What Is a Transformer?
You may not think about transformers until one blows out and causes a power outage. Transformers are hardworking elements of the electricity infrastructure. Here’s a brief look at how they work and why they’re important.
Who invented the transformer?
The transformer was invented in 1884 by Otto Blathy, a Hungarian-born American engineer, but the idea for a transformer was first suggested by physicist Michael Faraday in 1831. All transformers work on the principle known as Faraday’s law.
A transformer is an electronic device that transfers electricity from one circuit to another using electromagnetic induction. It transforms high-voltage alternating current (AC) into lower-voltage energy that’s safe for us to use.
What Are the Parts of a Transformer?
A transformer usually has a magnetic core, a primary coil, and a secondary coil. The generator takes in electricity at high voltage and runs it through coils that are wound around the core. The coils have high levels of inductance.
When an AC passes through the primary coil, it creates varying levels of voltage. The transformer takes the voltage and directs it into the second coil. This process causes the magnetic flux to be cut off from one coil and applied to another.
How Does a Transformer Work?
A transformer maintains a balance between electricity it takes in at high voltages and redistributes it at lower voltages.
Raw energy comes from a supplier at extremely high voltage levels. Typically, a power plant emits electricity at 155,000 to 770,000 volts, which is necessary to travel the distance from the power plant to the home or business. A typical home or business is not designed to handle that level of voltage, so we need transformers to reduce that voltage to safe levels.
From the Transformer to You
Large transformers take the electricity, reduce the voltage, and send it to smaller substation transformers, which lower the voltage even further before sending it to your home.
Your local neighborhood transformer, for instance, might receive electricity that’s at 7200 volts. When sending energy to a large appliance or HVAC unit in your home, it will first reduce the voltage to 220 or 240 volts. If you’re using electricity to power a small device, the transformer will deliver 110 or 120 volts.
What Types of Transformers Are There?
There are various transformer types that work for different applications. Although they are used in different applications, they work on the same principles. They include:
• Step-up transformer
• Step-down transformer
• Power transformer
• Iron core transformer
• Single-phase transformer
• Three-phase transformer
• Ferrite core transformer
• High-voltage transformer
• Zig-zag transformer
In the U.S., we mostly use single-phase and three-phase transformers. Single-phase transformers distribute electricity to lower-population areas, rural regions, and small cities with fewer businesses. Three-phase transformers distribute power to large, highly populated areas with many businesses and industrial operations.
We depend on working transformers for our electricity. At SESCOS, we are dedicated to helping people in Loudoun County keep their homes and businesses operating safely. Call us for all your electrical needs.