Definition of Transformer
A transformer is a static machine used for transforming power from one circuit to another without changing frequency. This is a very basic definition of transformer. Since, there is no rotating or moving part, so a transformer is a static device. Transformer operates on an ac supply. A transformer works on the principle of mutual induction.
History of Transformer
If we want to know the history of transformer we have to go back long in the 1880s. Around 50 years before that in 1830 the property of induction was discovered, and this is the working principle of transformer. Later the transformer design was improved resulting in more efficiency and lesser size. Gradually the large capacity of transformers in the range of several KVA, MVA came into existence. In the year 1950, 400KV electrical power transformer was introduced in high voltage electrical power system. In the early 1970s, unit rating as large as 1100 MVA was produced. Various manufacturers manufactured 800KV and even higher KV class transformers in the year 1980.
Use of Power Transformer
Generation of electrical power in low voltage level is very much cost effective. Theoretically, this low voltage level power can be transmitted to the receiving end. This low voltage power if transmitted results in greater line current which indeed causes more line losses. But if the voltage level of a power is increased, the current of the power is reduced which causes reduction in ohmic or I2R losses in the system, reduction in cross-sectional area of the conductor i.e. reduction in capital cost of the system and it also improves the voltage regulation of the system. Because of these, low level power must be stepped up for efficient electrical power transmission. This is done by step up transformer at the sending side of the power system network. As this high voltage power may not be distributed to the consumers directly, this must be stepped down to the desired level at the receiving end with the help of step down transformer. Electrical power transformer thus plays a vital role in power transmission.
Two winding transformers are generally used where ratio of high voltage and low voltage is greater than 2. It is cost effective to use auto transformer where the ratio between high voltage and low voltage is less than 2. Again a single unit three phase transformer is more cost effective than a bank of three single phase transformers unit in a three phase system. But a single three phase transformer unit is a bit difficult to transport and have to be removed from service entirely if one of the phase winding breaks down.
Types of Transformer
Transformers can be categorized in different ways, depending upon their purpose, use, construction etc. The types of transformer are as follows,
- Step Up Transformer and Step Down Transformer – Generally used for stepping up and down the voltage level of power in transmission and distribution power system network.
- Three Phase Transformer and Single Phase Transformer – Former is generally used in three phase power system as it is cost effective than later. But when size matters, it is preferable to use a bank of three single phase transformer as it is easier to transport than one single three phase transformer unit.
- Electrical Power Transformer, Distribution Transformer and Instrument Transformer – Power transformers are generally used in transmission network for stepping up or down the voltage level. It operates mainly during high or peak loads and has maximum efficiency at or near full load. Distribution transformer steps down the voltage for distribution purpose to domestic or commercial users. It has good voltage regulation and operates 24 hrs a day with maximum efficiency at 50% of full load. Instrument transformers include C.T and P.T which are used to reduce high voltages and current to lesser values which can be measured by conventional instruments.
- Two Winding Transformer and Auto Transformer – Former is generally used where ratio between high voltage and low voltage is greater than 2. It is cost effective to use later where the ratio between high voltage and low voltage is less than 2.
- Outdoor Transformer and Indoor Transformer – Transformers that are designed for installing at outdoor are outdoor transformers and transformers designed for installing at indoor are indoor transformers.
- Oil Cooled and Dry Type Transformer – In oil cooled transformer the cooling medium is transformer oil whereas the dry type transformer is air cooled.
- Core type, Shell type and Berry type transformer – In core type transformer it has two vertical legs or limbs with two horizontal sections named yoke. Core is rectangular in shape with a common magnetic circuit. Cylindrical coils (HV and LV) are placed on both the limbs.
Shell type transformer: It has a central limb and two outer limbs. Both HV, LV coils are placed on the central limb. The double magnetic circuit is present.
Berry type transformer: The core looks like spokes of wheels. Tightly fitted metal sheet tanks are used for housing this type of transformer with transformer oil filled inside.