Transformers play an important role in power distribution, transmission, and voltage regulation in various electrical systems. However, like any electrical device, transformers are subject to losses that can affect their efficiency and performance.

Keep reading to learn about the losses transformers experience and how they impact their effectiveness.

Copper Losses

The resistance of the transformer’s windings causes copper losses. The winding coils produce heat when the electrical current meets resistance. The square of the current flowing through the winding and the winding’s resistance determine how much heat is lost. Copper losses are a common feature of transformers, and you can minimize them by increasing the wire size or utilizing materials with lower electrical resistance.

Iron Losses

Losses caused by iron are also known as core losses, or eddy current losses. The primary winding produces magnetic flux in the core by passing alternating current. As a result, magnetization and demagnetization cycles never stop. This phenomenon produces heat due to hysteresis and eddy currents in the core material. To reduce eddy current losses and iron losses, transformer manufacturers laminate their high-quality, low-loss core materials.

Stray Losses

Stray losses encompass all other losses not directly attributable to copper or iron losses. These losses include losses due to insulation, dielectric materials, and mechanical factors such as vibrations and noise. While often smaller compared to copper and iron losses, stray losses can still impact the overall efficiency of the transformer, especially in high-frequency applications where even minor losses can be significant.

Impact on Efficiency

The total of a transformer’s iron, copper, and stray losses determines its overall efficiency. In transformer design, efficiency is especially important for applications where conserving energy and money on operations is crucial. Losses cause energy to be squandered and appear as heat, which lowers the transformer’s efficiency and may decrease its operational life.

Heat Dissipation

In severe circumstances, excessive heat buildup can result in catastrophic failure, decreased efficiency, and insulation damage. To efficiently manage heat, transformers have cooling devices like fans, radiators, or oil-immersed cooling techniques. Maintaining ideal operating temperatures and extending the transformer’s lifespan depend on proper cooling.

Loss Reduction Strategies

Transformer producers use a variety of tactics to reduce losses and increase productivity. These include conductors made of aluminum or copper with high conductivity, sophisticated core materials with low eddy current losses and hysteresis, better insulation materials, and optimized wind patterns. Additionally, transformer design parameters such as voltage ratio, core geometry, and operating frequency balance performance and losses.

Regulatory Standards

Regulatory bodies and standards organizations establish guidelines and efficiency standards for transformers to promote energy conservation and environmental sustainability. Compliance with these standards ensures that transformers meet minimum efficiency requirements and operate efficiently under specified load conditions.

Transform your power distribution with Bridgeport Magnetics Group, Inc. Our cutting-edge transformer solutions are engineered to minimize losses and maximize efficiency. Contact us at (203) 954-0050 today to explore how our transformers can elevate your electrical systems to new heights.