What is an electric motor?

cropped-vintage-1915-century-brass-tag-electric-motor-img1.jpgIn the most basic terms, an electric motor is a machine that can convert electrical energy into mechanical energy by using an electromagnet to create motion. (Read about how an electric motor works HERE.)

Electric motors are all around you. If you woke up and ground some coffee, whipped up a smoothie in your blender or used an electric razor or blow dryer this morning, an electric motor helped you start your day. One helped transport you to work if you started your car, and may have even gotten you all the way there if you took a streetcar or drive an all-electric or hybrid vehicle!

Electric motors enable us to clean house (vacuums), preserve food (refrigerators, freezers), wash our clothes (washers, dryers), move water (well and fountain pumps), keep things cool (fans), run power tools (compressors, drills, saws) and manufacture things. There are literally thousands of industrial applications for electric motors.

They come in all sizes—from the tiny, simple motors in a child’s toy, to large industrial motors used in manufacturing. Some of the most powerful motors in the world drive the propellers on the Queen Elizabeth II cruise ship and run a wind tunnel at NASA’s Langley Research Center.