Science

17-year-old builds an electric motor that revolutionizes the industry

Robert Sansone, a 17-year-old engineer, seems to have found a way to make electric vehicles even greener. The high school student, who has worked on various engineering projects since childhood, has worked on various projects since the age of 17, has designed an electric motor that dispenses with the rare earth magnets used in the motors of these vehicles. In addition to being expensive, extracting rare earth magnets has environmental disadvantages.

Sansone assures Smithsonian magazine that his interest in electric motors is “natural” because he has used them on previous projects. But it wasn’t until he watched a video about the pros and cons of electric vehicles that he realized that the consequences of producing these components had an impact on the environment. Mainly because, again, they use rare earth magnets. He decided to solve this sustainability problem and began to explore possible alternatives. Among them is the use of synchronous reluctance motors.

The site’s synchronous reluctance motors, although more environmentally friendly, are not powerful enough to drive an electric vehicle. Rather, they are used in low power devices such as fans. So the goal of the young man was to make this engine even more powerful, and after a year of development and 15 attempts, he succeeded.

More powerful, cheaper and more environmentally friendly synchronous reluctance motor.

electric motor

Using copper wires, a steel rotor, a plastic case and a 3D printer, Sansone has created a prototype electric motor that delivers higher rotational force than conventional synchronous reluctance motors. His model was also more efficient than others.

After initial testing, Sansone decided to compare it to a traditional synchronous reluctance motor. He found that at 300 revolutions per minute (RPM), his electric motor developed 39% more torque (torque). It was also 31% more efficient.

I don’t have a lot of resources to build very advanced motors so I had to make a scaled down version using a 3D printer.

At higher speeds, especially at 750 rpm, the rotational force was 37% higher than that of a conventional synchronous reluctance motor. Unfortunately, this was the maximum power that his prototype could achieve, as the plastic parts melted from the heat of the device.

Synchronous reluctance motors use copper instead of rare earth magnets, which are much cheaper and easier to find. The body of such an engine is also cheaper to manufacture, but it is much more profitable than machines not designed for it and has high costs. However, Sansone hopes that “new technologies such as additive manufacturing,” including, for example, the use of 3D printers, will reduce costs and make building easier in the future.

Meanwhile, the 17-year-old engineer is working on his 16th prototype, which, among other things, will use stronger materials to achieve higher powers. He hopes that one day he will be able to create a model stable enough to present to a mobility company. And that in the future they will use it for their electric vehicles.

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