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The Electric Transformer Revolution

The electromagnetic induction coil was invented by Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry in early 19th century. This discovery led to the design of simple types of electric transformers. But it was not until 1870 that alternating current transformers became available.

Conventional electric transformer comprises of windings of conducting wires around a solid core. This class of induction coil transformer has been used for more than 150 years.

Copper has been the main metal used in windings because of its high electrical conductivity, anti-corrosive properties malleability and durability. It can also be employed as a form of foil in certain types of transformers in which foils of other metals can be used as alternatives.

The core of most of these induction coil transformers is made of solid or toroidal laminated iron, steel, ferrite and silicon steel. Sometimes, the core is left open for air to serve as the substance at the center of the generated magnetic flux.

To generate power at the output terminals of the secondary winding, a varying electric current is passed through the input terminals of the primary winding or solenoid. This current produces an electromagnetic flux in the core which in turn induces a varying electric current in the secondary winding.

All conventional transformers function only when alternating current is passed through their input terminals but they do not function with direct current unless a vibrating electric contact is included in the input circuitry.

Electric transformers have become a cornerstone of AC power transmission and distribution worldwide.

AC transformers can function as step-up or step-down transformers. The efficiency of these devices is reduced by energy losses such as winding joule losses, eddy current losses, hysteresis losses, transformer hum and mechanical vibration as well as other factors.

Electric transformers may occur as single phase, shell type or three-phase devices depending on their type of winding and core arrangement. Large transformers contain mineral oil and special conventional vent for cooling.

Transformers have many classification parameters but they can simply be grouped as auto-transformer, capacitor voltage transformer, polyphase transformer and distribution or power transformer. They are mainly used to increase voltage output in generators to transmission levels as well as reducing voltage at the consumer end where low voltage electricity is supplied to industrial or residential areas.

A new class of electric transformers which are aptly named ‘Non Solenoid Electric Transformers’ has been recently invented.

A non Solenoid Electric Transformer (NOSET) as the name implies does not function on the electromagnetic induction coil principle. It is made from a powdery mixture of doped ferromagnetic materials which range from substances that possess semi-conductor to conductor properties..

The simplest NOSET device is a cylindrical or cuboidal insulator casing into which the powdery mixture is contained. A pair of high voltage input terminals are fixed to the edges of the container while output terminals are tapped from two or more points within the body of the cylinder.

NOSET device functions as a step-down transformer only but has the advantage of functioning with direct or alternating current input. It is also light weight, easy to assemble and construct.

It is envisaged that NOSET devices will serve as a more light weight user-friendly and less complex alternative to conventional electric transformers in most modern electrical appliances.

This article is written to inform and allow electrical engineers, DIY enthusiasts, scientists and hobbyists to develop and improve the NOSET devices on a level playing field.

Join the fray.

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