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Neutral Wire | What is Neutral wire ?
The neutral wire, like every other part of an electrical system, is crucial to building a working circuit. But what precisely is a neutral wire and how is it unique from other cables, like hot wires? We will discuss all the things in this article. The function of a neutral wire in a circuit and the reasons that your complete electrical system depends on it are explained in the following paragraphs.
An example of a very simple circuit may be the most effective method to comprehend what a neutral wire is and how it functions. Take a moment to visualise yourself in front of a battery and a lightbulb. For the purpose of powering the lightbulb, you must figure out how to join the two. You need a wire to connect the lightbulb to the battery and transfer electricity from it. Your hot wire is that particular wire. Naturally, a wire is required to complete the circuit and return the electrons to the power source in order to turn on the lighting. Your neutral wire is this wire, cue the drumroll. Electricity travels along the hot wire from the power source to the load (lightbulb). The consumed electricity from the load is brought back to the power source through neutral wires.
That is all well and good, but batteries do not operate the lightbulbs in your home. A transformer is linked to them. Your electricity is also generated utilising alternating current rather than direct current because they are not connected to batteries. With alternating current, the flow of electricity follows a straight line through the hot wire to the load, and finally back to the power source through the neutral wire.
What is a Neutral wire?
Lets try in another way to understand what is a neutral wire? Phase, neutral, and earth wires are the three different types of wires found in an electrical power supply. It’s a common misconception that neutral wire is useless because it doesn’t carry current. But did you know that without this neutral wire, it is practically impossible to finish any electrical circuit, even in large three-phase supply. You probably already know that any electrical channel contains two potentials—phase and neutral—that together form the circuit and permit current to flow. Neutral is the conducting wire that completes the current path by redirecting it to the source point but does not carry any current. Phase is the conducting wire that carries current. In order to complete the current flow in a circuit, a neutral wire is used.
Without a neutral wire, the load cannot conduct current. Another name for it is a zero potential point. As you are aware, the top plug contains three terminals. Phase and neutral are where the load is linked. The third point has a link to the ground. The neutral wire is actually connected to the ground. As the neutral wire must be non-conducting in this situation, it will become conducting when the live wire is supplying current to the load and the neutral wire is receiving the return current from load. In order to prevent it from conducting, the neutral wire is linked to the ground without passing through a neutral point. The path becomes non-conducting and is thus rendered null.
Power Supply at our homes
The electricity from the substation is lowered using a step-down transformer so that we can utilise it as 230/415V, and the output of this step-down transformer would have a neutral. The power from the substation may be 11KV when it reaches our residence. It should be remembered that practically, non-conducting equates to decreased conductivity. There will always be a modest return current flowing via the neutral wire if we sum the phase currents. Compared to a neutral wire linked to no ground, it is negligible and less dangerous.
Three-phase transformers provide our house with electricity. In order to utilise this power as 230/415V, the step-down transformer’s output must be lowered in order for it to have a neutral.
We can think of the neutral as the transformer’s star point because it is where the three windings of the transformer come together. After there, it is dispersed to a number of isolated locations that we use on a daily basis. One further thing to keep in mind is that neutral wires can have smaller conductor wire sizes than phase wires because they only carry very little current.
Importance of Neutral Wire | Why neutral wire is important?
Neutral wire plays an important role in the field of electricity. following are the some reason why neutral wire is so important ?
Protection from voltage imbalance is one of this wire’s most crucial features. The return current from the load, which had previously produced resistance, is securely transmitted back to the neutral point and earthing since there is a neutral wire. The cycle then continues indefinitely. If there is no neutral wire and there is a voltage spike or current imbalance in the line, the load will be destroyed since there is no safe way. Similar to this, in a three-phase supply, it is possible for one phase to have more voltage than the other; if there is no safe path (return path), this will result in voltage imbalance.
The neutral wire will not supply energy if it hits a grounded object because of the Earth’s connection to the ground; no spark will fly and no current will flow.
From all of these deductions, it can be shown that without neutral wire, all electrical connections are incomplete because it won’t complete any path.
When there is an equal load on each of the three phases of a three-phase system, neutral wire can be removed. It is primarily theoretical and is only occasionally realised. A neutral wire is therefore necessary to stop any improper action in an electrical circuit.
Neutral wire color | Color for Neutral wire | Which color wire is neutral?
The neutral wire can be either white or grey in colour. White or grey wire jackets on neutral wires serve as a visual cue. They need to be handled with the same level of care as hot wire, even though there may not always be an electrical current flowing through them.
Are neutral wires capable of shocking us with electricity?
Although a neutral wire is typically thought to have a zero potential, this can change in the case of an unbalanced system, which is why it is connected to the ground. Yes, there is a danger that you could get shocked by a neutral wire. It could be dangerous as well if the neutral path to the earth is not good.
Is it possible to conduct current using the earth instead of neutral?
Yes, you can connect an earth wire in place of a neutral wire to complete the current route if necessary. This is because current needs a path to flow, and since the neutral was accomplishing the same thing with zero potential in it, an earthing wire may also complete the path with zero potential in it and do the same thing. However, this only happens on rare occasions. Since earthing won’t offer safety features in that situation, the circuit may be harmed. Earth is mostly utilised for safety considerations. To complete the current path with phase wire, utilise the neutral wire.
Is it necessary to ground the neutral wire?
If we use a protective system like an RCCB or something similar, it would only trip if the current entering the device was not the same as the current reaching the device through the neutral. If the neutral is grounded, the current will flow through it and the protective device won’t trip, so there won’t be any protection for earth leakage. When the neutral is grounded, there’s also a risk that the current consumption would be high, which means we’d have to pay extra for the electricity we didn’t use.
Difference between neutral and ground wire
In AC mains, a ground wire is utilised to create a low impedance channel, which prevents high voltages and safeguards the equipment. The current from the hot wire would be transmitted to the source through a neutral, which is a conductor. A neutral wire may be grounded; the neutral wire may be white or grey, while the ground wire may be coloured green. The ground wire won’t carry any electrical current under typical working circumstances because grounding is only done in conductors or parts that convey current.
Therefore, in the event of an electrical failure, only the ground wire will permit the flow of electrical current, and since the resistance of the ground wire will be very low, electricity will always prefer to go through the ground wire under fault conditions. As a result, the majority of electrical equipment has been grounded to ensure that no people will be harmed if a hot wire comes into contact with a metal component.
Difference between neutral and hot wire
Only in a full circuit can electricity move from a high potential to a low potential. A circuit is completed when the electric current flows back to its source. A live wire, also known as a hot wire, is used to transport electricity from the power source to the equipment or load, which it reaches via the neutral wire. Using a neutral wire, the current in the device can flow to the current supply or the load as needed.
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