What Is a Homopolar Motor Used For?

By Susan Presley

One of a battery's poles are used in unipolar engines.
i D Cell Battery image by ike from Fotolia.com

Homopolar motors are also called unipolar motors. These non-communicating electric motors use both alternating and direct current, and process energy that travels in one direction at all times.


The most common use of homopolar motors is in generators that are installed in electroplating process plants. The generators use direct current (DC) and low voltage, but the current in the motors is high enough to operate the heavy machinery.


Homopolar motors have been used in high-torque wind turbines. The mechanics of the motors provide a low-cost means of converting wind into electricity because of the reduced need for multidirectional gears. These motors also require less maintenance than bipolar motors.


Small engines, such as those in toy cars, can be built using homopolar motors. The spinning wheels create force, which causes the magnet to spin and create a magnetic field. This electricity flowing in one direction is used to power the engine.