Three-phase electric motors
are used with an Alternating Current (AC) that has three sources of electric power. Alternating Currents provide power in waves that constantly switch directions from positive to negative and back. These three AC power sources operate at different wave cycles such that they are always out of phase with each other.The easiest way to identify a three-phase motor is by the number of wires connected to it. Single-phase motors are connected to a single wire while three-phase motors have three. Three-phase motors are designed for industrial and high powered applications. While single-phase motors operate with a maximum voltage of 240 V, three-phase motors can handle 415 V and power ratings of above 1,000 Watts.The two main components of a three-phase motor are a stator and rotor. The three-phase wires form three independent coils wound on the stator. As electricity moves through the wires in independent phases, a moving magnetic field is created. The magnetic field generated in a three-phase motor is constantly in motion because the phases are never in sync. This motion generates a current in the rotor and also causes it to rotate mechanically.