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Describe the working principle of a step-up transformer and its application in power distribution.

1 Answer

A step-up transformer is an electrical device used to increase the voltage level of an alternating current (AC) signal while reducing the current level proportionally. It operates based on the principle of electromagnetic induction. The transformer consists of two coils of wire, known as the primary and secondary coils, which are wound around a shared magnetic core.

Working Principle:

Electromagnetic Induction: When an AC voltage is applied to the primary coil, it creates a changing magnetic flux in the core due to the alternating current. This changing magnetic flux induces an electromotive force (EMF) in the secondary coil, as described by Faraday's law of electromagnetic induction.

Turns Ratio: The ratio of the number of turns in the primary coil (N1) to the number of turns in the secondary coil (N2) determines the voltage transformation ratio. The voltage in the secondary coil (V2) is directly proportional to the voltage in the primary coil (V1) and is given by the turns ratio:

V2/V1 = N2/N1

Voltage Step-Up: If the number of turns in the secondary coil (N2) is greater than the number of turns in the primary coil (N1), then the voltage in the secondary coil (V2) will be higher than the voltage in the primary coil (V1). Thus, a step-up transformer increases the voltage.

Application in Power Distribution:

Step-up transformers play a crucial role in power distribution systems. The primary purpose of these transformers is to increase the voltage level for efficient and economical long-distance transmission of electrical power from power plants to substations and distribution networks. Here's how step-up transformers are utilized in power distribution:

Power Transmission: Power plants generate electricity at relatively low voltages, typically at 11 kV or 25 kV. To minimize energy losses during long-distance transmission, the voltage is stepped up using step-up transformers to several hundred kilovolts (kV) or even a few megavolts (MV). High-voltage transmission reduces the current flowing through the transmission lines, which, in turn, decreases the resistive losses and improves the overall efficiency of the system.

Substation Transformation: At substations, the high-voltage electricity from the power lines is stepped down to lower voltage levels suitable for further distribution. Substations use step-down transformers for this purpose.

Power Distribution: After the voltage is stepped down to appropriate levels at substations, further distribution to commercial, industrial, and residential consumers occurs through a network of power lines and local distribution transformers.

By utilizing step-up transformers for power transmission, electrical utilities can efficiently transport electricity over long distances, reducing energy losses and improving the reliability of the power supply. At the receiving end, step-down transformers are used to bring the voltage levels back down to safer and usable levels for consumers.
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