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A transformer is a static machine used for transforming power from one

circuit to another without changing frequency. This is a very basic

definition of transformer. Since there is no rotating or moving part so
transformer is a static device. Transformer operates on ac supply.
Transformer works on the principle of mutual induction.

Working Principle Of Transformer

The basic principle behind working of a transformer is the phenomenon of mutual induction
between two windings linked by common magnetic flux. The figure at right shows the simplest
form of a transformer. Basically a transformer consists of two inductive coils; primary winding
and secondary winding. The coils are electrically separated but magnetically linked to each other.
When, primary winding is connected to a source of alternating voltage, alternatingmagnetic flux
is produced around the winding. The core provides magnetic path for the flux, to get linked with
the secondary winding. Most of the flux gets linked with the secondary winding which is called
as 'useful flux' or main 'flux', and the flux which does not get linked with secondary winding is
called as 'leakage flux'. As the flux produced is alternating (the direction of it is continuously
changing), EMF gets induced in the secondary winding according to Faraday's law of
electromagnetic induction. This emf is called 'mutually induced emf', and the frequency of
mutually induced emf is same as that of supplied emf. If the secondary winding is closed circuit,
then mutually induced current flows through it, and hence the electrical energy is transferred
from one circuit (primary) to another circuit (secondary).

Basic Construction Of Transformer

Basically a transformer consists of two inductive windings and a laminated steel core. The coils
are insulated from each other as well as from the steel core. A transformer may also consist of a
container for winding and core assembly (called as tank), suitable bushings to take our the
terminals, oil conservator to provide oil in the transformer tank for cooling purposes etc. The
figure at left illustrates the basic construction of a transformer.

In all types of transformers, core is constructed by assembling

(stacking) laminated sheets of steel, with minimum air-gap between them (to achieve continuous
magnetic path). The steel used is having high silicon content and sometimes heat treated, to
provide high permeability and low hysteresis loss. Laminated sheets of steel are used to reduce
eddy current loss. The sheets are cut in the shape as E,I and L. To avoid high reluctance at joints,
laminations are stacked by alternating the sides of joint. That is, if joints of first sheet assembly
are at front face, the joints of following assemble are kept at back face.

Types Of Transformers
Transformers can be classified on different basis, like types of construction, types of cooling etc.

(A) On the basis of construction, transformers can be classified into two types as;

(i) Core type transformer and (ii) Shell type transformer, which are described below.

(I) Core Type Transformer

In core type transformer, windings are cylindrical former wound, mounted on the core limbs as
shown in the figure above. The cylindrical coils have different layers and each layer is insulated
from each other. Materials like paper, cloth or mica can be used for insulation. Low voltage
windings are placed nearer to the core, as they are easier to insulate.

(Ii) Shell Type Transformer

The coils are former wound and mounted in layers stacked with insulation between them. A shell
type transformer may have simple rectangular form (as shown in above fig), or it may have a
distributed form.
(B) On the basis of their purpose

Step up transformer: Voltage increases (with subsequent decrease in current) at secondary.

Step down transformer: Voltage decreases (with subsequent increase in current) at
(C) On the basis of type of supply
Single phase transformer
Three phase transformer
(D) On the basis of their use

Power transformer: Used in transmission network, high rating

Distribution transformer: Used in distribution network, comparatively lower rating than that of
power transformers.
Instrument transformer: Used in relay and protection purpose in different instruments in

Current transformer (CT)

Potential transformer (PT)

(E) On the basis of cooling employed


Oil-filled self cooled type

Oil-filled water cooled type
Air blast type (air cooled)

Introduction to Electrical Transformer

What is a Transformer?
In Very Simple words.
Transformer is a device which:

Transfer Electrical power from one electrical circuit to another Electrical circuit.
Its working without changing the frequency.
Work through on electric induction.
When, both circuits take effect of mutual induction.
Cant step up or step down the level of DC voltage or DC Current.
Can step up or step down the level of AC voltage or AC Current.

1500 kVA Transformer by Siemens | Electrical Technology

Without transformers the electrical energy generated at generating stations wont probably be
sufficient enough to power up a city. Just imagine that there are no transformers.How many
power plants do you think have to be set up in order to power up a city? Its not easy to set up a
power plant. It is expensive.
Numerous power plant have to be set up in order to have sufficient power. Transformers help by
amplifying the Transformer output (stepping up or down the level of voltage or current).

When the number of turns of the secondary coil is greater than that of primary coil, such a
transformer is known as step up transformer.
Likewise when the number of turns of coil of primary coil is greater than that of secondary
transformer, such a transformer is known as step down transformer.

Construction of a Transformer | Parts of a Transformer

Parts of a Transformer

Oil filter valve


Oil drain valve



Jacking boss

Buchholz relay



Oil filter valve


Foundation bolt

Pressure-relief vent


Grounding terminal

High-voltage bushing


Skid base

Low-voltage bushing



Suspension lug


Coil pressure plate

B C T Terminal






Terminal box for protective devices


De-energized tap changer


Rating plate


Tap changer handle


Dial thermometer


Fastener for core and coil




Lifting hook for core and coil




End frame


Lifting hook


Coil pressure bolt


Dial type oil level gauge

Types of Transformers
There are two basic Types of Transformers
Single Phase Transformer
Three Phase Transformer
Below are the more types of transformer derived via different functions and operation etc.

Types of Transformers w.r.t Cores

Core Type Transformer

Shell Type Transformer

Berry Type Transformer

Types of Transformer w.r.t uses

Large Power Transformer

Distribution Transformer

Small Power Transformer

Sign Lighting Transformer

Control & Signalling Transformer

Gaseous Discharge Lamp Transformer

Bell Ringing Transformer

Instrument Transformer

Constant Current Transformer

Series Transformer for Street Lighting

Types of Transformer w.r.t Cooling

Self Air Cooled or Dry Type Transformer

Air Blast-Cooled Dry Type

Oil Immersed, Self Cooled (OISC) or ONAN (Oil natural, Air natural)

Oil Immersed, Combination of Self Cooled and Air blast (ONAN)

Oil Immersed, Water Cooled (OW)

Oil Immersed, Forced Oil Cooled

Oil Immersed, Combination of Self Cooled and Water Cooled (ONAN+OW)

Oil Forced, Air forced Cooled (OFAC)

Forced Oil, Water Cooled (FOWC)

Forced Oil, Self Cooled (OFAN)




Current Transformer

Potential Transformer

Constant Current Transformer

Rotating Core Transformer or Induction regulator

Auto Transformer


Operating & Working Principle of a Transformer

Transformer is a static device (and doesnt contain on rotating parts, hence no friction losses),
which convert electrical power from one circuit to another without changing its frequency. it Step
up (or Step down) the level of AC Voltage and Current.
Transformer works on the principle of mutual induction of two coils or Faraday Laws Of
Electromagnetic induction. When current in the primary coil is changed the flux linked to the
secondary coil also changes. Consequently an EMF is induced in the secondary coil due to
Faraday laws of electromagnetic induction.
The transformer is based on two principles: first, that an electric current can produce a magnetic
field (electromagnetism), and, second that a changing magnetic field within a coil of wire
induces a voltage across the ends of the coil (electromagnetic induction). Changing the current
in the primary coil changes the magnetic flux that is developed. The changing magnetic flux







A simple transformer has a soft iron or silicon steel core and windings placed on it(iron core).
Both the core and the windings are insulated from each other. The winding connected to the
main supply is called the primary and the winding connected to the load circuit is called the
Winding (coil) connected to higher voltage is known as high voltage winding while the winding
connected to low voltage is known as low voltage winding. In case of a step up transformer, the
primary coil (winding) is the low voltage winding, the number of turns of the windings of the
secondary is more than that of the primary. Vice versa for step down transformer.
Good to Know:
Transformer Always rated in kVA instead of kW.
As explained earlier, EMF is induced only by variation of the magnitude of the flux.
When the primary winding is connected to ac mains supply, a current flows through it. Since the
winding links with the core, current flowing through the winding will produce an alternating flux in
the core. EMF is induced in the secondary coil since the alternating flux links the two windings.
The frequency of the induced EMF is the same as that of the flux or the supplied voltage.

Click image to enlarge | Working of a Transformer

By so doing (variation of flux) energy is transferred from the primary coil to the secondary coil by
means of electromagnetic induction without the change in the frequency of the voltage supplied
to the transformer. During the process, a self induced EMF is produced in the primary coil which
opposes the applied voltage. The self induced EMF is known as back EMF.

Limitation of the Transformer

To understand the main points, we have to discuss some basic terms related to transformer
operation. So lets back to basic for a while.
A transformer is an AC machine that steps up or steps down an alternating voltage or current. A
transformer being an AC machine however cannot step up or down a DC voltage or DC current.
It sounds a bit weird though. You might be thinking so are there not DC transformers?
To answer the two questions whether there are or there are not DC transformers and know why
transformer cannot step up or step down a DC voltage its necessary we know how electric
current and magnetic field interact with each other in transformer operation.

The interaction between magnetic field and electric current is termed electromagnetism. Current
carrying conductors produces magnetic field when current passes through it. Movement of
electrons in a conductor will result to electric current (drifted electrons) which occurs as a result
of the EMF set up across the conductor.
The EMF set up across the conductor can be in form of that stored in chemical energy or
magnetic field. Current carrying conductor placed in a magnetic fields will experience
mechanical force while a conductor placed in a magnetic field will have its electrons drifted
which will results to electric current.

Field Flux
Two magnets of unlike poles will attract each other while magnets of like poles will repel each
other (so it is with electric charges). Every magnet is surrounded by a force field and is
represented by imaginary lines emanating from the north pole of a magnet going into the south
pole of the same magnet.

Read the important terms related to Field Flux and Magnetic Filed with formulas Here
The lines linking the north and south pole of a magnet which represents force field which links
coils in a transformer is termed as magnetic flux.

Electromagnetic Induction
Electromagnetic induction is a phenomenon that explains how EMF and current is or can be
induced in a coil when a coil and a magnetic field interact. This phenomenonelectromagnetic
inductionis explained by Faradays laws of electromagnetic induction. The direction of induced
EMF in a coil is explained by Lenzs law and Flemings right hand rule.

Faradays Laws Of Electromagnetic Induction

After Ampere and others investigated the magnetic effect of current, Michael Faraday tried the
opposite. In the course of his work he discovered that when there was change in a magnetic
field in which a coil was placed, EMF was induced in the coil.
This happened only whenever he moved either the coil or the magnet he used in the
experiment. EMF was induced in the coil only when there was change in the field flux (if the coil
is fixed, moving the magnet towards or away from the coil causes EMF to be induced). Thus
Faradays laws of electromagnetic induction states as follows;

Faradays First Law

Faradays first law of electromagnetic induction states that EMF is induced in a coil when there
is a change in the flux linking the coil.




Faradays second law of electromagnetic induction states that the magnitude of induced EMF
in a coil is directly proportional to the rate of change of flux linking the coil.


e = N d/dt

e = Induced EMF
N = the number of turns
d = Change in flux
dt = Change in time

Lenzs Law
Lenzs law entails how the direction of an induced EMF in a coil can be determined. It thus
states that the direction of induced EMF is such that it opposes the change causing it.
In other words, When an E.M.F is induced in a circuit, the current setup always opposes the
motion, or change in current, which produces it. OR

An induced EMF will cause a current to flow in a close circuit in such a direction what its
magnetic effect will oppose the change that produced it.
According to this law (which introduced by Lens in 1835), the direction of current can be found.
when the current through a coil changes magnetic field, the voltage is created as a result of
changing magnetic field, the direction of the induced voltage is such that it always opposes the
change in current.
in very simple words, lenzs law stating that the induced effect is always such as to oppose the
cause that produced it.

Flemings Right Hand Rule

It states that if the thumb, the forefinger and the middle finger are held in such a way that they
are mutually perpendicular to each other (makes 90 of Angles), then the forefinger points the
direction of the field, the thumb points the direction of motion of the conductor and the middle

Why Transformers Cant step Up Or Step Down A DC Voltage or

A transformer cannot step up or step down a DC voltage. It is not recommendable to connect a
DC supply to a transformer because if a DC rated voltage is applied to the coil (primary) of a
transformer, the flux produced in the transformer will not change in its magnitude but rather
remain the same and as a result EMF will not be induced in the secondary coil except at the
moment of switching on, So the transformer may start to smock and burn because;
In case of DC supply, Frequency is zero. When you apply voltage across a pure inductive
circuit, then according to
Xl= 2 f L
if we put frequency = 0, then the overall Xl (inductive reactance) would be zero as well.
Now come to the current, I = V / R (and in case of inductive circuit, I = V / Xl) . basicOhms
If we put Inductive reactance as 0, then the current would be infinite (Short circuit)
So, If we apply DC voltage to a pure inductive circuit, The circuit may start to smoke and burn.
Thus transformers are not capable of stepping up or stepping down a DC voltage. Also there will
be no self induced EMF in such cases in the primary coil which is only possible with a varying
flux linkage to oppose the applied voltage. The resistance of the primary coil is low and as such
a heavy current flowing through it will result to the primary coil burning out due to excessive heat
produced by the current.
Also read: Under what condition is D.C supply applied safely to the primary of a transformer?

Uses and Application of Transformer

Uses and applications of transformer is discussed already in this previous post.

Advantages of 3-Phase Transformer over 1-Phase Transformer

Read the advantages and disadvantages of Single Phase & three phase transformerhere.

Types of transformers

The transformers are classified based on voltage levels,

Core medium used, winding arrangements, use and
installation place etc.

Transformers based on voltage levels

The transformers are classified as step-up and step-down transformers as the
voltage ratios from primary to secondary. These are widely used transformer types
for all the applications. Here the important thing to remember is that there will not
be any difference in primary power and secondary power. I.e. if the voltage is high at
secondary side then the current drawn from the secondary will low so that the power
will be same. Same as in the reverse case when the voltage is low the current drawn
will be high.

Step-up transformer
As the name specifies the secondary voltage is stepped up with a ratio
compared to primary voltage. This is achieved by increasing the number of
coil turns in the secondary as shown in figure.


In power plant this transformer is used as connecting transformer of Generator to

Grid. I.e. the Generated to low voltage should be suitably stepped up to connect to

Step-down transformer
In this transformer the voltage is stepped down at the secondary from high voltage
primary so that it is called as step-down transformer. The winding turns will be high


In power plant the use of this transformer are very high where the grid power supply
stepped down and given to corresponding plant auxiliaries during starting of the
power plant. Once the plant has started then the voltage stepping down is necessary
where the plant auxiliaries will operate at low voltage compared to its generated

In distribution also the step down transformer is widely used to convert the high grid
voltage to the low voltage which can be used at house purposes.

Transformer based on the core medium used

The transformers are divided as Air core and iron core

under this classification. I.e. the medium placed between

the primary and secondary air in air core type transformer

and iron in iron core type transformer.
Air core transformer


The primary and secondary windings wounded on non magnetic strip where the flux
linkage between primary and secondary is through the air. The mutual inductance
effect is less in air core compared to iron core i.e. the reluctance offered to the
generated flux is high in the air medium where as in the iron core it is less. But the
hysteresis and eddy current losses which are dominant in iron core type are less or

Iron core transformer

iron core transformer

The two windings are wounded on iron plates which provide a perfect linkage path
to the generated flux. Due to the conductive or magnetic property of the iron it offers
less reluctance to the linkage flux. These are widely used transformers in which is

Transformer based on winding arrangements

Auto Transformer

Auto Transformer

Normal transformers have two windings placed on two

different sides i.e. primary and secondary but in auto
transformer, the both the windings that is primary and
secondary windings are connected to each other both
physically and magnetically. There is one common
winding which forms both primary and secondary winding
in which voltage is varied by changing the position of
secondary tapping on the body of the coil.
Transformer based on usage

The transformers are used to do many functions according

to the necessarily. These are classified as power

transformer and distribution transformer.


Power Transformer

power transformer

The power transformers are big in size and used for high
power transfer applications, where the transmission
voltage is greater than 33KV. It used in generating station
and Transmission substation .high insulation level.
Distribution transformer

distribution transformer

It is used for the distribution of electrical energy at low

voltage as less than 33KV in industrial purpose and 440v-

220v in domestic purpose. It work at low efficiency at 5070%, small size, easy in installation, having low magnetic
losses & it is not always fully loaded.
Measurement Transformer


These are used to measure the some electrical quantity like

voltage, current etc. As their name specifies these are
classified as potential transformers, current transformers
Protection transformers

Current Transformer

These types of transformers are used in component

protections. The major difference between measuring and
protection transformers is the accuracy i.e. the protection
transformers should be more accurate compared to
measuring transformers.
Transformers based on the place of use

These are classified as indoor and outdoor transformers.

Indoor transformers are covered with proper roof like as in
the process industry. The outdoor transformers are
distribution type which are placed in substations etc.

Transformer parts, In this article I discussed about transformer parts. According to

construction transformer consists of following parts.

Steel tank
Pressure relief pipe
Buchholz relay
Tap changing switch
Oil gauge
Cooling fans
oil pumps
Transformer insulation
Page Contents [hide]

1 Steel tank :
2 Core of transformer :
3 Windings :
3.1 Conservator tank :
4 Breather :
5 Thermometer :
6 pressure relief vent :
7 Valves :
8 Buchholz relay
9 Bushings :
10 Tap changing switch
11 Oil gauge :
12 Radiator :
13 Cooling fans :
14 Oil pumps :

Steel tank :
It is a main part of transformer. It is steel made box. Transformer core is placed
inside this tank. Windings and other helpful devices are placed inside this tank. It is
filled with insulating oil ( mineral oil ). It have usually cylindrical or cubical shape
depending on transformer construction. It is coated internally and externally with
colour for safety point of view. Colour coating also provide protection in case of
winding connection with tank accidentally.

Core of transformer :
Core is made with laminated steel sheet in all type of transformers to provide
continuous magnetic path and also to provide minimum air gap. For this purpose
silicon enriched steel is used. Sometimes heat treatment is also used on steel to
increase permeability of steel. hysteresis losses also decreased in core with increase
in permeability. By making core laminated eddy current losses also reduced in core.
Laminations of core also insulated from each other through varnish.
Two phase transformers consists of two legs and three-phase transformers are
usually consists of three legs. Cores are usually circular or rectangular in shape.
laminated cores tight with bolts to avoid vibration in core.

Windings :

Single phase transformer have one primary and one secondary winding. But threephase transformer consists of three primary and three secondary windings which
connects to each other with proper methods. Low voltage winding is always placed
inner side of core. High voltage is placed above the low voltage winding. Both
windings are electrically insulated from each other through insulation material.
There is also a proper distance between two windings for movement of oil. Oil acts
as a cooling agent. Because windings become hot with the flow of current in
windings. To make cooling better, windings also make with many circular discs.
Windings also design like a helical coils. Helical windings are used in high current
transformers. According to capacity of transformer three types of coils are usually

Square wound
Disk wound

Coils are heat bonded with special varnish to increase mechanical strength of coils.
Coils are usually concentric in core type transformers.

Conservator tank :
It is a small tank which used in high power transformers. It is connected above the
main tank of transformer. It has cylindrical shape.Main tank and conservator tank
connected to each other through a pipe. Buchholz relay is used between
conservator tank and main tank in transformers having capacity more than one
MVA. Conservator tank have following functions in transformer :

It provide place for hot transformer oil to expand. It also provide oil in
transformer after oil become cool.
It also use to decrease oxidation by reducing area of oil around air.
Oxidized oil remain in conservator tank. Mirror tube is also connected with
conservator tank to read oil level in transformers. A pre marked gauge is also
present in mirror tube. It is necessary to have cool oil level up to mark of gauge.

conservator tank
With change in temperature oil level keep decreasing and increasing. Because
insulating oil have co-efficient of expansion. Whoever if large cavity is provide in
upper part of main tank, contact area increases between air and oil which decrease
dielectric strength of oil. To reduce this effect, we use a separate small tank through
a pipe. It have less oil than main tank. This tank is called conservator tank. With the
help of conservator tank, contact area reduced between oil and air. Oil also remain
ineffective due to oxidation. Oxidation do not occur in main tank due to conservator
tank. Hot oil move to conservator tank through pipe. Oxidation occur only in
conservator tank. Due to oxidation sludge only remain in conservator tank. Sludge
do not enter in main tank.

Breather :
Breather is a device which used for Breathing of transformer. Its mean air go in or
out from transformer with the help of breather. Now the Question is why we need
breather in transformer ? Because when hot oil expand, air go out from transformer
and when oil contracts after cooling, air enters in transformer. Breather one side is
connected with conservator tank. A mirror tube is placed inside breather. This mirror
tube filled with calcium chloride or silica gel. When air enters in transformer, this air
contain moisture. Silica gel absorb moisture and only allow dry air to enter in
transformer. In this way breather with the help of silica get stop moisture contain air

to pass into transformer and avoid oxidation in transformer main tank. With the
time silica gel colour changes from blue to pink after absorbing specifing quantity of
moisture from air. We can reuse this silica gel after warming it.


Thermometer :
Thermometer is also used in above 50KVA transformers. It is used to measure
temperature of oil. In high power transformers, thermometer is also used inside
windings which measure temperature of windings. Whenever temperature increase
up to dangerous level, it activates alarum signal.
Dial type thermometers are usually used for activation of alarms in abnormal
conditions. It give reading directly through a sensor. Whenever oil temperature
increases to specific level, it provide signal to alarm circuit. Thermometer usually
placed close to transformer name plate. Usually If dial type thermometer trip the
transformer, when oil temperature becomes greater than 105.

pressure relief vent :

It is a curve type mirror tube connected with main tank of transformer. It provide
protection to transformer from greater pressure. Sometime greater pressure is

developed inside a transformer due to decomposition of oil. It is necessary part of

high power transformer. Transformer can also burst without pressure relief vent.
Transformer burst above 1.01kg/cm pressure.

Valves :
Valves are used for filling and draining of transformer oil. It is also used for filtering
and sampling. Usually three valves are available in transformer.

Buchholz relay
This relay is connected to a pipe between main tank and conservator tank. It is gas
actuated realy. It is very important part of transformer. I will post a separate article
on this. Because it is difficult to explain buchholz relay working in this article. In
short buchholz relay provide protection for low oil level and high temperature.

Buchholz relay

Bushings :
Bushings are used to bring windings terminals out of tank and also use for
insulation. For example porcelain, oil filled and capacitor type bushings. Arching
horns are also connected to bushings to provide protection from lightning. In above
34 KV transformer, completely sealed condenser type bushings are used. In less
than 25KV transformer plain bushings are used.

Tap changing switch

Tap changer switch is used to regulate secondary voltage in case of low voltage in
primary side of transformer. Two type of tap changing switches are used:

Off load tap changer


Off load switch : It is used to change winding voltage ratio. Tap changing
switch are connected with high voltage side of transformer. As it name suggest
off load tap changing switch used only in transformer off condition.
On Load Switch : On load tap changer switch can be used with on load

Oil gauge :
Oil gauge is used for the measurement of oil in transformer. It displays oil level. Oil
gauge is usually of dial type. Pointer on dial type gauge used to measure oil level. It
is used with medium level to high voltage transformers.

oil guage of transformer

Radiator :
In 50KVA above transformers, radiators are used with main tank of transformer for
cooling purpose. It is like a pipes or tubes. It increases the surface area of
transformer. Radiator makes cooling in transformer more effective. This method of
cooling is called ONAN ( oil natural air natural).

Cooling fans :
In 26MVA and above transformers, cooling fans are also used on radiator. Oil
temperature gauge provide on or off signal for cooling fans. When temperature
becomes greater than 75, temperature oil gauge turn on cooling fans. This method
of cooling is called ONAF ( oil natural and air forced ).

Oil pumps :
In 26 MVA above transformers oil pumps are also used along with cooling fans and
radiator.oil pumps used to rotate oil in transformer. This method of cooling is
called OFAF ( oil forced and air forced) .

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Insulation materials used in transformers

BILAL Malik December 6, 2015

How to derive emf equation of transformer

BILAL Malik March 11, 2015

Why transformers are used in power system?

BILAL Malik February 13, 2015

How transformer works ?

BILAL Malik February 13, 2015


Bilal Malik
More from this Author
I have been providing project services to students and industry from last 3 years
and working as a freelancer. I also write technical articles related to electrical

,electronics, embedded and power electronics Engineering. Hire me for your

industrial and research project. Note: Projects services are not free of cost. My email



Jani Prabhat February 20, 2015

Sir, why transformer rating in kva ?


theelectricalknowledge February 23, 2015


Because transformer power factor depend on load and we dont know exact value of
load. Thats why transformer rated in KVA rather than KW

talemwa.johnbaptist August 22, 2016


very good articles



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How transformer works ?

How to derive emf equation of transformer

Why transformers are used in power system?

Insulation materials used in transformers


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