The Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Effects of High Voltage Transmission Lines – Is It Dangerous? - Electrical engineering Essay Example
Electricity is a basic part of nature and it is one of our most widely used forms of energy - The Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Effects of High Voltage Transmission Lines – Is It Dangerous? introduction. We get electricity, which is a secondary energy source, from the conversion of other sources of energy, like coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power and other natural sources, which are called primary sources. Many cities and towns were built alongside waterfalls that turned water wheels to perform work. Before electricity generation began slightly over 100 years ago, houses were lit with kerosene lamps, food was cooled in iceboxes, and rooms were warmed by wood-burning or coal-burning stoves. Beginning with Benjamin Franklin’s experiment with a kite one stormy night in Philadelphia, the principles of electricity gradually became understood . ” However, in present, we use electric power transmission or “high voltage electric transmission” to transfer a bulk of electrical energy, from generating power plants to substations located near to population centres. This is distinct from the local wiring between high voltage substations and customers, which is typically referred to as electricity distributions.
Transmission lines, when interconnected with each other, become high voltage transmission networks. In the US, these are typically referred to as “power grids” or just “the grid”, while in the UK the network is known as the “national grid”. There are many types of power transmission lines and each type carries different functions. Three-phase electric power systems are used for high and extra-high voltage AC (Alternating Current) transmission lines (50 kV and above). The towers must be designed to carry three (or multiples of three) conductors. The towers are usually steel lattices or trusses (wooden structures are used in Canada, Germany, and Scandinavia in some cases) and the insulators are either glass or porcelain discs or composite insulators using silicone rubber or EPDM rubber material assembled in strings or long rods whose lengths are dependent on the line voltage and environmental conditions . ” Typically, one or two ground wires are placed on top to intercept lightning and harmlessly divert it to ground.
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In some countries, towers for high and extra-high voltage are usually designed to carry two or more electric circuits. “For double circuit lines in Germany, the “Danube” towers or, more rarely, the “fir tree” towers are usually used . ” If a line is constructed using towers designed to carry several circuits, it is not necessary to install all the circuits at the time of construction. Some high voltage circuits are often erected on the same tower as 110 kV lines. Paralleling circuits of 380 kV, 220 kV and 110 kV-lines on the same towers is common.
Moreover, power lines and broadcast tower emit electromagnetic radiation which are invisible electromagnetic fields which is known as EMFs. They are generated by currents running through electric wires. Since they are not powerful and destructive like nuclear or X-ray radiation, they were once thought to be harmless. However, studies have suggested that people exposed to them chronically run a higher risk of certain health problems, including miscarriages, learning disabilities, and cancer.
There are no clear cause-and-effect relationship has been established between EMFs and illnesses, but the mounting evidence makes EMFs appear to be extremely suspicious and because EMFs are generated by many sources including microwave ovens, televisions and radios, military radar systems, and, ironically, some treatments for cancerous tumors many of us could be at risk. Studies over the last 15 years have hinted at a connection between EMFs and health problems. EMFs have been implicated in behavioral changes, birth defects, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease. In 1976, two doctors at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Syracuse, N. Y. showed that the offspring of mice exposed to extremely low-frequency EMFs from power lines were born stunted. Furthermore, it is possible that if we stay under power lines is harmful. It’s actually depend on how powerful are the EMFs coming down from your neighbourhood power lines. The electrical power grid uses a “step down” system of distribution, highest near the generating station and substations, lowest at the end. The closer you are the more you are bombarded with dangerous EMFs.
In addition, there are some other facts about power line that we need to know. Transformer that used to reduces the voltage to the 120-/240 current needed by the nearby homes. The typical power line feeding the transformer is carrying 4000 to 13,000 volts which creates a strong field extending up to a 1/4 of a mile. Health risk depends on the strength of incoming power line and the distance from the transformer. There are two types of EMFs which are electric field and magnetic field. Electrical field is the part of EMF that can easily be shielded while magnetic field is the part of the EMF that can penetrate stone, steel and human flesh.
In fact, when it comes to magnetic fields, human flesh and bone has the same penetrability as air! Both fields are dangerous to human health. Our body acts like an energy wave broadcaster and receiver, incorporating and responding to EMFs. In fact, scientific research has demonstrated that every cell in your body may have its own EMF, helping to regulate important functions and keep you healthy. “Strong, artificial EMFs like those from power lines can scramble and interfere with your body’s natural EMF, harming everything from your sleep cycles and stress levels to your immune response and DNA!
After hundreds of international studies, the evidence linking EMFs to cancers and other health problems is loud and clear. High Voltage power lines are the most obvious and dangerous culprits, but the same EMFs exist in gradually decreasing levels all along the grid, from substations to transformers to homes . ” As a conclusion, there is not much we can do to totally eliminate EMF exposure. There are few ways, though, of minimizing our potential risks. Though EMFs have not been proven dangerous, the evidence clearly points to an association between them and health problems, and individuals have reason to be concerned.