" MEG "

Inventors: Stephen L. Patrick, Thomas E. Bearden, James C. Hayes, Kenneth D. Moore, James L. Kenny

United States Patent: 6,362,718

Abstract. An electromagnetic generator without moving parts includes a permanent magnet and a magnetic core including first and second magnetic paths. A first input coil and a first output coil extend around portions of the first magnetic path, while a second input coil and a second output coil extend around portions of the second magnetic path. The input coils are alternatively pulsed to provide induced current pulses in the output coils. Driving electrical current through each of the input coils reduces a level of flux from the permanent magnet within the magnet path around which the input coil extends. In an alternative embodiment of an electromagnetic generator, the magnetic core includes annular spaced-apart plates, with posts and permanent magnets extending in an alternating fashion between the plates. An output coil extends around each of these posts. Input coils extending around portions of the plates are pulsed to cause the induction of current within the output coils.


1. Field of Invention

This invention relates to a magnetic generator used to produce electrical power without moving parts, and, more particularly, to such a device having a capability, when operating, of producing electrical power without an external application of input power through input coils.

2. Description of the Related Art

The patent literature describes a number of magnetic generators, each of which includes a permanent magnet, two magnetic paths external to the permanent magnet, each of which extends between the opposite poles of the permanent magnet, switching means for causing magnetic flux to flow alternately along each of the two magnetic paths, and one or more output coils in which current is induced to flow by means of changes in the magnetic field within the device. These devices operate in accordance with an extension of Faraday's Law, indicating that an electrical current is induced within a conductor within a changing magnetic field, even if the source of the magnetic field is stationary.

A method for switching magnetic flux to flow predominantly along either of two magnetic paths between opposite poles of a permanent magnet is described as a "flux transfer" principle by R. J. Radus in Engineer's Digest, Jul. 23, 1963. This principle is used to exert a powerful magnetic force at one end of both the north and south poles and a very low force at the other end, without being used in the construction of a magnetic generator. This effect can be caused mechanically, by keeper movement, or electrically, by driving electrical current through one or more control windings extending around elongated versions of the pole pieces 14. Several devices using this effect are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,165,723, 3,228,013, and 3,316,514, which are incorporated herein by reference.

Another step toward the development of a magnetic generator is described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,368,141, which is incorporated herein by reference, as a device including a permanent magnet in combination with a transformer having first and second windings about a core, with two paths for magnetic flux leading from each pole of the permanent magnet to either end of the core, so that, when an alternating current induces magnetic flux direction changes in the core, the magnetic flux from the permanent magnet is automatically directed through the path which corresponds with the direction taken by the magnetic flux through the core due to the current. In this way, the magnetic flux is intensified. This device can be used to improve the power factor of a typically inductively loaded alternating current circuit.

Other patents describe magnetic generators in which electrical current from one or more output coils is described as being made available to drive a load, in the more conventional manner of a generator. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,006,401, which is incorporated herein by reference, describes an electromagnetic generator including permanent magnet and a core member, in which the magnetic flux flowing from the magnet in the core member is rapidly alternated by switching to generate an alternating current in a winding on the core member. The device includes a permanent magnet and two separate magnetic flux circuit paths between the north and south poles of the magnet. Each of the circuit paths includes two switching means for alternately opening and closing the circuit paths, generating an alternating current in a winding on the core member. Each of the switching means includes a switching magnetic circuit intersecting the circuit path, with the switching magnetic circuit having a coil through which current is driven to induce magnetic flux to saturate the circuit path extending to the permanent magnet. Power to drive these coils is derived directly from the output of a continuously applied alternating current source. What is needed is an electromagnetic generator not requiring the application of such a current source.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,077,001, which is incorporated herein by reference, describes a magnetic generator, or dc/dc converter, comprising a permanent magnet having spaced-apart poles and a permanent magnetic field extending between the poles of the magnet. A variable-reluctance core is disposed in the field in fixed relation to the magnet and the reluctance of the core is varied to cause the pattern of lines of force of the magnetic field to shift. An output conductor is disposed in the field in fixed relation to the magnet and is positioned to be cut by the shifting lines of permanent magnetic force so that a voltage is induced in the conductor. The magnetic flux is switched between alternate paths by means of switching coils extending around portions of the core, with the flow of current being alternated between these switching coils by means of a pair of transistors driven by the outputs of a flip-flop. The input to the flip flop is driven by an adjustable frequency oscillator. Power for this drive circuit is supplied through an additional, separate power source. What is needed is a magnetic generator not requiring the application of such a power source.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,904,926, which is incorporated herein by reference, describes another magnetic generator using the motion of a magnetic field. The device includes an electrical winding defining a magnetically conductive zone having bases at each end, the winding including elements for the removing of an induced current therefrom. The generator further includes two pole magnets, each having a first and a second pole, each first pole in magnetic communication with one base of the magnetically conductive zone. The generator further includes a third pole magnet, the third pole magnet oriented intermediately of the first poles of the two pole electromagnets, the third pole magnet having a magnetic axis substantially transverse to an axis of the magnetically conductive zone, the third magnet having a pole nearest to the conductive zone and in magnetic attractive relationship to the first poles of the two pole electromagnets, in which the first poles thereof are like poles. Also included in the generator are elements, in the form of windings, for cyclically reversing the magnetic polarities of the electromagnets. These reversing means, through a cyclical change in the magnetic polarities of the electromagnets, cause the magnetic flux lines associated with the magnetic attractive relationship between the first poles of the electromagnets and the nearest pole of the third magnet to correspondingly reverse, causing a wiping effect across the magnetically conductive zone, as lines of magnetic flux swing between respective first poles of the two electromagnets, thereby inducing electron movement within the output windings and thus generating a flow of current within the output windings.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,221,892, which is incorporated herein by reference, describes a magnetic generator in the form of a direct current flux compression transformer including a magnetic envelope having poles defining a magnetic axis and characterized by a pattern of magnetic flux lines in polar symmetry about the axis. The magnetic flux lines are spatially displaced relative to the magnetic envelope using control elements which are mechanically stationary relative to the core. Further provided are inductive elements which are also mechanically stationary relative to the magnetic envelope. Spatial displacement of the flux relative to the inductive elements causes a flow of electrical current. Further provided are magnetic flux valves which provide for the varying of the magnetic reluctance to create a time domain pattern of respectively enhanced and decreased magnetic reluctance across the magnetic valves, and, thereby, across the inductive elements.

Other patents describe devices using superconductive elements to cause movement of the magnetic flux. These devices operate in accordance with the Meissner effect, which describes the expulsion of magnetic flux from the interior of a superconducting structure as the structure undergoes the transition to a superconducting phase. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,011,821, which is incorporated herein by reference, describes an electric power generating device including a bundle of conductors which are placed in a magnetic field generated by north and south pole pieces of a permanent magnet. The magnetic field is shifted back and forth through the bundle of conductors by a pair of thin films of superconductive material. One of the thin films is placed in the superconducting state while the other thin film is in a non-superconducting state. As the states are cyclically reversed between the two films, the magnetic field is deflected back and forth through the bundle of conductors.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,327,015, which is incorporated herein by reference, describes an apparatus for producing an electrical impulse comprising a tube made of superconducting material, a source of magnetic flux mounted about one end of the tube, a means, such as a coil, for intercepting the flux mounted along the tube, and a means for changing the temperature of the superconductor mounted about the tube. As the tube is progressively made superconducting, the magnetic field is trapped within the tube, creating an electrical impulse in the means for intercepting. A reversal of the superconducting state produces a second pulse.

None of the patented devices described above use a portion of the electrical power generated within the device to power the reversing means used to change the path of magnetic flux. Thus, like conventional rotary generators, these devices require a steady input of power, which may be in the form of electrical power driving the reversing means of one of these magnetic generators or the torque driving the rotor of a conventional rotary generator. Yet, the essential function of the magnetic portion of an electrical generator is simply to switch magnetic fields in accordance with precise timing. In most conventional applications of magnetic generators, the voltage is switched across coils, creating magnetic fields in the coils which are used to override the fields of permanent magnets, so that a substantial amount of power must be furnished to the generator to power the switching means, reducing the efficiency of the generator.

Recent advances in magnetic material, which have particularly been described by Robert C. O'Handley in Modern Magnetic Materials, Principles and Applications, John Wiley & Sons, New York, pp. 456-468, provide nanocrystalline magnetic alloys, which are particularly well suited forth rapid switching of magnetic flux. These alloys are primarily composed of crystalline grains, or crystallites, each of which has at least one dimension of a few nanometers. Nanocrystalline materials may be made by heat-treating amorphous alloys which form precursors for the nanocrystalline materials, to which insoluble elements, such as copper, are added to promote massive nucleation, and to which stable, refractory alloying materials, such as niobium or tantalum carbide are added to inhibit grain growth. Most of the volume of nanocrystalline alloys is composed of randomly distributed crystallites having dimensions of about 2-40 nm. These crystallites are nucleated and grown from an amorphous phase, with insoluble elements being rejected during the process of crystallite growth. In magnetic terms, each crystallite is a single-domain particle. The remaining volume of nanocrystalline alloys is made up of an amorphous phase in the form of grain boundaries having a thickness of about 1 nm.

Magnetic materials having particularly useful properties are formed from an amorphous Co--Nb--B (cobalt-niobium-boron) alloy having near-zero magnetostriction and relatively strong magnetization, as well as good mechanical strength and corrosion resistance. A process of annealing this material can be varied to change the size of crystallites formed in the material, with a resulting strong effect on DC coercivity. The precipitation of nanocrystallites also enhances AC performance of the otherwise amorphous alloys.

Other magnetic materials are formed using iron-rich amorphous and nanocrystalline alloys, which generally show larger magnetization that the alloys based on cobalt. Such materials are, for example, Fe--B--Si--Nb--Cu (iron-boron-silicon-niobium-copper) alloys. While the permeability of iron-rich amorphous alloys is limited by their relatively large levels of magnetostriction, the formation of a nanocrystalline material from such an amorphous alloy dramatically reduces this level of magnetostriction, favoring easy magnetization.

Advances have also been made in the development of materials for permanent magnets, particularly in the development of materials including rare earth elements. Such materials include samarium cobalt, SmCo.sub.5, which is used to form a permanent magnet material having the highest resistance to demagnetization of any known material. Other magnetic materials are made, for example, using combinations of iron, neodymium, and boron.

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