What Does MV Stand for in Electricity?

As an electrician that teaches a few apprentices, I see many get confused when they see the term “MV” and what it stands for in an electric setting. Since it can stand for multiple things, I will go through each below.

MV Can Stand for One of Three Things in Electricity.

  1. Megavolts
  2. Medium Voltage
  3. Millivolts

I’ll go into more detail below on the three definitions and give examples of their uses.

1. Megavolts

What is a Megavolt?

Megavolt, or “MV,” is the energy a single-electron-charged particle gains when it moves through a potential difference of one million volts in a vacuum.

Use of Megavolts

They are used in medicine to treat cancer, neoplasms, and tumors with external beam radiotherapy. Radiation oncologists use beams with a voltage range of 4 to 25 MV to treat cancers deep in the body. This is because these beams reach deep sites in the body well.

Megavoltage x-rays are better for treating deep-lying tumors because they lose less energy than lower-energy photons and can reach deeper into the body with less dose to the skin.

Megavoltage x-rays are also not as good for living things as orthovoltage x-rays. Because of these qualities, megavoltage x-rays are usually the most common beam energies used in modern radiotherapy techniques like IMRT.

2. Medium Voltage

What is Medium Voltage?

Most of the time, “medium voltage”(MV) refers to distribution systems with voltages above 1 kV and usually up to 52 kV. For technical and economic reasons, the service voltage of medium voltage distribution networks rarely goes above 35 kV. 

Use of Medium Voltage

Medium voltage has a lot of uses, and that number is only going to grow. In the past, medium-voltage class voltages were mainly used for secondary transmission and primary distribution.

Medium voltages are often used to power distribution transformers, which step down the medium voltage to low voltage to power equipment at the end of the line. Also, it has been used a lot in industries for motors with voltages of 13800 V or less.

But new system topologies and semiconductors have enabled power electronics to be used in medium voltage. Also, new distribution grids are built around medium voltage, whether AC or DC, to make room for new energy sources and users.

3. Millivolts

What are Millivolts?

A millivolt is a unit of electric potential and electromotive force in the International System of Units (SI). Millivolt is written as mV.

The base unit for a millivolt is the volt, and the prefix is “milli.” The prefix milli comes from the Latin word mille, which means “one thousand.” It is written as m. Milli is a factor of one thousandth (1/1000th), so one volt is equal to 1,000 millivolts.

Use of Millivolts

MilliVolts (mV) are units used to measure the voltage in electronic circuits. It is equal to 1/1,000 volts or 0.001 volts. The unit was coined to facilitate more straightforward measurement and less confusion among students. Therefore, the unit is not commonly used in the field of electronics.

A millivolt is a thousandth of a volt. It is used to measure very small voltages. This can be very helpful in making electrical circuits where tiny voltages could otherwise be too hard to measure.

Wrapping Up

Electricity is a complex and ever-changing field. I hope this article has helped answer any questions about what Mv stands for in electricity.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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