Performance of carbon brushes at higher temperature

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1 Performance of carbon brushes at higher temperature Modern electrical drives are design according to insulation call H. Amongst others this means for he carbon brush sliding contact, that commutator- and slip ring temperature will ihave a distinct increase. Therefore there will also be a distinctive influence on the total brush performance. As an overview about the performance of the three materials electro graphite, metal graphite and resin bonded graphite you find below some graphs. The main elements of the surface film the so called patina - on a copper commutator are: copper oxides CuO und Cu 2 O, carbon of the carbon brush, impurities from the environment, a thin water layer. The copper oxides give the patina semiconductor like properties. Compared with the ideal collector temperature of 60 to 90 C ( F) the electric resistance of the patina will be decreased at higher temperature. But water molecules, an important part of satisfactory carbon brush performance, will desorb from the surface. The friction between carbon brush and counter material will increase and an increase of the brush wear can be observed (Fig. 1-3 ). This effect is enforced by an intensified oxidation of the surface and a thereby increased surface roughness. Index: 1 Seite: 1 von: 5

2 Metal Graphite 1 9,00 8,00 C Fig1: Brush wear as a function of temperature metal graphite brush grade Electro Graphite C Fig 2. Brush wear as a function of temperature electro graphite brush grade Index: 1 Seite: 2 von: 5

3 Resin bonded graphite C Fig 3. Brush wear as a function of temperature resin bonded graphite brush grade Concerning the friction coefficient there is no uniform trend for the three materials. Dependent ob the carbon brush grade a temperature rise can cause a decrease or an increase of the friction coefficient as well. This is shown in fig 4. Metallgrafit graphite 0,45 0,4 0,35 0,3 Reibwert 0,25 0,2 0,15 0,1 0, Temperatur C Fig 4: Friction coefficient as a function of temperature Index: 1 Seite: 3 von: 5

4 The behaviour of electro graphite grades on steel as counter material is specific. In this case the friction coefficient rises with the temperature. This may cause heavy brush vibrations, e.g. on rings of turbo generators. Hence the upper limit of 90 C surface temperature should be kept if electro graphite grades are used on steel slip rings. In conjunction with the voltage drop there is a universal trend for all three materials that an increase of the surface temperature is associated with a decrease of the voltage drop (Fig 5). Voltage drop 4,5 4 3,5 Voltage drop V 3 2,5 2 1,5 1 0,5 0 0 C resin bonded graphte electro grahite metal graphite Fig 5 Voltage drop a as function of temperature This is mainly determined by the fact that the electrical resistance of the patina decreases with rising temperarture. Index: 1 Seite: 4 von: 5

5 It s easy to be recognised that a temperature rise causes a distinct change of the parameters of a brush sliding contact. The change of the contact behaviour influences also the commutation performance. Brush grades used at standard temperature might not be optimal anymore at high temperature, but other grades can show better performance. The performance can be adjusted with special after treatments. It s always advisable to find the optimal brush grade by means of brush trials in the lab. Compact The optimal surface temperature for brush sliding contacts is C ( F) Higher temperature cause higher brush wear No uniform temperature effect on friction coefficient Voltage drop declines with temperature Adaption of carbon brushes to the operational conditions with after treatments Index: 1 Seite: 5 von: 5

Surface roughness. Picture 1: Friction coefficient as a function of surface roughness Curve 1: Roughness R z 0,5µm Curve 2: Roughness R z 5 µ

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