What is a single phase induction motor? Its types, working, construction, advantages, disadvantages & Applications

A single-phase induction motor is an AC electric motor that operates on a single-phase power supply. It is commonly used in various applications such as household appliances, small tools, and light machinery.

Construction single phase induction motor:

A single-phase induction motor consists of two main parts: the stator and the rotor.

  • The stator is the stationary part of the motor and is composed of a laminated iron core with evenly spaced slots. These slots contain the stator windings, which are usually made of copper.
  • The rotor, on the other hand, is the rotating part of the motor, which is also made up of a laminated iron core. It has conductive bars, which are arranged in a cylindrical shape and connected to an end ring.

Working single phase induction motor:

When a single-phase supply is applied to the stator winding, an alternating magnetic field is produced, which rotates at the synchronous speed. This magnetic field induces an electromotive force (EMF) in the rotor, which causes the rotor to rotate. The rotor speed is always slightly less than the synchronous speed, which is the speed of the rotating magnetic field. This difference between the rotor speed and synchronous speed is called the slip. The slip is necessary for the production of torque in the motor.

Types of single phase induction motor:

There are two main types of single-phase induction motors:

  • The shaded-pole motor
  • The split-phase motor.
  1. Shaded-pole motor: It is a simple type of single-phase induction motor that has a single winding on the stator. It has a copper ring, called a shading coil, which is placed around one part of the pole. This coil creates a small phase shift in the magnetic field and produces a rotating field, which causes the rotor to rotate. Shaded-pole motors are used in low-power applications such as fans and toys.
  2. Split-phase motor: It has two windings on the stator, a main winding, and a start winding. The start winding is connected to an auxiliary circuit that has a capacitor and a centrifugal switch. The capacitor creates a phase shift between the two windings, which produces a rotating magnetic field. When the motor starts, the centrifugal switch disconnects the start winding, and the motor continues to run on the main winding. Split-phase motors are used in applications that require higher power, such as air conditioners, washing machines, and pumps.


  1. Simple construction: Single-phase induction motors have a simple construction that makes them less expensive to produce, repair, and maintain. They have fewer parts compared to three-phase motors, which translates to lower manufacturing costs and easier maintenance.
  2. Easy to start: Single-phase motors are easy to start and require less energy to get them up and running. They don’t require any complicated starting equipment or circuits, which makes them ideal for small appliances and tools.
  3. Lightweight and compact: Single-phase motors are generally lightweight and compact, which makes them perfect for small spaces and portable equipment. They are also easier to move around and transport when compared to their three-phase counterparts.
  4. Versatile: Single-phase motors can be used in a variety of applications, from small household appliances to industrial equipment. They can power everything from ceiling fans, refrigerators, and washing machines to air compressors, water pumps, and power tools.
  5. Energy efficient: Single-phase motors are designed to be energy efficient, and they have a high power factor that reduces energy consumption. They are perfect for low-power applications and can help reduce energy costs over time.


  1. Limited Power: Single-phase induction motors have lower power capacity compared to three-phase motors. This is because single-phase motors require additional components to generate a rotating magnetic field, which results in a lower power-to-size ratio.
  2. Low Starting Torque: Single-phase induction motors have lower starting torque compared to three-phase motors. This can be a problem for applications that require high starting torque, such as air compressors and pumps.
  3. Uneven Power Distribution: Single-phase power is not as evenly distributed as three-phase power. As a result, single-phase motors can experience voltage drops and fluctuations, which can affect their performance and efficiency.
  4. Higher Maintenance Costs: Single-phase motors require additional components, such as capacitors and starting switches, to generate a rotating magnetic field. These components can fail over time and require maintenance or replacement, which can increase maintenance costs.
  5. Limited Speed Control: Single-phase motors have limited speed control options compared to three-phase motors. Variable frequency drives (VFDs) are not as widely available for single-phase motors, which limits the range of applications that can use them


  1. Domestic appliances: Single phase induction motors are commonly used in home appliances such as washing machines, air conditioners, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and fans.
  2. Agricultural machinery: Single phase induction motors are used in agricultural machinery such as irrigation pumps, grain mills, and animal feeders.
  3. Compressors: Single phase induction motors are used in compressors for air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
  4. Conveyors: Single phase induction motors are used in conveyor systems for material handling in factories and warehouses.
  5. Water pumps: Single phase induction motors are commonly used in water pumps for residential, commercial, and agricultural applications.
  6. Garage door openers: Single phase induction motors are used in garage door openers to raise and lower garage doors.
  7. Machine tools: Single phase induction motors are used in machine tools such as lathes, drill presses, and grinders.

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