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What is a three-phase circuit?

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A three-phase circuit is a type of electrical power distribution system that utilizes three conductors (wires) to carry alternating current (AC) electricity. It is commonly used for power generation, transmission, and distribution in industrial, commercial, and large-scale residential applications. Three-phase circuits are preferred over single-phase circuits for several reasons, including their efficiency, ability to handle higher power loads, and reduced transmission losses over long distances.

In a three-phase circuit, there are three separate AC voltage waveforms, each offset by 120 degrees from one another. These voltage waveforms are often represented using a phasor diagram, showing the magnitude and phase relationship between the three phases. The three-phase system has a constant power transfer, which means that power is delivered more smoothly compared to single-phase systems, where power delivery fluctuates.

Commonly, there are two types of three-phase circuits:

Delta (Δ) Connection: In a delta-connected system, the three phases form a closed loop, resembling a triangle (Δ). This configuration is often used in high-power applications where the load is balanced, or where there are no neutral connections. The line voltage (VL) and phase voltage (VP) in a delta system are related by a factor of √3 (approximately 1.732).

Star or Wye (Y) Connection: In a star-connected system, the three phases are connected at a central point to form a star (Y) shape. This central point is often connected to a neutral wire, providing a neutral connection for single-phase loads. The line voltage (VL) and phase voltage (VP) in a star system are equal.

Three-phase circuits are widely used in electrical power systems because they provide efficient power transmission, reduce the need for heavy conductors compared to single-phase systems, and are suitable for a
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