CEME, established at the University of Illinois in 1999, is dedicated to enhance education, technology, understanding, and research activities on the fundamental topic of electric machinery. Electric machines are the muscle of modern civilization. Billions of motors do everything from spin computer disk drives to pump water for cities. Advances in engineering materials, electronic devices, semiconductor processes, computer simulation, and many other areas can improve the design and operation of motors. The Center is nurturing a new generation of engineers for contributions to rotating electric machines and electromechanics through specialized training and experiences at all levels of higher education.
- New courses and educational material: Center faculty members are planning new and revised courses to establish a premier educational program for electric machinery and electromechanics. Plans include extensive design instruction, computer visualization, enhancements to laboratory facilities, and collaboration with the microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) group in the College of Engineering.
- Multidisciplinary research efforts and student projects: The faculty and students in the Center are working on many new research areas and student projects involving rotating machinery. Product descriptions are available.
- A nationwide network of collaborating universities: A core set of universities for collaboration both in the teaching and research of electric machines and electromechanics has been initiated. This network will expand as resources and opportunities arise.
The Center has opportunities for both undergraduate students and graduate students, including courses, laboratory projects, team projects, summer positions, and assistantships.
The work of the Center today serves to advance educational activities in electromechanics and to address fundamental research questions of broad interest. Two central themes are “best-use” and “best-design” machinery technology. In best-use technology, we seek to do the best possible job with existing machines and with well-established machine designs. Opportunities in best-use technology are incredibly broad. Some examples are the use of conventional motors for powering electric cars. How much power can be obtained from a motor for short time intervals? Other examples are the application of electronic control approaches to motors. In best-design technology, we seek to make the best possible use of available materials to meet a user’s motion control requirements. For example, if a motor will always be used with an advanced electronic controller, how should it be designed to give the best performance for torque, for acceleration, or for other factors? If we were to design a motor for a home appliance from first principles, what considerations are involved and how would the design differ from commercial products today?
Both best-use and best-design questions will require advances in computer simulation and design tools, so working engineers can take advantage of these fundamental concepts.