Colloquium

Transforming the transformer, the thrill of discovery

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 2:30 PM
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Colloquium
Transforming the transformer, the thrill of discovery

Tony Arrott
Dept of Physics, SFU

Oct 13, 2017 at 2:30pm in AQ3159

Synopsis

In 1893, Lord Kelvin made the decision to use ac power generation at Niagara Falls. At that moment, the transformer became the keystone of modern technology. With high voltages and low currents, power could be delivered to Buffalo and the land grab by J. P. Morgan was no longer the profitable investment imagined by Edison and the New York financiers. Westinghouse from Pittsburgh then brought to fruition the dreams of Tesla and his rotating magnetic field. Since then, improvements in transformers have been a major motivation for research in soft magnetic materials. By volume, the most important of soft magnetic materials is polycrystalline iron. The first conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials was held in Pittsburgh in 1955, 62 years after Lord Kelvin’s decision. Now another 62 years later, you can learn how to make a better transformer using polycrystalline iron. Magnetism is visualized using magnetic charge density to provide the "New Rules" for understanding soft magnetic materials.