Home » Ask Physics » Single phase, two phase, three phase and multiphase electric generators – which one is more efficient?

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I started referring to the above issue when one students asked, “Why do we use three phase generation of power and not two phase or four phase?”

Three-phase has properties that make it very desirable in electric power systems:

The phase currents tend to cancel out one another, summing to zero in the case of a linear balanced load. This makes it possible to reduce the size of the neutral conductor because it carries little to no current; all the phase conductors carry the same current and so can be the same size, for a balanced load. Vector sum of the magnetic field vectors of the stator coils produces a single rotating vector of resulting rotating magnetic field. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Power transfer into a linear balanced load is constant, which helps to reduce generator and motor vibrations.

Three-phase systems can produce a rotating magnetic field with a specified direction and constant magnitude, which simplifies the design of electric motors.

Refer the following links for more …

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-phase_electric_power

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphase_system

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