Large amounts of electrical energy Are transmitted each second, from the power stations to the consumers, often over large distances.
Since power = current x voltage, we could use:
either a) a low voltage and a high current,
or b) a high voltage and a low current.
Why does the National Grid always use method (b)?
Remember that a current always produces heat in a resistor.
If the cables have resistance R, and carry a current I, the energy converted to heat each second is I 2 R
P = I 2 R
This means that in method (a) the high current produces a lot of heat in the cables and little of the energy from the power station gets to the consumer.
Method (b) is used because the low current minimises the power loss.
Transformers at each end of the system step the voltage up and then down.
Losses in transformers
Copper losses: the wires have some resistance
Hystereis loss: Magnetising and demagnetising uses power
Eddy currents: small currents form in the core
Transmission of Power
At the power station side:
Voltage is stepped up with a transformer to 275000 V
This reduces electrical loss in the transmission lines
At the end of the line
Voltage is stepped-down with a transformer to
33000 V: heavy industry
11000 V: Light industry
230 V : Homes
How many transformers are there in your home?
How many electric fields are you exposed to everyday?
What about wireless internet?
Can these pose a threat to our health?
Electric fields from power lines and mobile phone masts are all around us
Electric fields are known to interact with tissues by inducing electric fields and currents in them.
Some studies have found a higher rate of cancer in people living close to power lines
How can these fields do this?
Results from animal studies conducted so far suggest that electric fields do not initiate or promote cancer.
Electric fields and magnetic fields were classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans based on epidemiological studies of childhood leukaemia
"Possibly carcinogenic to humans" is a classification used to denote an agent for which there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and less than sufficient evidence for carcinogenicity in experimental animals.