Analyzing the Impact of Eccentricity on Nissan Leaf Performance

Motors and Generators
By Hajer Jmal | 26/07/2023

Introduction


Eccentricity is a matter of concern for motor manufacturers due to its potential impact on motor performance. It refers to the condition where the rotor's centerline deviates from the stator's centerline. Parametrization for eccentricity in a motor is a crucial topic because it allows the characterization and quantification of the eccentricity fault. All parameters associated with the fault should be considered equally important, such as magnitude, position, and eccentricity type. All of it plays a significant role in characterizing the fault and its impact on motor performance. Neglecting or assigning less importance to any parameter could result in incomplete or inaccurate analysis, leading to an inadequate understanding of the eccentricity fault and its consequences. Therefore, all parameters should be carefully parametrized and given equal importance to ensure a comprehensive and accurate assessment of the eccentricity fault in the motor.


Causes


There can be several causes of eccentricity in a motor, including:​


Manufacturing Defects
Eccentricity can result from manufacturing errors, such as misalignment of motor parts during assembly or inaccurate machining of the rotor or stator components.
Mechanical Stress
External mechanical forces or excessive mechanical stress on the motor, such as impacts, vibrations, or improper handling during installation.
Bearing Wear
Worn-out or damaged bearings can introduce eccentricity in a motor. Bearings are responsible for maintaining the precise alignment of the rotor within the stator. The rotor can become eccentric if the bearings degrade or fail [1].
Thermal Effects
Temperature variations can cause the expansion or contraction of motor components, which may lead to changes in the rotor's position [2].
Voltage Imbalance
Voltage imbalances between the phases can cause uneven magnetic forces, resulting in eccentricity. Imbalanced voltages can be caused by faulty power supply connections, unbalanced loads, or issues with the motor's internal connections.​
Rotor Core Faults
Damage or deformations in the rotor core, such as shorted laminations or broken rotor bars, can induce eccentricity.

Table 1. Eccentricity Causes


Detecting and correcting eccentricity early is crucial to prevent further damage to the motor. Manufacturers employ various techniques and measures to minimize and control eccentricity during the manufacturing process including vibration analysis, visual inspections, electrical measurements such as motor current signature analysis (MCSA) and thermal imaging. All these methods can help to identify and rectify eccentricity issues in a timely manner.

Design Challenges


The most common design challenges are listed below:


  • Simulating an Interior Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (IPMSM) designed for electric vehicle application.​
  • Parametrizing the static, dynamic, and mixed eccentricity studies.​
  • Analyzing and comparing the effect of the eccentricity on the motor performances at load conditions.
  • Checking the radial force variation.
  • Checking the torque and the flux density mapping​.

Design Specifications



The considered machine is a Nissan Leaf model, where the details are listed below:



Fig. 1. Nissan Leaf Motor



Specifications​​
Value​​
Configuration
48 slots/ 8 poles​
Slot Type​
Single
Based Speed​​
750 rpm
Rotor Position​​
Inner​
Stator OD​​
198 mm
Stack Length
150 mm
Coil Excitation
250 A​

Table 2. Motor Characteristics

Static Eccentricity​



Static eccentricity refers to a fixed deviation of the rotor from the centerline of the stator. It occurs when the rotor's centerline does not align perfectly with the centerline of the stator.
Two inputs that define the static eccentricity center are parametrized in the next steps: the static distance that determines the position of the static center regarding the motor origin and the static angular that fixes the orientation of the static center or its position regarding the y-axis.




Fig. 2. Radial Force Amplitude versus Static Distance Variation along X-axis


When the static distance along the x-axis increases, the air gap becomes non-uniform. It starts increasing in the tooth 1 side and decreasing in the opposite direction. This leads to unbalanced force distribution. In fact, as the rotor moves away from tooth1, the stator winding / permanent magnet interaction becomes less, which makes the magnetic field weaker and results in decreasing radial force. Conversely, tooth 25, which is diametrically opposite to tooth 1, experiences an increase in radial force when increasing static distance.




Fig. 3. Radial Force Amplitude versus Static Distance Variation along X-axis


During the eccentric rotation, the magnetic flux density is higher in some regions and lower in others compared to a perfectly centered rotor. The regions with higher flux density contribute more to the overall torque generation. As a result, the average electromagnetic torque increases when the rotor is eccentric because more torque is produced by the regions with higher flux density, as shown in Figure 3.
A torque ripple is a fluctuation in the output torque of the motor as it rotates. It is an undesirable characteristic as it can cause mechanical vibrations and acoustic noise. Torque ripple is primarily caused by the interaction of multiple harmonics in the motor's magnetic field. When the rotor is perfectly centered, the magnetic field distribution is symmetric, and the harmonics tend to cancel each other out to some extent, resulting in a lower torque ripple. However, with an increase in rotor eccentricity, the magnetic field distribution becomes asymmetric. This can lead to better harmonics cancellation and reduced torque ripple, as illustrated in Figure 3.




Fig. 4. Maximum Flux Density for each Static Distance





Fig. 5. Magnetic Flux Density Distribution for 90% Static Distance


In the regions where the air gap is smaller due to eccentricity, the magnetic flux density tends to be higher, as mentioned in Figure 4. Conversely, in regions where the air gap is larger, the magnetic flux density tends to be lower. This non-uniformity in the flux density distribution (Figure 5) is a consequence of eccentricity.

Static Eccentricity – 50 % Static Distance


In this section, we fix the static center radial distance at 50 % of the air gap, and we aim to check the impact of varying the angular position of the static center on the radial force of the two diametrical opposite teeth 1 and 25 as defined before.






Fig. 6. Tooth 1 Maximum Radial Force for Different Static Angular Positions






Fig. 7. Tooth 25 Maximum Radial Force for Different Static Angular Positions


For 0, 180 deg and 360 deg, the static center is positioned along the x-axis direction. For 90 deg and 270 deg, the static center is located along the y-axis direction.