MadSci Network: Engineering

Re: How does a pulse transformer differ from a normal one?

Date: Thu May 10 09:20:51 2001
Posted By: Donald Howard, Staff, Nuclear Engineering, Retired
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 987834365.Eg

The basic difference is in the control of the shape of the wave as it 
travels through the transformer.  For power transformers, a little 
distortion of the wave shape is of no consequence to a light bulb or and 
AC motor, within reason, of course.  

You note the application of a camera electronic flash where a capacitor is 
discharged through a pulse transformer...  For electronic applications, 
efficiency is of great importance in extending battery life.  And, where 
large power station transformers have oil cooling and fans to get rid of 
the heating due to inefficiency, heating can be a big consideration in 
electronic designs. 

Much more care is taken in the design of a pulse transformer to minimize 
wave form distortion and losses than for any power transformer.  If wave 
form distortion was ever a problem for power transformers, that design 
evolution ended decades ago.  There is still a little work being done in 
power transformer insulation design as better materials become available, 
and in the coolant area where the last major change required the removal 
of coolant containing PCB's.

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