Home / Component / Why do core losses occur in a transformer ?

Why do core losses occur in a transformer ?

Core losses, also known as iron losses, occur in a transformer due to the inherent characteristics of the magnetic core material used in its construction. These losses can be classified into two main types: hysteresis losses and eddy current losses.

  1. Hysteresis Losses:
    • Magnetic Hysteresis: When the magnetic field in the transformer core is subjected to alternating current (AC), the magnetic domains within the core material undergo cyclic changes. The phenomenon of hysteresis occurs as the magnetic domains constantly realign with the changing magnetic field direction.
    • Energy Dissipation: The continuous reversal of magnetization causes energy losses in the form of heat. This energy dissipation, known as hysteresis loss, is directly proportional to the area of the hysteresis loop, which represents the energy lost during each cycle.
  2. Eddy Current Losses:
    • Eddy Currents: As the magnetic flux changes within the transformer core, induced currents circulate within the core material due to Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction. These circulating currents, known as eddy currents, create localized magnetic fields within the core.
    • Resistance and Heating: Eddy currents encounter resistance in the core material, leading to resistive heating. This resistance is primarily caused by the finite conductivity of the core material. The power loss due to eddy currents is proportional to the square of the current magnitude and is influenced by factors like the core’s thickness and the frequency of the applied AC.

These core losses contribute to the overall inefficiency of the transformer by converting a portion of the electrical energy into heat. While some level of core loss is inevitable, transformer designers aim to minimize these losses to enhance the transformer’s efficiency. Several strategies are employed to mitigate core losses:

  1. Core Material Selection: Choosing a magnetic core material with lower hysteresis and eddy current losses helps minimize overall core losses. Silicon steel alloys are commonly used for transformer cores due to their favorable magnetic properties.
  2. Core Laminations: The transformer core is often constructed using laminations of the chosen material. Laminations help reduce eddy current losses by interrupting the continuous paths for circulating currents.
  3. Operating at Lower Frequencies: Lowering the frequency of the AC supply reduces eddy current losses. This is one reason why transformers are more efficient at lower frequencies, such as those encountered in power distribution systems.
  4. Core Cooling: Implementing cooling mechanisms, such as oil cooling or forced air cooling, helps dissipate heat generated by core losses and prevents overheating of the transformer.

In summary, core losses in transformers are an inherent consequence of the magnetic properties of the core material and the alternating nature of the applied current. Minimizing these losses is crucial for optimizing the efficiency and performance of transformers in various applications.

Recent Updates