In electric vehicles, electric motors take the place of gasoline engines as a means of propulsion. Electric motors can be used both for propulsion and for braking. When you put electrical energy into an electric motor it converts the electrical energy into mechanical energy and can be used to propel a vehicle. When you want to slow the vehicle down the spinning motor can be used to convert the kinetic energy of the vehicle back into electrical energy. This has a braking affect on the vehicle. This also puts a little energy back into the batteries since the motor is acting as an electric generator.
In this unit, students will develop an understanding of how an electric motor works and be able to identify the major components of a DC electric motor. The students will be given a tour of a motor manufacturing facility, disassemble a toy DC motor, and build an electric motor that is powered by one AA battery. They will experimentally discover factors that affect the efficiency of electric motors.
Virtual Electric Motor Interactive Module
This module uses a virtual electric toy motor to introduce the fundamentals of electric motors: how they are put together and what each part of the motor contributes to the motor’s functioning. There are two activities to provide experience with assembling and disassembling a virtual direct current (DC) electric motor, and two activities to provide opportunities to apply knowledge of the motor’s parts and their functions. Click to access the virtual motor module.
|Physical Science||Grade 11 – Benchmark D: Apply principles of forces and motion to mathematically analyze, describe and predict the net effects on objects or systems.|
|Scientific Inquiry||Grade 11 – Benchmark A: Make appropriate choices when designing and participating in scientific investigations by using cognitive and manipulative skills when collecting data and formulating conclusions from the data.|