You must log in to edit PetroWiki. Help with editing

Content of PetroWiki is intended for personal use only and to supplement, not replace, engineering judgment. SPE disclaims any and all liability for your use of such content. More information

Synchronous motor

Jump to navigation Jump to search

The synchronous motor is a type of alternating current motor. Like an induction motor, it has a stator and a rotor. Its stator winding closely resembles that of an induction motor, and it, too, receives AC power from the power source to drive the connected load.


Synchronous motors are available with various rotor designs to fit different applications. In one type, for example, the rotor is constructed somewhat like a squirrel-cage rotor. In addition to rotor bars, it has coil windings for providing direct-current (DC) excitation, as shown in Fig. 1. The coil windings are connected to an external DC power supply by slip rings and brushes. Like a squirrel-cage motor, a synchronous motor is started by applying AC power to the stator; however, DC power then is applied to the rotor coils after the motor reaches maximum speed. This produces a strong, constant magnetic field in the rotor, which locks in step with the rotating magnetic field of the stator. Because the rotor turns at the same speed as synchronous speed (speed of the rotating magnetic field), there is no slip. The speed of rotation of the motor is constant in a synchronous motor, and does not vary with load, as in an induction motor.

Power factor

Synchronous motors are designed to operate at unity (1.0) power factor or 0.8 leading power factor. By varying the DC excitation of the motor, the power factor of the motor can be varied widely. Overexcited synchronous motors operate at leading power factor and provide reactive kVAR-like capacitors. This yields an improved power factor for the power-supply system. Because most utility companies bill their industrial customers on the basis of their kVAR use, rather than kW, an improved power factor provides large savings for the customer.


Synchronous motors initially were used as a way to raise the power factor of systems that have larger induction-motor loads; now, however, they are used because they can maintain the terminal voltage on a weak power system, are lower cost, and are more efficient than equivalently sized induction motors.


Noteworthy papers in OnePetro

Use this section to list papers in OnePetro that a reader who wants to learn more should definitely read

External links

Use this section to provide links to relevant material on websites other than PetroWiki and OnePetro

See also

Electrical grounding

Electrical distribution systems

Power factor and capacitors

Hazardous area classification for electrical systems

Alternating current motors

Induction motors

Electrical systems

Motor specifications

NEMA motor characteristics

Alternating current motor drives

Motor enclosures