MAE/ECE 535 Design of Electromechanical Systems

A practical introduction to electromechanical systems with emphasis on modeling, analysis and design techniques. Provides theory and practical tools for the design of electric machines (standard motors, linear actuators, magnetic bearings, LVDTs, etc). Involves a “hands on” experimental demonstration and culminates in an industry-sponsored design project. Topics include Maxwell's equations, magnetic circuit analysis, electromechanical energy conversion, finite element analysis, and design techniques. 3 credit hours.

FAQ: How can individual distance students participate in "hands-on" demonstrations and design projects?

Answer: Quite easily. Any student with access to basic supplies (wire, batteries, magnets, a video camera, etc.) can participate effectively in experimental demonstration projects (many of the best demonstrations have been submitted by individual distance students with limited resources). Of course, students with access to digital multimeters, oscilloscopes, function generators and similar technologies are encouraged to use them. The final design project has no “hands on” component; it utilizes computational tools (MATLAB, Simulink, FEMM, etc.) that are readily available to all students through NCSU's Virtual Computing Lab (VCM).


• Prerequisite

Undergraduate courses in physics and differential equations or consent of instructor.

• Course Objectives

The primary course objective is to provide students with modeling and analysis tools that can be used to design electrical machines (standard motors, linear actuators, magnetic bearings, LVDTs, etc). Students completing this course will:

  • Understand the fundamentals of electromagnetism (Maxwell's equations) and apply them to standard problems
  • Understand magnetic circuit analysis and use it to predict the electromagnetic characteristics of common systems
  • Understand finite element analysis for electromagnetic systems and use it to predict magnetic fluxes, forces, and torques in electric machine models
  • Understand the fundamentals of permanent magnetism and be able to specify permanent magnet materials for specific applications
  • Understand the principles of electromechanical energy conversion and use these principles to predict forces and torques in electric machine models
  • Be able to develop nonlinear dynamic models of electric machines, simulate these systems using Matlab and Simulink, and analyze their performance and response characteristics
  • Understand the fundamentals (machine topology, etc.) and basic operating characteristics (torque, speed, efficiency, etc.) of common electrical machines (induction motors, synchronous motors, DC motors, etc.)
  • Be able to design, model, and simulate common (standard motors, etc.) and unique (railguns, active magnetic bearings, etc.) electric machines

• Course Requirements

HOMEWORK: 20% of final grade.

EXAMINATIONS: A mid term exam (20%) and a final exam (30%).


PROJECTS: This course culminates in an industry-sponsored design project. Recently, groups of students (four students per group) worked with an industrial manufacturer of rare-earth magnets to improve an existing DC motor design. The motor was taken from a Mercedes-Benz fuel pump, and the objective was to predict the performance benefits (and costs) associated with replacing ferrite magnets with rare-earth magnets. For this project, students used basic design techniques, Finite Element Analysis, and experimental data to develop their models and validate their designs (30%).

• Textbook

Buckner, G.D., Course Notes: MAE/ECE 535 Design of Electromechanical Systems. Available at the NCSU Bookstore.

• Reference Texts (Not Required)

Lonngren, K.E. and Savov, S.V., Fundamentals of Electromagnetics with MATLAB, Second Edition, SciTech, 2007.

Fitzgerald, A.E., C. Kingsley, and S.D. Ulmans, Electric Machinery, Sixth Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2003.

• Computer and Internet Requirements

NCSU and Engineering Online have recommended minimum specifications for computers. For details, click here.

• Instructor

Dr. Gregory D. Buckner, Professor
Dept. of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
North Carolina State University
3256 Engineering Building III
Raleigh, NC 27695

Phone: (919) 515-5270
Fax: (919) 515-7968
Instructor Website: