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Coreless DC motors

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Coreless DC motors
Nothing in the design of any of the motors described above requires that the iron (steel) portions of the rotor actually rotate; torque is only exerted on the windings of the electromagnets. Taking advantage of this fact is the coreless DC motor, a specialized form of a brush DC motor. Optimized for rapid acceleration, these motors have a rotor that is constructed without any iron core. The rotor can take the form of a winding-filled cylinder inside the stator magnets, a basket surrounding the stator magnets, or a flat pancake (possibly formed on a printed wiring board) running between upper and lower stator magnets. The windings are typically stabilized by being impregnated with epoxy resins.

Because the rotor is much lighter in weight (mass) than a conventional rotor formed from copper windings on steel laminations, the rotor can accelerate much more rapidly, often achieving a mechanical time constant under 1 ms. This is especially true if the windings use aluminum rather than the heavier copper. But because there is no metal mass in the rotor to act as a heat sink, even small coreless motors must often be cooled by forced air.

These motors were commonly used to drive the capstan(s) of magnetic tape drives and are still widely used in high-performance servo-controlled systems.