Discourse into what 3 phase power is and how it works starts with understanding a bit about electricity basics. Let us first compare it to single phase power.
Single phase power is a two-wire alternating current power circuit. Current rises and falls as it moves, creating peaks & valleys that show desired power being at both highest & lowest points. Typically, there is one power wire—the phase wire—and one neutral wire, with current flowing between the power wire (through the load) and the neutral wire. Single phase power is what is normally seen in residential settings, as well as small businesses. It is relatively inexpensive to use and has enough power behind it to run electrical items in these settings without any issue.
When it comes to 3 phase power, it is composed of three single-phase currents operating at one time. Each current moves in the same peaks & valleys noted earlier, but they happen to do so at different times. The resulting wavelengths between these currents end up closer together, resulting in less ups & downs in terms of the power being supplied. This means that the power generated in a 3 phase system is more consistent.
Why Three Phase Power?
The biggest advantage of consistent power is improved performance. Consider for second that all things electrical aim to maximize the power being supplied to them. While single phase power can do the job (and for certain applications, it is ideal), its relatively lower efficiency may not be best option for equipment/machinery that need more power.
Commercial settings are often fitted with machinery that have a high-energy draw. Consistent 3 phase power allows the machinery to run without lulls in the operation. This leads to less wear & tear on physical capital, thereby reducing operating costs related to frequent repairs/replacement.
One of the major paradigm shift to have taken place in recent years, is that homes have started doing ‘more’. Appliances and other home-related machinery are being manufactured to be more efficient in their operation. Coupled with the rise of electric vehicle ownership, as well as the growing reliance on electricity to power smart devices & smart homes, and it is safe to say that the modern home may be pushing single phase power to its limit . It can be tempting to think that converting residential spaces to using 3 phase power would be an ideal solution. However, it is important to remember that homes are efficient systems that utilize single phase power very well.
The Human Component
Efficiency & consistency are probably the most notable characteristics of 3 phase power. Machinery can run longer, not to mention that downtime is greatly reduced. By far, the greatest impact of this happens to be with reduced operating costs. However, take into consideration some of the most consequential applications of 3 phase power. Industries such as mobile communications, commercial & military aerospace, oil & gas, and major power grids cannot afford to be down for any length of time. Not only does it cause general inconveniences for the individuals served, it can also be costly when it comes to human collateral damage.
Understanding all that there is know about 3 phase power may not be possible. However, being in an industry that uses it, it certainly does not bode well to be ill- or misinformed. This means working with a company with a standout engineering division to assist clients. Here at CCI Culberson, we stand by core values such as proficiency, commitment, and safety. Contact us today to learn more about how 3 phase power can impact your next project.