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Why copper is not used in core of the transformer ?

Copper is not used as the core material in transformers due to several fundamental reasons related to its magnetic and electrical properties. The core of a transformer is typically made from materials with high permeability and low magnetic reluctance, which are characteristics that optimize the efficiency and performance of the transformer. Here’s a detailed explanation of why copper is not suitable as the core material in transformers:

  1. Magnetic Permeability:
    • Copper has a low magnetic permeability compared to ferromagnetic materials like iron and its alloys. Magnetic permeability is a measure of how easily a material can be magnetized, and materials with higher permeability are more effective at concentrating magnetic flux. The low magnetic permeability of copper makes it unsuitable for efficiently channeling and concentrating magnetic flux in a transformer core.
  2. Magnetic Saturation:
    • Copper saturates magnetically at much lower magnetic field strengths compared to ferromagnetic materials. Saturation occurs when the magnetic domains in a material align to their maximum extent, limiting the further increase in magnetic flux. Ferromagnetic materials like iron have higher saturation levels, allowing them to handle higher magnetic flux densities without saturating. Copper’s low saturation point would result in inefficient magnetic flux handling in the transformer core.
  3. Hysteresis Losses:
    • Copper exhibits significant hysteresis losses when subjected to alternating magnetic fields. Hysteresis losses occur as a result of the magnetic domains in a material repeatedly aligning and relaxing in response to the changing magnetic field direction. These losses result in heat generation, reducing the overall efficiency of the transformer. Ferromagnetic materials, on the other hand, have lower hysteresis losses and are more suitable for transformer cores.
  4. Eddy Currents:
    • Copper, being a good conductor of electricity, would induce significant eddy currents when exposed to alternating magnetic fields. Eddy currents circulate within the material, causing additional energy losses in the form of heat. To minimize eddy current losses, transformer cores are constructed from laminated or powdered ferromagnetic materials, which disrupt the paths of eddy currents.
  5. Cost and Weight:
    • Copper is denser and more expensive than iron or its alloys. Using copper as the core material would result in heavier and more costly transformers. The practical considerations of weight, cost, and material availability favor the use of ferromagnetic materials with suitable magnetic properties for transformer cores.
  6. Effective Flux Linkage:
    • The primary function of the transformer core is to provide an efficient path for magnetic flux linkage between the primary and secondary windings. Ferromagnetic materials, such as laminated iron cores, offer high magnetic permeability, low reluctance, and efficient flux linkage, contributing to the overall performance of the transformer.

In summary, copper is not used as the core material in transformers because of its low magnetic permeability, low saturation point, significant hysteresis losses, induction of eddy currents, and practical considerations of weight and cost. Ferromagnetic materials, particularly laminated iron cores or iron alloys, are preferred for transformer cores due to their magnetic properties, which enhance the efficiency and performance of transformers.

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