Skip to main content

ED: Electrical drives for mechanical engineers

Details about our CPD course, covering the fundamental theory of electrical machines and drive systems related to mechanical and fluid power systems.


This course is run in conjunction with the IMechE.

Our course introduces you to the fundamental theory of electromagnetism, power electronics and electromechanical energy conversion. You'll learn the principles of electrical motors and be able to:

  • select drives for given applications
  • appreciate requirements for controllers
  • understand power electronic circuits

Classroom and laboratory sessions will develop your knowledge in the concepts of speed/position control for DC, AC and stepper motors. You'll also explore the typical problems associated with electrical drives including dynamic characteristics and efficiency.

Who should apply

Our course is for mechanical engineers, graduates, technicians, managers and supervisory staff, particularly those new to the field of electrical engineering. The course content is mostly descriptive; however, you will need basic mathematical knowledge.

Prices and dates

All our course prices and dates are listed on our Centre for Power Transmission & control cpd courses for industry page.

Course objectives

When you complete the course, you should:

  • understand the principles of electricity, magnetism, and electromagnetism, and the relationship between voltage, current, magnetic flux, flux linkage, force, torque
  • know the characteristics and applications of power electronic components and circuits
  • be able to select and size electric motors for given applications based on torque/speed characteristics, efficiency, cost, supply requirements, dynamic performance, and controllability
  • be able to explain the operating principles of classic and brushless DC motors, synchronous/asynchronous AC motors, and stepper motors
  • understand pulse-width-modulation and its application in AC and DC drives
  • know the principles of speed/position control for both DC and AC motors, and identify supply requirements

Course contents

Fundamental principles

  • DC systems, 1- and 3-phase AC systems
  • electrical sources, transformers and power electronic converters
  • effects of resistive, capacitive, and inductive loads

Electricity and electromagnetism

  • microscopic and macroscopic effects of electricity
  • principles of magnetism and electro-magnetism
  • relationship between voltage, current, magnetic flux, flux linkage, force, torque

General theory of electro-mechanical conversion

  • mechanical and electrical energy accumulation, losses, and power transfer
  • force and torque production
  • interaction of coils, reluctance torque
  • rotating magnetic fields for constant torque production

Magnetism and permanent magnets

  • magnetic energy of ferromagnetic materials
  • magnetisation and demagnetisation, B-H diagrams, hysteresis
  • alnico, rare-earth, and neodym alloys

Power-electronic devices and circuits

  • semiconductor devices - diode, thyristor, GTO thyristor, BJT, MOSFET, IGBT
  • half-bridge converters for voltage and current control
  • full-bridge power converter
  • switching power losses

Power converters for drives

  • DC to AC converters - single phase and three phase inverters
  • square-wave voltage source inverters, PWM inverters
  • harmonic content of drive signals.

DC motors and drives

  • basic mathematical model of direct current motors
  • separate, shunt, series, and compound excitation principles
  • permanent magnet iron and ironless motors
  • drive selection, continuous and incremental servo systems.

Stepper motors and drives

  • hybrid, VR, and PM stepper motors
  • performance characteristics and time response
  • full and half step motor drives, micro-stepping.

Brushless DC motors and drives

  • motor construction
  • trapezoidal and sinusoidal BDCM
  • servo control

Induction motors and drives

  • basic construction and mathematical modelling
  • options for speed control (pole changing, voltage amplitude, frequency control)
  • transient operation
  • impact of non-sinusoidal excitation
  • vector control


  • DC motors
  • DC-DC PWM converter
  • induction motors
  • brushless DC motors

Laboratory sessions

  • permanent magnet motor characteristics
  • DC-DC PWM converter
  • PM stepper motor drive
  • hybrid stepper motor drive
  • AC motor drive
  • brushless motor drive


The University of Bath is regulated by The Office for Students (OfS). We continually improve our course by integrating feedback from academic staff and students.

Learning, assessment and final award

Our teaching is carried out by people experienced in the field, mostly academic staff and PhD candidates as well as select guest speakers. There is no formal assessment and to successfully complete the course and receive the certificate of competence, you must attend the course in whole and participate in the exercises.

Continue your professional development with us

Find out more about what other CPD courses we offer.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

On this page