Goldstein, C. and Hetrick, J., "Mechanical Drag Model for an Electric Machine," SAE Technical Paper 2017-01-1230, 2017, doi:10.4271/2017-01-1230.
Mechanical losses in electric machines can contribute significantly to overall system losses in an electric drive . With a permanent magnet synchronous machine (PMSM), measuring mechanical losses is difficult without an un-magnetized rotor. Even with an un-magnetized rotor, physical testing can be time consuming and expensive. This paper presents a simple theoretical model of mechanical drag in an electric machine. The model was built using calculations for bearing, seal, and windage drag and was compared to experimental results from testing with un-magnetized motors. Based on this information, the model was modified to better represent the physical system. The goal of this work is to understand the contributors to mechanical drag, to be able to estimate mechanical losses without physical testing, and to be able to quickly evaluate design choices that could reduce mechanical losses.