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In a DC Shunt Generator we increased Field Current from 0 to 2.0 and calculated the Terminal Voltage, we then decreased field current from 2.0 to 0 and collected our field current again. When plotting the data of ascending and descending field voltage on a saturation curve why does the descending portion of the curve lie above the ascending portion?

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That's magnetic hysteresis.

The iron in the field core retains its magnetic field even when you reduce the current in the field windings.

Hysteresis

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