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Encyclopedia > Thyratron

A thyratron is a type of gas filled tube used as a high energy electrical switch. Triode, Tetrode and Pentode variations of the thyratron have been manufactured in the past, though most are of the triode design. Gases used include mercury vapor, xenon, neon, and (in special high-voltage applications or applications requiring very short switching times) hydrogen. Unlike a vacuum tube, a thyratron cannot be used to amplify signals linearly. Gas filled tubes are arrangements of electrodes in a gas within an insulating, temperature-resistant envelope. ... Electrical switches. ... Simplified diagram of a triode. ... A tetrode is a two-grid vacuum tube. ... In electronics, a vacuum tube (American English) or (thermionic) valve (British English) is a device generally used to amplify a signal. ... General Name, Symbol, Number mercury, Hg, 80 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 12, 6, d Appearance silvery white Atomic mass 200. ... General Name, Symbol, Number xenon, Xe, 54 Chemical series noble gases Group, Period, Block 18, 5, p Appearance colorless Atomic mass 131. ... General Name, Symbol, Number neon, Ne, 10 Chemical series noble gases Group, Period, Block 18, 2, p Appearance colorless Atomic mass 20. ... General Name, Symbol, Number hydrogen, H, 1 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 1, 1, s Appearance colorless Atomic mass 1. ... In electronics, a vacuum tube (U.S. and Canadian English) or (thermionic) valve (outside North America) is a device generally used to amplify, or otherwise modify, a signal by controlling the movement of electrons in an evacuated space. ... Generally, an amplifier is any device that uses a small amount of energy to control a larger amount of energy. ...

Giant GE hydrogen thyratron, used in pulsed radars, next to miniature 2D21 thyratron used to trigger relays in jukeboxes
Giant GE hydrogen thyratron, used in pulsed radars, next to miniature 2D21 thyratron used to trigger relays in jukeboxes

Thyratrons evolved in the 1920s from early vacuum tubes such as the UV-200, which contained a small amount of argon gas to increase its sensitivity as a radio signal detector; and the German LRS Relay tube, which also contained argon gas. Gas rectifiers which predated vacuum tubes, such as the argon-filled General Electric "Tungar bulb" and the Cooper-Hewitt mercury pool rectifier, also provided an influence. A thyratron is basically a "controlled gas rectifier". Irving Langmuir and G. S. Meikle of GE are usually cited as the first investigators to study controlled rectification in gas tubes, circa 1914. The first commercial thyratrons didn't appear until circa 1928. Large and small thyratrons - photo by Eric Barbour This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Large and small thyratrons - photo by Eric Barbour This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... GE redirects here. ... 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... Automotive style miniature relay A relay is an electrical switch that opens and closes under control of another electrical circuit. ... For other uses, see Jukebox (disambiguation) A jukebox is a partially automated music-playing device, usually a coin-operated machine, that can play specially selected songs from self-contained media. ... In electronics, a vacuum tube (U.S. and Canadian English) or (thermionic) valve (outside North America) is a device generally used to amplify, or otherwise modify, a signal by controlling the movement of electrons in an evacuated space. ... See: Sensitivity (electronics) Sensitivity (human) Sensitivity (tests) For sensitivity in finance, see beta coefficient This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... AC, half-wave and full wave rectified signals A rectifier is an electrical device, comprising one or more semiconductive devices (such as diodes) or vacuum tubes arranged for converting alternating current to direct current. ... Peter Cooper Hewitt (May 5, 1861 - August 25, 1921) was an American electrical engineer, who demonstrated the mercury-vapor lamp for which he deposited a patent. ... A mercury arc valve is a type of electrical rectifier which converts alternating current into direct current. ... Irving Langmuir -- chemist and physicist Irving Langmuir (January 31, 1881 in Brooklyn, New York - August 16, 1957 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts) was an American chemist and physicist. ...


A typical hot-cathode thyratron uses a heated filament cathode, completely contained within a shield assembly with a control grid on one open side, which faces the plate-shaped anode. When positive voltage is applied to the anode, if the control electrode is kept at cathode potential, no current flows. When the control electrode is made slightly positive, gas between the anode and cathode ionizes and conducts current. The shield prevents ionized current paths that might form within other parts of the tube. The gas in a thyratron is typically at a fraction of the pressure of air at sea level; 15 to 30 millibars (1.5 to 3 kPa) is typical. Filaments surrounding a solar flare, caused by the interaction of the plasma in the Suns atmopshere with its magnetic field. ... Diagram of a copper cathode in a Daniells cell. ... The control grid is an electrode used in thermionic valves (vacuum tubes) used to modulate the flow of electrons in the cathode to anode or plate circuit. ... Diagram of a zinc anode in a Daniells cell. ... now. ...


Both hot and cold cathode versions are encountered. A hot cathode is an advantage, as ionization of the gas is made easier; thus, the tube's control electrode is more sensitive. Once turned on, the thyratron will remain on (conducting) as long as there is a significant current flowing through it. When the anode voltage or current falls to zero, the device switches off. Note: Principles are mostly the same for cold cathode ion sources as in particle accelerators to create electrons. ...


Small thyratrons were manufactured in the past for controlling electromechanical relays and for industrial applications such as motor and arc-welding controllers. Large thyratrons are still manufactured, and are capable of operation up to tens of kiloamperes (kA) and tens of kilovolts (kV). A multimeter can be used to measure current The ampere (symbol: A) is the SI base unit of electric current. ... Josephson junction array chip developed by NIST as a standard volt. ...


Modern applications include pulse drivers for pulsed radar equipment, high-energy gas lasers, radiotherapy devices, and in Tesla coils and similar devices. Thyratrons are also used in high-power UHF television transmitters, to protect inductive output tubes from internal shorts, by grounding the incoming high-voltage supply during the time it takes for a circuit breaker to open and reactive components to drain their stored charges. This is commonly called a "crowbar" circuit. 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... // Experiment using a (likely argon) laser. ... Radiation therapy (or radiotherapy) is the medical use of ionizing radiation as part of cancer treatment to control malignant cells (not to be confused with radiology, the use of radiation in medical imaging and diagnosis). ... A Tesla coil is a category of disruptive discharge transformer coils, named after their inventor, Nikola Tesla. ... This article is about the radio frequency. ... Antenna tower of Crystal Palace transmitter, London A transmitter (sometimes abbreviated XMTR) is an electronic device which with the aid of an antenna propagates an electromagnetic signal such as radio, television, or other telecommunications. ... The inductive output tube or IOT is a variety of vacuum tube which evolved in the 1980s to meet increasing efficiency requirements for high-power RF amplifiers. ... 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 2 pole MCB A circuit breaker is an automatically-operated electrical switch which is designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or short circuit. ... A Crowbar is an electrical circuit, usually used to prevent overvoltage from a power supply unit from damaging some downstream circuit. ...


Thyratrons have been replaced in most low and medium-power applications by corresponding semiconductor devices known as Thyristors (sometimes called Silicon Controlled Rectifiers, or SCRs) and Triacs. However, switching service requiring voltages above 20 kV and involving very short risetimes remains within the domain of the thyratron. Variations of the thyratron idea are the krytron, the sprytron, the ignitron, and the triggered spark gap, all still used today in special applications. Circuit symbol for a thyristor The thyristor is a solid-state semiconductor device with four layers of alternating N and P-type material. ... A triac is an electronic component approximately equivalent to two silicon controlled rectifiers (SCRs/thyristors) joined in inverse-parallel (paralleled but with the polarity reversed) and with their gates connected together. ... Krytron is one of the earliest developments of the EG&G Corporation. ... Krytron is one of the earliest developments of the EG&G Corporation. ... An ignitron is a type of controlled rectifier dating from the 1930s. ... A spark plug. ...


See also

An ignitron is a type of controlled rectifier dating from the 1930s. ... Krytron is one of the earliest developments of the EG&G Corporation. ... Circuit symbol for a thyristor The thyristor is a solid-state semiconductor device with four layers of alternating N and P-type material. ... The Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor combines the simple gate drive characteristics of the MOSFET with the high current and low saturation voltage capability of bipolar transistors by combining an isolated gate FET for the control input, and a bipolar power transistor as a switch, in a single device. ...

External links

References:

  • Stokes, John, 70 Years of Radio Tubes and Valves, Vestal Press, NY, 1982, pp. 111-115.
  • Thrower, Keith, History of the British Radio Valve to 1940, MMA International, 1982, p. 30, 31, 81.
  • Hull, A. W., "Gas-Filled Thermionic Valves", Trans. AIEE, 47, 1928, pp. 753-763.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Thyratron Modulator (205 words)
The hydrogen THYRATRON MODULATOR is an electronic switch which requires a positive
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is applied to the control grid of the thyratron (V2) and instantaneous firing is obtained.
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We also develop and manufacture support circuits for closing tubes including Thyratrons and Ignitrons (Thyratron drivers and Ignitron drivers).
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Our thyratron drivers are available in styles with DC or pulsed preionization or without preionization.
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