The Difference Between Slip Rings and Split Rings

In the realm of electrical and mechanical power, DC and AC equipment often serve as power sources for a number of systems, components, and machinery. While direct current is an electric charge that flows in a single direction, alternating current will change directions periodically and its voltage will periodically reverse as well. In some instances, there may be electronic equipment that requires either direct or alternating current in particular, thus there are times when one generator or motor type may be incapable of accommodating an application. With a rotary switch known as a commutator, however, DC and AC motor equipment can have their current guaranteed to flow in a single direction. Commonly coming in the form of slip rings and split rings, having an understanding of each can help one find the right choice for their motor or power source.

A slip ring is a type of electromechanical device that is commonly placed within slip ring motors, AC electrical generators, and alternators. Composed of a graphite or metal brush, the slip ring will rub against the diameter of a turning structure or ring. As the ring rotates, current will be conducted through the brush to the motor coil for the means of transferring energy. Generally, slip rings serve to transfer power, capable of increasing the mechanical performance of a system or simplifying system operations.

The split ring, on the other hand, is a device that is capable of reversing the direction of a current within the coil. As a mechanical rectifier, the split ring comes in the form of a rotating interface which attaches its armature to the external circuit. Constructed from copper, split rings are always divided into two halves. When the DC motor comes into contact with the split ring, current will be reversed for the means of maintaining shaft torque. Current is reversed every half rotation of the coil, ensuring that the coil continues to turn in the same direction.

Despite having similar implementations and construction, the split and slip ring are two separate components that serve different needs. With slip rings, power can be transferred between rotating and static structures of an AC device. With a commutator such as a split ring, the direction of current may be reversed. One other major difference between the two is the systems that they serve, the slip ring being used in AC devices while the split ring is implemented within DC devices. In general, the application of slip rings is to supply power from the generator to the motor, while split rings are used to supply pulsating voltage to a DC motor.

As a result of their differences, it is important to understand the roles and characteristics of each component to ensure that the right choice is made for a system. When procuring either split rings or slip rings, it can also be useful to familiarize oneself with the various types that exist for each, all of which may feature different construction, materials, and operational characteristics. When it comes time to begin purchasing the brushes, motor components, and commutator parts that you need for your operations, look no further than NSN Axis.

NSN Axis is a trusted distributor of all types of aircraft parts, offering customers competitive pricing and rapid lead-times on countless top quality items. With over 2 billion new, used, and obsolete products spread across our expansive part and manufacturer catalogs, we invite you to explore our website and request quotes for your comparisons. As our team members are always readily available 24/7x365, customers may call or email us at any time to receive assistance through the procurement process as necessary. Experience the NSN Axis difference today and see how we can help you fulfill all your operational needs.


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