The ComPADRE Collections

The Transformer: Simulation Lecture Demo

John Stewart
University of Arkansas
Author Profile

This activity has benefited from input through a review and suggestion process.

This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process as a part of an activity development workshop. Workshop participants were provided with a set of criteria against which they evaluated each others' activities. For information about the criteria used for this review, see

This page first made public: Jul 29, 2007

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


Illustration of a Induction Transformer
In a physics lecture, the class is presented with a simulation of the operation of a transformer. The students are presented with a question involving the qualitative relationship between the input and output emf and the number of turns in the primary and secondary coils. The starting point of the simulation is a transformer with equal number of turns on the primary and secondary. The students are asked how the output voltage changes as the number of turns in the primary and secondary is altered.

Learning Goals

The student should complete the activity with a qualitative understanding of the dependence of transformer operation on the parameters of the transformer. The student should also develop an improved understanding of Faraday's law.

Context for Use

Educational level: Introductory College or Electronics Class
Setting: Lecture
Time required: 20-50 minutes
Special equipment: Computer and Projector
Pre-requisite knowledge: Faraday's law

Description and Teaching Materials

The file contains a complete script of the interactive demonstration and questions to present to the student.
Transformer Questions (Microsoft Word 32kB Jul29 07)

Teaching Notes and Tips

The lecture demonstration can be followed by a lab activity where the students build a simple transformer.


The third question should be answered correctly by most students if the activity is effective. The fourth question can be asked as a homework question to test general understanding.

References and Resources

Simulation Source: Accessed from Florida State University through ComPADRE on July 11, 2007.