Losses in DC Machine- Types of Losses

Last Updated on October 31, 2021 by Electricalvolt

Electric rotating machines are used for conversion of energy. The motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy and, the generator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. During energy conversion, the input energy in one form can not be fully converted into output energy in another form . The difference in the output energy and input energy is called the losses. Pragmatically, no machine is 100 % efficient and some losses are always take place during energy conversion process. The losses raise the temperature of the machine and efficiency of the machine gets lowered. In DC machine the energy loss takes place in the form of heat energy. The losses occurs in the armature and field of the DC machine. There are five types of losses copper loss,brush loss, iron loss,stray loss and mechanical loss takes place in a DC machine.

Losses in DC Machines

losses in dc machine

Types of Lossses in a DC Machine

We shall dicuss the types of losses in a Dc machine for better understanding.

1. Copper Loss in DC Machine winding

The copper loss is  caused by the ohmic resistance offered by the winding of the DC machine. When the current flows through the winding the heat loss takes place in the winding. The heat loss is proportional to the square of the current and  the resistance of the winding. The copper loss in the winding is I2R. Where, I is the current flowing through the winding and R is the resistance of the winding. The copper loss is also known as variable loss because the copper loss depends on the percentage loading of the machine. The loss increases with increase of loading on the machine.

The DC machine has two types of winding- field and armature winding- and losses take place in both the winding. The supply is fed to armature through the carbon brushes and losses also takes place due to ohmic voltage drop across the carbon brush.

1 a). Copper Loss in Armature Winding

The armature of the DC machine has very low resistance. The resistance of the armature is denoted by Ra.
Armature copper loss = Ia2Ra
Where, Ia is the armature current and Ra is the armature winding resistance. 

The maximum copper loss occurs in the armature winding, because the load current flows through the armature winding.The copper loss in the armature is about 25 to 30 % of the full load loss.

1 b). Copper Loss in the Field Winding

DC supply is fed to the field winding for production of the flux in the DC machine. The resistance of the field winding is much more than the resistance of the armature winding. That is why the substantial copper loss takes place in the field winding even at the low field current.The copper loss in the field winding is expressed as;

Field winding copper loss = If2Rf
Where, If is the field current and Rf is the field winding resistance. 

The field winding copper loss is about 20-25 % of the full load loss of the DC machine. The copper loss in the field winding is a practically constant loss because the field current and the field resistance remains almost constant in the DC machine.

2.Brush Contact Resistance Loss

The armature is a rotating part of the DC machine, and brushes are used to provide DC supply to the rotating part of the DC machine.Ideally, the contact resistance between the brush contacting area with commutator surface must be zero.However, in reality it is impossible to have zero contact resistance.

The voltage drop takes place across the carbon brushes. The brush power drop depends upon the voltage drop across the brush and armature current.

Power Drop in Brush = PBD = VBD Ia

PBD = Power drop in Brush
VBD = Voltage Drop in Brush
 Ia    =  Armature Current
If the brush voltage drop is not given, it is generally assumed 2 volts drop across carbon brush and the power drop in brush is 2Ia .The brush power loss can not be calculated separately but it is inclusive in armature copper loss of the DC machine.


3. Core Losses or Iron Losses in DC Machine

The armature winding of the DC machine is wound around the magnetic core. The flux generated by the field coil gets linked to the armature conductors through magnetic core. Two types of losses namely hysteresis and eddy current loss occur in the magnetic core. The iron loss is almost constant therefore the iron loss or core loss is also called constant loss. The total core loss is about 20-25 % of the full load losses.

3 a). Hysteresis Loss in DC Machine

The armature of the DC machine rotates in a magnetic field and in one complete rotation the magnetic field reversal happens. The part of armature remains under S-pole for half revolution and after completing half revolution under S-pole, the part of armature goes under P-pole for remaining half cycle. Thus in one complete cycle, the magnetic field reversal happens in the armature core. The frequency of the magnetic reversal can be find by the following mathematical expression.

magnetic reversal frequency in dc machine

Due to constant magnetic reversal in armature, some energy is consumed during magnetic reversal is called hysteresis loss. The hysteresis loss depends on the quality and volume of the core material.

The hysteresis loss in DC machine can be calculated using Steinmetz formula.

Steinmetz formula of Hysteresis Loss in a Dc Machine

Steinmetz formula
Ph = η Bmn f V
Ph = η Bm1.6 f V
Ph = hysteresis loss (Watt)
η = Steinmetz hysteresis coefficient, depending on the material (J/m3)
Bm = Maximum flux density (Wb/m2)
n =Steinmetz exponent, ranges from 1.5 to 2.5, depending on the material
f = frequency of magnetic reversals per second (Hz)
V = volume of magnetic material (m3)

3 b). Eddy Current Loss in DC Machine

The armature of DC machine is wound on the magnetic core and, magnetic core rotates in the magnetic field. According to Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction, an emf is induced in the core. The magnetic core has certain resistance and the endued emf  cause current to circulate within the piece of magnetic core. The circulation current, called eddy current, cause wastage of electrical energy. The loss caused by the eddy current is called the eddy current loss in a DC machine. The eddy current loss can be minimized by use of laminated core. The eddy current loss can be calculated by following mathematical expression.

Eddy Current Loss Formula


Pe= Eddy current loss(watt)
B= Maximum flux density Wb/m2
f= frequency in Hz
t= thickness of lamination (m)
V= Volume of the material (m3)
K= Eddy Current Constant

4. Mechanical Loss in DC Machine

In DC machine, the field is a stationary part and the armature is a rotating part. The armature rotates on the bearings. The energy loss in the form of heat occurs due to friction between the inner cage and outer cage of the bearing. 

The other mechanical loss is the windage loss. The air surrounding to the shaft offers resistance and, when DC machine rotates the loss caused by air resistance is called the windage loss. The DC machine draws extra power from the source to overcome the air resistance and the extra energy is equal to the windage loss of the DC machine.The windage loss increase with an increase in speed of the rotating machine.

5. Stray Losses in DC Machine

Stray losses are miscellaneous losses which are difficult to determine. The various reasons of the stray losses in DC machine are short circuit current undergoing commutation,distortion of flux etc. The stray losses in DC machine are about 1 % of the total losses.

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  2. HVDC Transmission

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