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3-6 PRIME MOVERS All generators, large and small, ac and dc, require a source of mechanical power to turn their rotors. This source of mechanical energy is called a prime mover. Prime movers are divided into two classes for generators-high-speed and low-speed. Steam and gas turbines are high-speed prime movers, while internal-combustion engines, water, and electric motors are considered low-speed prime movers. The type of prime mover plays an important part in the design of alternators since the speed at which the rotor is turned determines certain characteristics of alternator construction and operation. ALTERNATOR ROTORS There are two types of rotors used in rotating-field alternators. They are called the turbine-driven and salient-pole rotors. As you may have guessed, the turbine-driven rotor shown in figure 3-4, view A, is used when the prime mover is a high-speed turbine. The windings in the turbine-driven rotor are arranged to form two or four distinct poles. The windings are firmly embedded in slots to withstand the tremendous centrifugal forces encountered at high speeds. Figure 3-4.—Types of rotors used in alternators. The salient-pole rotor shown in figure 3-4, view B, is used in low-speed alternators. The salient-pole rotor often consists of several separately wound pole pieces, bolted to the frame of the rotor. If you could compare the physical size of the two types of rotors with the same electrical characteristics, you would see that the salient-pole rotor would have a greater diameter. At the same number of revolutions per minute, it has a greater centrifugal force than does the turbine-driven rotor. To

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