Modeling of Bearing Voltage in Electric Machines Based on Electromagnetic FEA and Measured Bearing Capacitance

Peng Han, Greg Heins, Dean Patterson, Mark Thiele, Dan M. Ionel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Bearing voltages and associated bearing currents in electric machines driven by pulsewidth modulation converters with high switching frequencies and high $dv/dt$ can cause premature bearing failures. This article proposes a new modeling approach for the prediction of steady-state and transient bearing voltages based on two-dimensional (2-D) electromagnetic finite element analysis with coupled external circuits using measured bearing capacitance values. The distributed-element external circuit was employed mainly to take into account the influence of wire distribution and frequency dependency, which are typically neglected by traditional equivalent circuits. The developed model was then used to simulate bearing voltages for various scenarios and evaluate the effectiveness of several easy-to-implement bearing voltage reduction methods from the perspective of machine design and manufacturing, such as using the insulated shaft and/or bearings, introducing additional insulation in the rotor, and changing the material of machine components. Experimental measurements are also provided to facilitate the analysis and validate the proposed approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9465698
Pages (from-to)4765-4775
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industry Applications
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the support of Regal Beloit Corporation, University of Kentucky, the L. Stanley Pigman endowment, and Ansys, Inc. The authors would like to thank Professor Ion G. Boldea from the University of Politehnica of Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania, and Dr. Ping Zhou and Dr. Dingsheng Lin, from Ansys, Inc., for valuable suggestions and discussions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 1972-2012 IEEE.


  • Bearing current
  • bearing voltage
  • capacitance
  • electric machine
  • insulated bearing
  • insulated shaft
  • pulsewidth modulation (PWM) converter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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