Electric Generator

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Introduction to Electric Generator

As the name itself suggests, an electric generator generates electricity. The electric generator or an AC electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy in the form of current or alternating emf. In other words, the electric generator converts its kinetic energy into potential difference without violating the law of conservation of energy. Electric generators work on the principle of Electromagnetic induction. 

Depending upon the type of electricity produced the electric generator is classified into AC generator and the DC generator. The electric generators mainly used to provide power supply to domestic lines, industrial purposes, and for commercial factories.


Explain the Working of Electric Generator

Before getting started with the working of an electric generator, let us first study the components of an electric generator.


Components of an Electric Generator

The schematic representation of an electric generator is as shown below. The construction of a generator is identical with the electric motor only difference being instead of a battery a galvanometer is used. The galvanometer is a device used for detecting the presence of electricity.

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The Electric Generator Consists of the Following Components

  • A rectangular wireframe or a rectangular coil, which is connected to the brushes.

  • Two strong magnets can be any kind like it may be horseshoe magnets, a bar magnet, etc.

  • The ends of the coils are connected to the rings as shown in the diagram. The edges of the rings are further connected to brushes.

  • To detect the electricity a galvanometer is used.

As technology improves, an electric generator has its own advancement and is widely used. An actual generator used for domestic purposes or industrial lanes it will consist of the following components:

  • An engine used as a source of mechanical energy.

  • A lubrication system

  • A Fuel System

  • A Voltage Regulator

  • An Exhaust system

  • A charger

  • Main Control

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Working of An Electric Generator

Now let us understand what is the working of the generator. A rectangular coil is placed between the two magnets. Let us assume that we are rotating the coil in a clockwise direction with the help of axles connected to the rings. 

On rotating the coil in a clockwise direction AB arm will move upwards and the CD arm will move downwards. We can apply Fleming’s Right-hand rule to the AB arm and the current flows from A to B. Similarly, we use Fleming’s Left-hand rule to CD arm and we note that current flows from C to D. Hence the current will flow from B2 to B1.

Now after half rotation we see that CD will be on the left side and AB arm on the right side. Now on applying Fleming’s right-hand rule to the CD arm, it results in the current flowing from C to D, and using Fleming’s left-hand rule for the AB arm, the resulting current flows from A to B. Hence the current will enter B1 and flows through B2.

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Thus the direction of current changes after every rotation resulting in producing the altering current. Hence the electric generator generally is also known as the AC generator. If we want to produce DC current, we will place a commutator between the rings.

This is the explanation for the construction and working of an electric generator. The above concept explains the electric generator in detail. If the question demands construction of an AC electric generator we can give the same explanation.


Did You Know?

  • The first electric generator developed was back in 1660. Back in time, Otto invented a device that generated electricity due to friction. It was termed as static electricity.

  • The credit for the invention of electric generators goes to Micheal Faraday. 

  • He invented an electric generator as an application of his electromagnetic induction theory. He gave a simple experimental demonstration using a large horseshoe magnet and coil.

  • Due generators even during power cuts, we can do our daily routines without interruption.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Give any two uses of electric generators

The uses of an electric generator is as listed below:

  • An AC generator is used for transportation purposes.

  • An electric generator is widely used for domestic purposes as an alternative to the power supply.

  • Electric generators are also used in laboratories.

2. What is the difference between an electric motor and an electric generator?

The electric generator is a reverse mechanism of the electric motor. The electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy whereas the electric generator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. This is the major difference between an electric motor and a generator.

3. What are the types of electric generators?

Depending upon the type of current produced, an electric generator is classified into two types.

  1. AC Generators: Converts mechanical energy into electricity in the form of alternating emf.

  2. DC Generators: Converts mechanical energy into direct current.