The transformer: definition and origin

The transformer: definition and origin

Published by: Evelyn

On: 23 Nop, 2020

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The word transformer is derived from the Latin "transformare" and means to transform or transform. It is also affectionately referred to as a "transformer" by fans and users. Synonymous are transformer or transformer. Since its invention by Lucien...

The word transformer is derived from the Latin "transformare" and means to transform or transform. It is also affectionately referred to as a "transformer" by fans and users. Synonymous are transformer or transformer. Since its invention by Lucien Gaulard and John Dixon Gibbs (London) in 1881, the transformer has spread and can now be found all over the world.

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the transformer

Different transformers.

The transformer is available in a wide variety of sizes, designs and colors. Many electrical devices or electricity consumers in our household have a small transformer, as the required operating voltage often differs from the mains voltage. There are chargers for cameras, smartphones, tablets and laptops in every household - there are transformers in every single one.

The big brother of the device transformer, on the other hand, is used for power distribution in industry and by power grid operators. It is called a distribution transformer. In its largest form, the transformer lives in the substation. There it is the link between the voltage levels of the power grids. It is also called a network transformer or transformer.

The capabilities and inner values ​​of the transformer.

The main area of ​​application for transformers is to increase or decrease AC voltages. What enables the transformer to convert voltages? To be able to answer this question, we have to dive deeply into the field of electrical engineering. If this is too technical for you, you can skip the following paragraph.

The working principle of the transformer is based on the law of induction. In terms of construction, the transformer usually consists of a ferrite or iron core and electrical conductors that are wrapped around this core several times. It basically has an input side or primary side and an output side or secondary side. The windings are referred to as primary and secondary coils. There is also a sketch of the transformer for illustrated reflection:

The iron core of the transformer is wrapped in two coils in which current flows (electrical energy source on the primary side: I1). The windings are isolated from each other. The functioning of the transformer is based on the induction law and Ampère's law.

An alternating voltage applied to the primary side causes a changing magnetic flux in the iron core of the transformer according to the induction law. I.e. a magnetic field is created which changes its polarity cyclically due to the alternating voltage applied. The changing magnetic flux in turn induces a voltage on the secondary side of the transformer.
What is a turns ratio?

If the number of copper windings on the primary and secondary side is the same, the voltage on both sides of the transformer is the same (when idling, i.e. without load). In this case the so-called "winding ratio" is equal to one. If the winding ratio is different, the voltage on the secondary side of the transformer changes. It therefore transforms the voltage on the input side to a defined voltage level on its output side. This is called stress transformation.
Alternating Current and Ampere's Law.

If an electrical consumer is now connected to the secondary side of the transformer, an alternating current flows in the secondary winding. So electricity is drawn. According to Ampère’s law, this current also causes an alternating current in the primary winding. The current strength in turn depends on the winding ratio. One speaks here of a current transformation.

The transformer in today's energy technology.

Transformers are indispensable for the power supply, since electrical energy can only be transported economically over long distances using high-voltage lines. As you already know, the public power grid has different voltage levels. Large power plants work with high voltages, whereas we at home operate with relatively low voltages. The link between these voltage levels is the transformer.
The transformer converts high voltage into low voltage - or vice versa.

A transformer is used to feed electrical energy from a higher voltage power grid into a lower voltage power grid. Since the transformer is a tolerant guy, it also works in the opposite direction. You can also feed generated electricity back into a higher voltage level via a transformer.

Physically or mathematically, voltages and windings are calculated using the formula: U1: U2 = N1: N2 (voltage ratio for an ideal transformer). U1: voltage in volts at the first coil; U2: voltage in volts at the second coil; N1: number of turns of the first coil; N2: number of turns of the second coil.
Oh, galvanic isolation.

The transformer gets a big plus point for its technical possibility for "galvanic separation" of electric circuits. That sounds rather sad, but it isn't.

Galvanic isolation rather means that two circuits are not connected to one another via an electrical conductor. The energy transfer takes place here exclusively by induction in the magnetic field of the transformer core.

This offers every user increased safety, even if they are freed from any knowledge of the dangers of electrical current. If there is a short circuit in the device, the resulting fault current can flow through the human body upon contact with the device. That can be life-threatening. When using a transformer with galvanic isolation, this fault current remains very low and relatively harmless.

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