Physics trivia

# 110V or 220V

Everyday electrical appliances work at 110 V or 220 V. From a technical point of view, there is no difference between these voltages.

A large part of the electronic equipment and household appliances used in daily life offers the option of connecting 110 V (volts) or 220 V. Throughout Brazil, most states offer the population the electrical voltage of 110 V. Some, such as Goiás (GO) and Paraíba (PB), offer 220 V.

Equipment operation

When connecting appliances to the outlet, electrons travel through the circuit from one pole towards the other. On the way between the poles, electrons pass through the equipment and make it work. Basically, this is how electrical equipment works.

110V or 220V?

There is no technical difference between the two voltages. The performance of the same appliances working at a different voltage is exactly the same. The amount of energy consumed by an appliance operating at 110 V is equal to that of a 220 V appliance.

Energy consumption does not depend on the electrical voltage, but on the power and time of use of the equipment. The product of voltage and electrical current defines the electrical power of an equipment, not consumption.

Imagine that an electric shower has a power equal to 5500 W and is connected to a network that offers 220 V. The electrical current required for its operation is 25 A (25 x 220 = 5500). If a shower, also 5500 W, is connected to a 110 V network, the electrical current required for its full operation will be 50 A (50 x 110 = 5500). Note that, even if the electrical currents in each case are different, the energy consumption, in the same time interval of use for each case, will be the same, as it is directly related to the power of the equipment.

• el = Electric energy consumed (kWh);
• Pot = Electrical power of the equipment (kW);
• ΔT = Time of use of the equipment (h).

Regardless of the electrical voltage, the equipment works with the same electrical power. Therefore, in terms of electricity consumption, there will be no significant differences between 110 V and 220 V.

Heat generation

In the case of electrical appliances that transform electrical energy into heat , which is the case of heaters, electric irons, hair dryers, among others, the 220 V voltage can guarantee better performance for electrical installations that have the same characteristics.

wire thickness

When moving through the wires, the electrons encounter resistance to movement, which generates a certain amount of electrical energy that will not be effectively used by the device, but rather converted into heat . The amount of heat generated for equal wires will depend on the square of the electrical current used, that is, voltages of 110 V will generate more heat, since they need greater currents to maintain the electrical power of the equipment. The point is to use the correct thickness of wire for each electrical installation , in order to generate the least amount of heat possible.

Why does most of Brazil use 110 V?

As a matter of security. The electric shock resulting from a voltage of 220 V can cause more damage than a shock from a voltage of 110 V. In addition, the large distances traveled by the electric current , from the generation plant to the final consumer, generate a lot of loss. energy, which justifies a lower voltage for most consumers.