from leaving the air gap. The

existence of such forces is predicted by the theory of electromagnetic energy, which teaches that, in order to increase magnetic flux density B by a differential amount dB in a differential volume dV, energy equal to (H x dB x dV) is required. In the invention, the source of such energy is mechanical work done on the magnet ring by an axial force moving through a distance dX, from which it follows that the force F on the magnet ring can be found from the following equation; F =-f H x dB/dX x dV equation (1) The minus sign in equation (1) means F is in a direction opposite to dX. The integral must in principle be taken over all of space, but in prior art and in the invention, the dominant contribution to it is from the volume occupied by ferromagnetic structures 2 and 3 of Figures 1A and 1B, provided the magnet ring does not leave the air gaps. In prior art, magnetic saturation is avoided by dimensioning the ferromagnetic structure so that H'is considerably less than 10

Oersted for all X (5 Oersteds is typical), and F is too low to be of practical use in confining the magnet ring. In the invention, however, saturation typically raises H (L/2) to above 20 Oersted, resulting in a much larger value of F that will prevent magnet ring 1 from leaving the air gap.

Figure 3 shows graphs of F in prior art and in the invention. In both cases the magnets will be expelled from the air gap if XJ>L/2, as indicated by rapidly increasing force for |X|2L/2.

In the invention, but not in prior art, there is a relatively large restraining force to prevent magnet ring 1 from reaching X=L/2 and subsequently being expelled from the air gap.

Considerable variation is possible within the spirit of the invention. For example, magnetic saturation could be confined to outer ferromagnetic structure 2, or to inner ferromagnetic structure 3, rather than existing in both structures.

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