Power Applications of Gas Tubes

Power Applications of Gas Tubes

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Power rectifier and control tubes include mercury vapor rectifiers, thyratrons, and ignitrons. These tubes employ the very high current-carrying capacity of gas discharge tubes with low power losses for rectification and control in high-power equi...

Power rectifier and control tubes include mercury vapor rectifiers, thyratrons, and ignitrons. These tubes employ the very high current-carrying capacity of gas discharge tubes with low power losses for rectification and control in high-power equipment. The operation of mercury-vapor tubes depends on temperature insofar as tube  voltage drop and peak inverse voltages are concerned. (See Fig. 28)

Hydrogen thyratrons are hot-cathode hydrogen-filled triodes designed for use as electronic switching devices where short anode delay time is important.  In pulsing service, there are capable of switching tens of megawatts at voltages of tens of kilovolts. Anode delay time and time jitter are in the nanosecond range, and the tubes do not depend on ambient temperature for proper operation. Hydrogen thyratrons are also used in crowbar applications to protect other circuit components against fault voltages or currents and are capable of handling peak currents of several thousand amperes.

Triggered spark gaps are cold-cathode gas tubes operating in the arc discharge region (region III). The gaps contain two high power electrodes and a trigger electrode, which is generally fired through a step-up pulse transformer  by a simple low-energy pulse. The gaps are used as electronic switching devices for peak currents of tens of thousands of amperes and voltage of tens of kilovolts. They can discharge stored energies transfer in exploding-bridge-wire circuits, gas plasma discharges, spark, chambers and Kerr cells. They are also use in crowbar application for fats-acting protection of other circuit components against fault voltages and currents. Before conduction, the gap presents a low capacitance and a very high impedance to the circuit. After triggering, when the gap is conducting , the impedance drops to a few ohm or less.

Voltage regulators of the glow-discharge type take advantage of the volt-ampere characteristic in region II, where the voltage is nearly independence of the current. they operate at milliamperes and up to a few hundred volts.

Voltage regulators of the corona-discharge type operate at currents of less than a miliampere and up to a few hundred volts.

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