# DC machine speed/torque characteristic

by ilconformista
Tags: characteristic, machine, speed or torque
 Share this thread:
 P: 18 Hello everyone! In the following speed-torque characteristic of a DC shunt motor, we see that if the speed exceeds a certain value, then the machine becomes a generator. I don't understand something. How is it possible for the machine to have a negative torque and a positive speed? Shouldn't they always be of the same sign? For example if the machine (motor or generator) rotates clockwise, then speed and torque should be positive. So what does torque and speed of different sign mean? Attached Thumbnails
 Homework Sci Advisor HW Helper Thanks P: 12,794 If the speed is positive but the torque is negative then the acceleration is in the opposite direction to the velocity. Remember - torque causes acceleration, not speed.
 P: 18 Thanks a lot! So the kind of rotation (clockwise or not) is defined by the sign of speed and not by the sign of toque. Is that right?
 Homework Sci Advisor HW Helper Thanks P: 12,794 DC machine speed/torque characteristic That is correct - just like the direction of linear motion is not determined by the sign of the force. A clockwise applied torque produces a clockwise acceleration. If the initial velocity was anti-clockwise, it will take the rotation a while to change direction. Usually an applied torque will be opposed by something - a load say and always friction. The friction (or other losses) is often speed dependent, so here will be some speed where the friction+load is the same as the applied torque and the acceleration will be zero. This is the concept behind torque-speed relations. You have to look carefully at the description to see where the "torque" mentioned comes from.
 P: 18 Thanks a lot again. However it still bugs me: If speed is positive, that means that the rotation is clockwise and so the Laplace force is positive and the torque is positive. Similarly if speed is negative then the torque is negative. So I come again to my first question.
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 3,648
 So I come again to my first question. .... So what does torque and speed of different sign mean?
Intuitively one gets a feel for this running up and down steep hills in an electric golf cart.

Arithmetically maybe this'll help ?

Positive torque X Positive speed = positive power , a motor
Negative torque X Negative speed = positive power , a motor wired to run the other way

Negative torque X Positive speed = negative power , a generator

sorry to butt in - just i sensed a need for some abject simplicity, and i'm as simple as they come..
 P: 18 jim hardy thanks. I get that about power, but the exact thing I don't get is this: How is it possible to have negative torque and positive speed? Because it seems to me that both speed and torque must have the same sign as the "sign" the rotation.
 P: 115 they are different things. Torque is a force, speed is a change in position. There is nothing that stops them from having different signs. When a car is braking, its applied torque to the wheels is negative but it is still moving forward.
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 3,648
 Quote by ilconformista jim hardy thanks. I get that about power, but the exact thing I don't get is this: How is it possible to have negative torque and positive speed? Because it seems to me that both speed and torque must have the same sign as the "sign" the rotation.
As SimonB said,
 You have to look carefully at the description to see where the "torque" mentioned comes from.
What is providing the "twist"(torque) ?

Have you ever started a lawnmower or outboard motor?
You must supply significant torque to spin it,
but once the engine is started it produces plenty of torque.

Viewed from the top my lawnmower rotates clockwise
and i must supply clockwise torque to get it started.

Once it has started i could apply counterclockwise torque to stop it, or to extract power from its shaft.
Note reversal of torque..

Perhaps confusion stems from this fine point about action-reaction pairs. They act on different objects.
So when you swap from motor to generator keep in mind who's doing the twisting and who's feeling that twist.
To start the mower i apply clockwise torque from the top, and the motor's inertia produces equal counterclockwise torque.
When mowing with it the motor produces clockwise torque and grass applies equal counterclockwise torque from the bottom.
Observe torque felt by mower engine - clockwise to put power in, counterclockwise to take power out.

These guys express it more succinctly :
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/newt.html
 Newton's third law: All forces in the universe occur in equal but oppositely directed pairs. There are no isolated forces; for every external force that acts on an object there is a force of equal magnitude but opposite direction which acts back on the object which exerted that external force. In the case of internal forces, a force on one part of a system will be countered by a reaction force on another part of the system so that an isolated system cannot by any means exert a net force on the system as a whole. A system cannot "bootstrap" itself into motion with purely internal forces - to achieve a net force and an acceleration, it must interact with an object external to itself.
 P: 18 Thanks a lot!

 Related Discussions Electrical Engineering 5 Introductory Physics Homework 4 Introductory Physics Homework 4 Electrical Engineering 0 Engineering, Comp Sci, & Technology Homework 0