The Electric Generator

Electric Generator

The electric motor, generator, and transformers all work on the principle of electromagnetic induction. The electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical work. The electric generator works in the opposite way of an electric motor. It converts mechanical work into electrical energy. The source of mechanical energy varies from a wide range of hand cranks and combustion engines.

The principle of working off a generator is such that flow of electric charges can be induced by moving an electrical conductor in a magnetic field. Moving the conductor in the magnetic field (or stationary conductor in a fluctuating magnetic field) produces a voltage difference between the two ends of the wire (electrical conductor), thus producing an induced current.

Components of an Electric Generator

The main components of an electric generator are given below

  • The Frame – the structure
  • An Engine – source of mechanical energy
  • The Alternator – produces an electrical output from the mechanical input
  • A Fuel System – to keep the generator operational
  • A Voltage Regulator – the regulate the voltage output
  • A Cooling System – to regulate heat levels that build up in the system
  • A Lubrication System – for durable and smooth operations over a span
  • An Exhaust System – to dispose of the waste exhaust gases produced in the process
  • A Charger – to keep the battery of the generator charged
  • Main Control – the control panel controlling generator interface

Uses of an Electric Generator

  • They provide the power for most power networks across cities
  • Small scale generators provide a good backup for household power needs or small businesses
  • At construction sites, before the power is set up, they extensively make use of electric generators
  • Energy efficient as fuel consumption is reduced drastically
  • Since they give a range of voltage output, they are used in labs
  • They are used to drive motors
  • They are used in transportation

Generators are either AC generators or DC generators (dynamos).

Learn more about the principle of electromagnetic induction and its applications with

Practise This Question

A capacitor of capacitance 1 μF is charged to a potential of 1 V. It is connected in parallel to an inductor of inductance 10-3 H. The maximum current that will flow in the circuit has the value