Explain the energy losses in a transformer. How are they minimized?


A transformer is a device used in the power transmission of electric energy. The transmission current is AC. It is commonly used to increase or decrease the supply voltage without a change in the frequency of AC between circuits.

Reason for energy losses in transformer

Even though transformers are very efficient machines, they do result in small energy losses due to four main causes:

  • The resistance of windings – The low resistance copper cable used for the windings remains resistant and thus leads to heat loss.
  • Leakage of flux – If the core design is not good then the flux produced by the primary coil may not all be connected to the secondary coil. This can be reduced by considering the core of shell type.
  • Eddy currents loss – The varying magnetic field not only induces secondary coil currents but also iron core currents themselves. In the iron core, these currents flow in small circles and are termed as eddy currents.
  • Hysteresis – This is because of the repeated iron core magnetisation and demagnetisation induced by the alternating input current. By using alloys such as mumetal or silicon steel, this can be reduced.

Method to reduce the energy losses in transformer

  • To minimize the resistance of windings, thick wires with considerably low resistance are used.
  • The use of a shell style core will reduce flux loss. Furthermore, sound is emitted as a result of the core’s vibration, resulting in energy loss.
  • The eddy current loss can be minimized by considering the laminated core.
  • By using alloys like mumetal or silicon steel, hysteresis loss can be reduced.

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