Device that transfers electric energy from one alternating-current circuit to one or more other circuits, either increasing (stepping up) or reducing (stepping down) the voltage. Uses for transformers include reducing the line voltage to operate low-voltage devices (doorbells or toy electric trains) and raising the voltage from electric generators so that electric power can be transmitted over long distances. Transformers act through electromagnetic induction; current in the primary coil induces current in the secondary coil. The secondary voltage is calculated by multiplying the primary voltage by the ratio of the number of turns in the secondary coil to that in the primary.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on transformer, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up transformer? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.