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Encyclopedia > Spark gap
A spark plug. The spark gap is at the bottom.
A spark plug. The spark gap is at the bottom.

A spark gap consists of an arrangement of two conducting electrodes separated by a gap usually filled with a gas such as air. When a suitable voltage is supplied, a spark forms, ionizing the gas and drastically reducing its electrical resistance. An electric current then flows until the path of ionized gas is broken or the current reduces below a minimum value called the 'holding current'. This usually happens when the voltage drops, but in some cases occurs when the heated gas rises, stretching out and then breaking the filament of ionized gas. Usually the action of ionizing the gas is violent and disruptive, often leading to sound (ranging from a snap for a spark plug to thunder for a lightning discharge), light and heat. NGK spark plug (type BP6ES). ... In science and engineering, conductors are materials that contain movable charges of electricity. ... An electrode is a conductor used to make contact with a nonmetallic part of a circuit (e. ... A gas is one of the four major phases of matter (after solid and liquid, and followed by plasma, that subsequently appear as a solid material is subjected to increasingly higher temperatures. ... AIR is a three-letter abbreviation with multiple meanings, as described below: The Annals of Improbable Research, a monthly magazine devoted to scientific humour All India Radio - Indias Government Radio service AIR, a popular electronica band from France. ... International safety symbol Caution, risk of electric shock (ISO 3864), colloquially known as high voltage symbol. ... Look up Spark in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... An ion is an atom or group of atoms that normally are electrically neutral and achieve their status as an ion by loss or addition of one or more electrons. ... Electrical resistance is a measure of the degree to which an electrical component opposes the passage of current. ... The holding current in a silicon controlled rectifier (SCR) is the minimum current which must pass through the device in order for it to remain in the ON state. ... International safety symbol Caution, risk of electric shock (ISO 3864), colloquially known as high voltage symbol. ... Filaments surrounding a solar flare, caused by the interaction of the plasma in the Suns atmopshere with its magnetic field. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into articles entitled Sound, Sound pressure and Sound pressure level, accessible from a disambiguation page. ... This article or section should include material from Spark gap A spark plug is an electrical device that fits into the cylinder head of some internal combustion engines and ignites compressed aerosol gasoline by means of an electric spark. ... Thunder is the sound of the shockwave caused when lightning instantly heats the air around it to up to 30 000 °C (54 000 °F). ... Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity, usually, but not always, during a rain storm. ... Hahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaahahhhahhhahaahhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahaahhaaahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahhahahahhahahahahahhahahahhahahahhahahahhahahahahahahahahahhahahaahhaahahhaahhahaahahahahhahaahahsahahahahahshhsshshshagagaggagagagagagaggagagahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahyhahahahahhahaahahahahahahahahahahhahahahaah! your moma is a hoe. ... In physics, heat, symbolized by Q, is defined as energy in transit. ...

Contents

Spark visibility

The emitted light does not come from the electron current, but the material medium fluorescing in response to collisions from the electrons exciting its electron orbitals to high, excited states and dropping them repeatedly. It is possible for a spark to form in a vacuum. Without intervening matter capable of electromagnetic transitions, the spark will be invisible (see vacuum arc). Fluorescence induced by exposure to ultraviolet light in vials containing various sized cadmium selenide (CdSe) quantum dots. ... The electron is a fundamental subatomic particle that carries an electric charge. ... In chemistry, an atomic orbital is the region in which an electron may be found around a single atom. ... Look up Vacuum in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Electromagnetism is the physics of the electromagnetic field: a field, encompassing all of space, composed of the electric field and the magnetic field. ... This article needs cleanup. ... A vacuum arc arises when the surface of metal electrodes in contact with a good vacuum begin to emit electrons because of heating or through exceeding the metals Work function. ...


Applications

Spark gaps are essential to the functioning of a number of electronic devices.


Ignition devices

A spark plug uses a spark gap to initiate combustion. The heat of the ionization trail ignites a fuel-air mixture inside an internal combustion engine, or a burner in a furnace, oven, or stove. Combustion or burning is a complex sequence of chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat or both heat and light in the form of either a glow or flames. ... A colorized automobile engine The internal combustion engine is a heat engine in which the burning of a fuel occurs in a confined space called a combustion chamber. ...


Radio transmitters

A spark radiates energy throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. Nowadays, this is usually regarded as radio frequency interference and is suppressed, but in the early days of radio communications, this was the means by which radio signals were transmitted, in the spark-gap transmitter. Many radio spark gaps include cooling devices such as the rotary gap and heat sinks, since the spark gap becomes quite hot under continuous use at high power. Legend: γ = Gamma rays HX = Hard X-rays SX = Soft X-Rays EUV = Extreme ultraviolet NUV = Near ultraviolet Visible light NIR = Near infrared MIR = Moderate infrared FIR = Far infrared Radio waves: EHF = Extremely high frequency (Microwaves) SHF = Super high frequency (Microwaves) UHF = Ultra high frequency VHF = Very high frequency HF = High... Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) is electromagnetic radiation which is emitted by electrical circuits carrying rapidly changing signals, as a by-product of their normal operation, and which causes unwanted signals (interference or noise) to be induced in other circuits. ... A typical spark transmitter circuit. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Spark gaps as protective devices

Spark gaps are frequently used to prevent voltage surges from damaging equipment.Spark gaps are used in high-voltage switches, for example, in power plants and electrical substations. Such switches are constructed with a large, remote-operated switching blade with a hinge as one contact and two leaf springs holding the other end as second contact. If the blade is opened, a spark may keep the connection between blade and spring conducting. (The spark ionizes the air, which becomes conductive, allowing an arc to form, which sustains ionization and hence conduction.) Here, a Jacob's ladder (see below) on top of the switch will pull the arc apart and so extinguish it. You might also find small Jacob's ladders mounted on top of ceramic insulators of high-voltage pylons. If a spark should ever manage to jump over the insulator and give rise to an arc, it will be extinguished. Voltage spikes are fast, short duration surges in the electric potential in a given circuit. ... Electrical switches. ... A power station (also power plant) is a facility for the generation of electric power. ... A 115 kV to 41. ... semi-elliptical spring in a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC A leaf spring is a simple form of spring, commonly used for the suspension in wheeled vehicles. ...


Smaller spark gaps are often used to protect sensitive electrical or electronic equipment from high voltage surges. In sophisticated versions of these devices (called gas tube arresters), a small spark gap breaks down during an abnormal voltage surge, safely shunting the surge to ground and thereby protecting the equipment. These devices are commonly used for telephone lines as they enter a building; the spark gaps help protect the building and internal telephone circuits from the effects of lightning strikes. Less sophisticated (and much less expensive) spark gaps are made using modified ceramic capacitors; in these devices, the spark gap is simply an air gap sawn between the two lead wires that connect the capacitor to the circuit. A voltage surge causes a spark which jumps from lead wire to lead wire across the gap left by the sawing process. These low-cost devices are often used to prevent damaging arcs between the elements of the electron gun(s) within a cathode ray tube (CRT). attention Electronic and other electric devices are rated at a certain voltage, and considerable damage can be caused by voltage that is higher than that for which the devices are rated. ... Look up Telephone in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity, usually, but not always, during a rain storm. ... Fixed Partial Denture, or Bridge The word ceramic is derived from the Greek word κεραμικός (keramikos). ... Capacitors: SMD ceramic at top left; SMD tantalum at bottom left; through-hole tantalum at top right; through-hole electrolytic at bottom right. ... Look up saw, SAW in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... It has been suggested that Crookes tube be merged into this article or section. ... It has been suggested that Crookes tube be merged into this article or section. ...


Small spark gaps are very common in telephone switchboards, as the long phone cables are very susceptible to induced surges from lightning strikes. Larger spark gaps are used to protect power lines. Telephone switchboard, 1974 A switchboard (also called a manual branch exchange) is a device used to manually connect a group of telephones from one to another or to an outside connection. ... Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity, usually, but not always, during a rain storm. ... Power Line is a neoconservative blog run by three lawyers: John H. Hinderaker (Hindrocket), Scott W. Johnson (The Big Trunk) and Paul Mirengoff (Deacon). Power Line covers political and social issues from a conservative viewpoint. ...


Transils and trisils are the solid-state alternatives to spark gaps for lower-power applications. Neon bulbs are also used for this purpose. Transils (also know as transil) are electronic components similar to zener diodes that are designed especially to protect electronic circuits against overvoltage peaks. ... Trisil is an electronic component designed to protect electronic circuits against overvoltage. ... Lighting neon lamp, two 220/230 Volt and 110 V neon lamps and a screwdriver with neon lamp inside A neon lamp is a gas discharge lamp containing neon gas at low pressure. ...


Power-switching devices

Special purpose, high-energy triggerable spark gaps are also used to rapidly switch high voltages and very high currents for certain pulsed power applications, such as pulsed lasers, railguns, fusion and ultrastrong pulsed magnetic field research, and in the triggering of nuclear bombs. These often have higher power capabilities than any thyristor, thyratron, krytron, or sprytron. One such type of switch is known as a trigatron. A LASER (from the acronym of Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is an optical source that emits photons in a coherent beam. ... A railgun is a form of gun that converts electrical energy—rather than the more conventional chemical energy from an explosive propellant—into projectile kinetic energy. ... Zork universe Zork games Zork Anthology Zork trilogy Zork I   Zork II   Zork III Beyond Zork   Zork Zero   Planetfall Enchanter trilogy Enchanter   Sorcerer   Spellbreaker Other games Wishbringer   Return to Zork Zork: Nemesis   Zork Grand Inquisitor Zork: The Undiscovered Underground Topics in Zork Encyclopedia Frobozzica Characters   Kings   Creatures Timeline   Magic   Calendar... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... The exploding-bridgewire detonator (EBW, also known as exploding wire detonator) was invented by Luis Alvarez and Lawrence Johnston for the Fat Man-type bombs of the Manhattan Project, during their work in Los Alamos National Laboratory. ... Circuit symbol for a thyristor The thyristor is a solid-state semiconductor device with four layers of alternating N and P-type material. ... A thyratron is a type of gas filled tube used as a high energy electrical switch. ... Krytron is one of the earliest developments of the EG&G Corporation. ... Krytron is one of the earliest developments of the EG&G Corporation. ... A trigatron is a triggered spark gap switch designed for high current, high voltage, and high power (usually 20-100 kV and 20-100 kA, though devices in megaamphere range exist as well). ...


Visual entertainment

A Jacob's ladder (more formally, a high voltage traveling arc) is a device for producing a continuous train of large sparks which rise upwards. The spark gap is formed by two wires, approximately vertical but gradually diverging away from each other towards the top.


When high voltage is applied to the gap, a spark forms across the bottom of the wires where they are nearest each other, rapidly changing to an electric arc. Air breaks down at about 1MV/m (24kV/in), depending on humidity, temperature, etc. Apart from the anode and cathode voltage drops, the arc behaves almost as a short circuit, drawing as much current as the electrical power supply can deliver, and the heavy load dramatically reduces the voltage across the gap. Electricity arcs between the power rail and electrical pickup shoe on a London Underground train An electric arc is an electrical breakdown of a gas which produces an ongoing plasma discharge, similar to the instant spark, resulting from a current flowing through normally nonconductive media such as air. ... For alternate meanings see Short circuit (disambiguation) A short circuit (sometimes known as simply a short) is a fault whereby electricity moves through a circuit in an unintended path, usually due to a connection forming where none was expected. ... A wall wart style variable DC power supply with its cover removed. ... If an electric circuit has a well-defined output terminal, the circuit connected to this terminal (or its input impedance) is the load. ...


The heated, ionized air rises, carrying the current path with it. As the trail of ionization gets longer, it becomes more unstable, finally breaking. The voltage across the electrodes then rises and the spark re-forms at the bottom of the device.


This cycle leads to an exotic-looking display of electric white, yellow,blue or purple arcs which is often seen in movies about mad scientists. The device was a staple in schools and science fairs of the 1950s and 1960s, typically constructed out of a Model T spark coil, or any other source of high voltage in the 10,000 volt - 30,000 volt range, like a neon sign transformer or circuit (10-30 kV) or a television picture tube circuit (flyback transformer) (10-28 kV), and two coat hangers or rods built into a "V" shape. The sparks can burn through thin paper and plastic and start fires; contact with the exposed high voltage can be lethal. White is the color of things that reflect light of all parts of the visible spectrum equally and are not dull (see grey). ... Yellow is any color of light that stimulates both the red and green cone cells of the retina, but not the blue cone cells. ... The term Blue may refer any of a number of similar colors. ... The term purple in its widest sense refers to a wide variety of shades of color occurring between blue and red. ... Caucasian, male, aging, crooked teeth, messy hair, lab coat, spectacles/goggles, dramatic posing — one popular stereotype of a mad scientist. ... A science fair is generally a competition where contestants create a project related to science or some scientific phenomenon. ... The 1950s was the decade spanning from the 1st of January, 1950 to the 31st December, 1959. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... The ignition system of an internal-combustion engine is an important part of the overall engine system that provides for the timely burning of the fuel mixture within the engine. ... Neon Sign Transformers are iron-cored line powered (120/240 volts) high voltage transformers produced mainly for the purpose of powering Neon Signs. ... A flyback transformer or line output transformer (LOPT) is a type of transformer used to generate the high voltage needed for driving a cathode ray tube or picture tube. It converts the input voltage, usually mains voltage in the range 120 to 240 volts, to an output voltage in the...


Spark gaps in nature

Lightning is a large spark leaping between a cloud and the earth or between clouds. Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity, usually, but not always, during a rain storm. ... Cumulonimbus capillatus incus floating over Swifts Creek, Victoria in Australia A cloud is a visible mass of condensed droplets or frozen crystals suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of the Earth or another planetary body. ... Earth (IPA: , often referred to as the Earth, Terra, the World or Planet Earth) is the third planet in the solar system in terms of distance from the Sun, and the fifth largest. ...


See also

Wikibooks
Wikibooks has more about this subject:

Image File history File links Wikibooks-logo-en. ... Arcing horns are a pair of conductors (usually steel) used to protect insulators or insulator strings from damage due to system overvoltage conditions. ... In electricity, a corona discharge is an electrical discharge brought on by the ionization of a fluid surrounding a conductor, which occurs when the potential gradient exceeds a certain value, in situations where sparking (also known as arcing) is not favoured. ... Electricity arcs between the power rail and electrical pickup shoe on a London Underground train An electric arc is an electrical breakdown of a gas which produces an ongoing plasma discharge, similar to the instant spark, resulting from a current flowing through normally nonconductive media such as air. ... The ignition system of an internal-combustion engine is an important part of the overall engine system that provides for the timely burning of the fuel mixture within the engine. ... The ignition system of an internal-combustion engine is an important part of the overall engine system that provides for the timely burning of the fuel mixture within the engine. ... This is a list of communications, computers, electronic circuits, fiberoptics, microelectronics, medical electronics, reliablity, and semiconductors. ... A plasma arc loudspeaker or plasma-dynamic loudspeaker is a loudspeaker that creates sound by varying air pressure through a corona discharge or electric arc. ... This long range RADAR antenna, known as ALTAIR, is used to detect and track space objects in conjunction with ABM testing at the Ronald Reagan Test Site on the Kwajalein atoll[1]. RADAR is a system that uses radio waves to determine and map the location, direction, and/or speed... A typical spark transmitter circuit. ... This article or section should include material from Spark gap A spark plug is an electrical device that fits into the cylinder head of some internal combustion engines and ignites compressed aerosol gasoline by means of an electric spark. ... A Tesla coil is a category of disruptive discharge transformer coils, named after their inventor, Nikola Tesla. ... A vacuum arc arises when the surface of metal electrodes in contact with a good vacuum begin to emit electrons because of heating or through exceeding the metals Work function. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
YouTube - 1921 Spark Gap Transmitter / Ham Radio (570 words)
There is even a key and spark gap that museum visitors can interact with.
This is an operating reproduction exhibit I built of a 1921 spark gap transmitter used by Amateur Radio operator John Westcott, W8AGA.
It was built for a house museum where John once lived and operated his transmitter, but the museum reneged on its agreement with the radio club and the exhibit was never installed.
Trigger apparatus for spark gap dischargers - Patent 5465030 (1183 words)
An improved means for triggering high voltage spark gap devices for current injection and pulse power applications which utilizes the high voltage source itself to trigger the discharge.
When the spark gap is to be switched, a trigger pulse is applied between the trigger electrode and the dome electrode through which it protrudes.
When the spark gap discharge tube 12 is to be switched, a potential difference must be applied between the trigger electrode 20 and the primary electrode 14, thereby creating a spark which serves to break down or ionize the gas within the tube.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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