Transformers are often used in electrical circuits to change the voltage of electricity flowing through a circuit.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of Wikipedia (modified by Windows to the Universe staff).
The Role of Voltage Transformers in Our Electric Power Systems
Transformers are pieces of equipment used in electrical circuits. Transformers change the voltage of electricity flowing in the circuit. Transformers can be used either to increase the voltage (called "stepping up") or decrease the voltage ("step down").
When electrical energy travels long distances in wires, some of the energy is lost. This happens to electricity during the journey from a power plant to your home. Less energy is lost if the voltage is very high, so electrical utilities use high voltage in long-distance transmission wires. However, this high voltage is too dangerous for home use. Electrical utilities use transformers to change the voltage of electricity as it travels from the power plant to you. First, the voltage of electricity coming from the power plant is "stepped up" using transformers to the right level for long-distance transmission. Later, the voltage is stepped down before it enters your home - once again using transformers.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books
on science education!
You might also be interested in:
Sometimes a whole electric power system shuts down. This can happen after a strong space weather storm. It is hard to get the whole system running again after it has been shut down all the way. The main...more
We get electricity in our homes and schools from our electrical power system. Did you know that space weather storms can mess up the power system? When that happens, people are left without electricity....more
Space weather "storms" can cause problems on Earth. They can even mess up our systems that make electricity. They can also damage the wires and other equipment used to deliver electricity to peoples' houses....more
There are two types of electrical currents that can flow through wires: direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). Direct current (DC) electricity flows in the same direction all the time through...more
Radiation can damage electronic circuits. Radiation can also cause electronics to malfunction. Radiation can damage the materials used in electronics over time. That can make the electronics wear out sooner....more
The force of magnetism causes material to point along the direction the magnetic force points. Here's another picture of how this works. This picture shows where the magnetic poles of the Earth are to...more
The Earth has a dipole magnetic field. This is when magnetic field lines point in a direction out of the South Pole and into the North Pole. Planets can also have quadrupoles (4 poles) and octupoles (8-poles)....more