Transformers: Their Basics and Principles

workersThe transformer is considered the heartbeat of the alternating current system. In modern electrical distribution systems, the transformers are used to boost the voltage levels of the electrical circuit while at the same time they are used to decrease power line losses during transmission.  

In this article, let’s get to know about the basics and the principles behind the transformers which make them valuable and useful components in our electrical systems today. 

Getting Know What a Transformer Is 

The primary function of a transformer is to transfer power from one circuit to another, without altering the energy frequency level, through electromagnetic induction.  The most obvious and practical application of the electrical transformer is in power distribution. It is widely used for increasing (step-up) and decreasing (step-down) of voltages as needed for both commercial and domestic purposes.  

The Basic Construction of a Transformer 

The transformer is a static device that has no moving parts Transformers are made up of three major components: 

The Primary Winding Part of a Transformer 

This is the component that produces magnetic flux when it is connected to the power source. 

The Magnetic Core of a Transformer 

As the primary winding component produces a magnetic flux, it will pass through the magnetic core of the transformer which is designed to have low reluctance to create a closed magnetic circuit. 

The Secondary Winding Part of a Transformer 

After passing through the core, the magnetic flux produced at the primary winding will eventually link to the secondary winding. The secondary winding also wounds on the same core and produces the transformer’s desired output. 

How Does a Transformer Work? 

Transformers are designed to step up or step down the voltage levels between electrical circuits. The working principle behind the transformers is simple and depends upon Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction that predicts how a magnetic field will interact with an electric circuit to produce an EMF or electromotive force. 

This simple transformer principle has made alternating current possible. Back then when the DC system was used for power transmission, transferring energy to longer distances is nearly impossible because of power loss in the lines as the distance increases. As a result, DC stations have to be placed everywhere. Alternating current has resolved this issue, and without the transformer, this would have been impossible. 

The main features of a transformer which make it advantageous in the electrical industry are as follows: 

  • Rigid structure and High Strength 
  • Corrosion and Abrasion Resistance  
  • Noiseless Operations 
  • Simple and User-Friendly Design 
  • Low Maintenance 
  • Heavy Duty

The Different Types of Transformers 

Transformers come in a wide variety depending on their purposes such as in the electrical distribution, generation, and transmission as well as utilization. In general, they are classified according to the voltage levels, winding arrangements, core medium used, applications, and locations of installation among others.  

Out of all the different types, transformers based on voltage uses are currently used the most for tons of applications. They are further classified into two main types: 

  1. Step-Up Transformer 

The transformer produces an increased amount of electrical voltage applied to the primary coil at the secondary coil which can be achieved by increasing the number of windings in the secondary compared to the primary windings.  In terms of use in power plants, this type is utilized as the connecting transformer of the generator to the grid. 

2. Step-Down Transformer 

These transformers produce a reduced value of the voltage applied to the primary coil at the secondary coil. In energy distribution networks, these types of transformers are usually used to convert the high-level grid voltage into a low-level voltage for home appliances use. 

Choosing the Right Transformer Properly 

The benefits of a transformer cannot be underestimated. Moreover, transformers today are already available in multiple sizes and voltage ratings. This means you will have several options to choose from to suit the needs of your industry. 

When determining which transformer to use, be sure to analyze your industry requirements carefully first. Consider the devices you use and assess your overall voltage requirements. You will want to have a transformer that functions efficiently and safely according to your industry’s specific needs. Choose the transformers from reputable brands and get a licensed electrician to install them for you.