An armature refers to one of the two principal electrical components of an electromechanical or electrical machine, generally in a motor or . The other component is the magnetic field (magnetic flux) in the air-gap, which the armature interacts with, thus the field component can comprise either permanent magnets, or electromagnets formed by a conducting coil, such as another armature. The armature, in contrast, must carry current, so it is always a conductor or a conductive coil, oriented normal to both the field and to the direction of motion, torque (rotating machine), or force (linear machine). The armature's role is twofold. The first is to carry current crossing the field, thus creating shaft torque in a rotating machine or force in a linear machine. The second role is to generate an electromotive force (EMF).
In the armature, an electromotive force is created by the relative motion of the armature and the field. When the machine acts in the motor mode, this EMF opposes the armature current, and the armature converts electrical power to mechanical power in the form of torque (unless the machine is stalled), and transfers it to the load via the shaft. When the machine acts in the generator mode, the armature EMF drives the armature current, and shaft mechanical power is converted to electrical power and transferred to the load. In an induction generator, these distinctions are blurred, since the generated power is drawn from the stator, which would normally be considered the field.