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Most electrical transformers that I am aware of have either copper or aluminum cable wound around an iron core.

Can the iron core be replaced with a copper core? Would there be any performance differences?

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  • $\begingroup$ You probably can, however the efficiency will be a lot lower due to magnetic field leakage. Namely the iron core has much higher magnetic permeability than air, while copper has even a slightly lower one, if I remember correctly. So an air "core" would probably be better than a copper core. I am not sure if other material properties might play a role as well so I only post this as a comment. $\endgroup$
    – fibonatic
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 9:01
  • $\begingroup$ You have many losses in transformers, usually the magnitude of copper (winding loses) dominant in compare to the Iron losses, by making the copper core, you'll increase the power-loss up to more than 70%. Besides the issues mentioned in the answer. Google the equivalent circuit of the transformer, you'll relize why. $\endgroup$
    – user14407
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 16:19

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It would not be a good idea at all - a transformer is effectively a magnetic circuit, so you need a low reluctance path for the magnetic flux to flow through. Copper has a high magnetic reluctance, so would not be a good choice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_reluctance

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permeability_(electromagnetism)#Values_for_some_common_materials

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