Reduction of Audible Noise of a Traction Motor at PWM Operation

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: A dominating source for the radiated acoustic noise from a train at low speeds is the traction motor. This noise originates from electromagnetic forces acting on the structure resulting in vibrations on the surface and thus radiated noise. It is often perceived as annoying due to its tonal nature. To achieve a desirable acoustic behavior, and also to meet legal requirements, it is of great importance to thoroughly understand the generation of noise of electromagnetic origin in the motor and also to be able to control it to a low level.In this work, experimental tests have been performed on a traction motor operated from pulse width modulated (PWM) converter. A PWM converter outputs a quasi-sinusoidal voltage created from switched voltage pulses of different widths. The resulting main vibrations at PWM operation and their causes have been analyzed. It is concluded that an appropriate selection of the PWM switching frequency, that is the rate at which the voltage is switched, is a powerful tool to influence the noise of electromagnetic origin. Changing the switching frequency shifts the frequencies of the exciting electromagnetic forces. Further experimental investigations show that the trend is that the resulting sound power level decreases with increasing switching frequency and eventually the sound power level reaches an almost constant level. The underlying physical phenomena for the reduced sound power level is different for different frequency ranges. It is proposed that the traction motor, similar to a thin walled cylindrical structure, shows a constant vibration over force response above a certain frequency. This is investigated using numerical simulations of simplified models. Above this certain frequency, where the area of high modal density is dominating, the noise reducing effect of further increasing the switching frequency is limited.

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