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Air Core Transformer

If an alternating current is supplied to a

coil, an alternating magnetic field is
produced surround it. If another coil is
brought inside this magnetic field, an
alternating emf is induced across the
second coil also as per Faradays law of
electromagnetic induction. This induced
emf in the second coil can be utilized to
feed a load. As in this example the flux is
linked with both coils through air, this
arrangement can be referred as air core
transformer. Here, first coil serves as
primary winding and second coil serves as
secondary winding of the said transformer.

Whenever there is a need of changing voltage level from one level to another in power network we use
an electrical transformer. Whenever there is a need of electrical isolation from one circuit to other, we
use transformer. For receiving current and voltage signals of power system network, at low measurable
level we use current transformer and potential transformer respectively. These are not only the
applications of transformers. Electrical transformer also are used for many different purposes. In
different electronics applications smaller sized transformers are used. Examples of these transformers
are air core transformer, audio frequency transformer etc. These are referred as special purpose
transformers and simply called special transformer. Construction wise they are different from general

power transformer but basic working principle is same as all other transformer. That means in this
case, the working principle of transformer is also based on mutual induction between two magnetically
linked windings.

Air Core Transformer

In an transformer primary winding and secondary windings are coupled with a low reluctance
ferromagnetic core. The core is used in an electrical transformer for confining magnetic flux and
facilitating maximum flux linkage between primary and secondary winding. Laminated steel sheets are
used to construct the core of transformer. But, ferromagnetic materials like steel as core of
transformer, suffers from hysteresis loss, eddy current losses. Also it faces problem of getting
saturated after certain level of magnetization. But these can be avoided in air core transformer as
ferromagnetic core is absent in this transformer.

In very high frequency applications, distortion in electromagnetic field should be avoided otherwise there
may be a significant affect in output signal. So for maintaining quality of signal it is desired to avoid any
noise or distortion in the signal. As ferromagnetic material causes noise or distortion in the signal, it
should be avoided in high frequency application like signal transmission. Thus air core transformer is
introduced, in the application of high frequency radio transmission. Here iron core of transformer is
absent and the flux is linked with the windings through air. In addition to the noise-free operation, an air
core transformer is quite light weight due to absence of heavy weight iron core. That is why this type of
transformer is most suitable for portable, light weight electronic devices and high frequency devices. Air
core transformers are are generally used in radio transmitter and communication devices etc.

Construction of Air Core Transformer

The coils of insulated copper wire, are wound on a plastic tube or cardboard etc. There are mainly two
forms of air core transformer. One is cylindrical form and other is toroidal form. In cylindrical form of air
transformer, insulated copper wires are wound on a non metallic cylindrical structure. This non metallic
hollow structure gives the winding necessary mechanical support. The copper winding wounded around
the non metallic cylinder is tapped at different points as necessary. The secondary supply is taken
across these taps. Sometimes capacitor is connected to the winding to maintain the constant
resonance of the tuning circuit. The flux flows through the air surrounding the winding and air inside
hollow cylinder. For proper impedance matching, sometime a guard winding is wound surrounding the
main copper winding. This guard winding is further connected with antenna receivers or grounded
On the other hand in toroidal form of air core transformer, insulated copper wires are wound around a
ring of hard plastic or other non metallic substance. Actually, the wire is wound in circular way around
the periphery of the ring. This type of transformers are only used in very high frequency applications. In
this case the winding is not tapped, here two separate windings are used for primary and secondary
purpose. Therefore, the effect of stray coupling is minimized in toroidal air core transformer. The
primary is to secondary ratio of windings varies and it depends upon the frequency range and the type
of operation.