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Патент USA US2106524

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Jane 25, 1938.
A. GAUDENZI
2,106,524
ELECTRON DISCHARGE DEVICE CONTROL SYSTEM
Filed Janv 11, 1934
2 Sheets-Sheet l
i
Jan. 25, 1938.
A. GAUDENZI
2,106,524 '
ELECTRON DISCHARGE DEVICE CONTROL SYSTEM
Filed Jan. 11, 1934
2 Sheets-Sheet 2
Patented Jan. 25, 1938
2,10a5z4
uurrso STATES
PATENT OFFICE
2,106,524
ELECTRON DISCHARGE DEVICE CONTROL
SYSTEM
Arthur Gaudenzi, Baden, Switzerland, assignor
to Aktiengesellschaft Brown Boveri & Cie,
Baden, Switzerland, a joint-stock company of
Switzerland
Application January 11, 1934, Serial No.‘ 706,189
In Germany January 20, 1933
9 Claims.
This invention relates in general to the control
of electron discharge devices and more particu
larly to means for initiating the ?ow of current
though the anodes of an electron discharge de
vice of which the cathode is not continuously
maintained in an electron emitting condition.
In electron discharge devices not provided with
means for continuously exciting the cathode, it
is necessary to establish the electron emitting
10 condition of the cathode every time the ?ow of
current is to occur therethrough and, if the de
vice is provided with a plurality of anodes carry
ing current in nonconsecutive sequence, it is like
wise necessary to establish the electron emitting
15 condition of the cathode every time the flow of
current though each anode is to be initiated. It
is not generally desirable nor even possible to use
mechanical means to obtain such result, and it
is preferred to cause electron emission at the
cathode by impressing a suitable electromotive
force between the cathode and another electrode
which may be one of the main anodes oi? the de
vice. It is then desirable to reduce the dielectric
strength of the space adjacent the cathode while
r maintaining a space of high dielectric strength
between the anodes to thereby facilitate the
establishment of the discharge between an
anode and a cathode while preventing the estab
lishment of a discharge between anodes. In elec
30 tron discharge devices of the vapor type, such re
suit is preferably obtained by increasing the vapor
density in the neighborhood or‘ the cathode by
means of a blast of vaporized operating ?uid.
It is, therefore, among the objects of the pres
ent invention to provide a control system for an
electron discharge device of the vapor type in
which the cathode is not continuously main
tained in an electron emitting condition.
Another object of the present invention is to
40 provide a control system for an electron discharge
device of the vapor type whereby the cathode is
brought to conductive condition each time the
flow of current is to be initiated through‘ an anode.
Another object of the present invention is to
provide a control system for an electron dis
charge device of the vapor type in which the di
electric strength of the space adjacent the oath
ode is maintained at a low value.
Another object of the present invention is to
(Cl. 175-363)
above described will be apparent, from the follow
ing description when read in connection with the
accompanying drawings, in which:
Fig. 1 diagrammatically illustrates one em
bodiment of the present invention applied to the
control of a group of electric valves utilized for
transmitting energy between an alternating cur
rent line and a direct current line and in which
the ?ow of anode currents are initiated by im
pressing potential impulses on the anodes;
10
Fig. 2 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of a
portion of the cathode and of the ?uid vaporiz
ing means utilized in the several embodiments of
the invention herein illustrated and described;
Fig. 3 diagrammatically illustrates a portion of. 15
a modi?ed embodiment of the present invention
in which the anode currents of a polyphase dis
charge device are initiated by impressing poten
tial impulses on control electrodes and on an
auxiliary anode of the device; and
20
Fig. 4 diagrammatically illustrates another
modi?ed embodiment of the present invention
differing from the embodiment illustrated in Fig.
3 in that the auxiliary anode of the device re
ceives potential impulses only when the current 25
?owing through the device is below a predeter
mined limit.
Referring more particularly to the drawings by
characters of reference, reference numeral 6 des~
ignates a three phase alternating current line
which is utilized either as supply circuit or as
output circuit in the several embodiments herein
illustrated and described, being associated with
electric valve means utilized for converting cur
rent between line 6 and a direct current line 1, 8.
Line 6 is, accordingly, connected with a supply
transformer 9 having a secondary winding con
nected with direct current conductor ‘I’ either
directly or through an interphase transformer l I.
The secondary winding of transformer 9 comprises 40
a plurality of phase displaced portions severally
connected with the anodes 12 of a plurality of
electron discharge devices generally designated by
l3, each having a cathode l4 connected with di
rect current conductor 8. The valves may be of 45
any suitable construction in which the ?ow of
current occurs through a gas or vapor at suitable
pressure, and may be provided with the usual
50 provide a control system for an electron dis
cooling and evacuating means which may be indi- vidual to each valve or which may be common to 50
charge device of the vapor type in which the flow
of current through each anode is initiated by a
source other than the source of supply of the
device.
Objects and advantages, other than those
55
the several valves. As diagrammatically illus
trated in the drawings, the anode of each valve
may be associated with an arc guide of such
shape as to avoid projection of cathode material
on the anode or into the space adjacent thereto.
2
2,108,524
Each anode is connected with a segment of a dis
energization of the anodes, however, occurs at po
tributor I6 having a brush connected with con
tentials which are not sufficient to cause the flow
ductor 8 through a capacitor I'I. Each of the
segments of distributor I6 connected with an
of current between the anodes and the associ
anode is adjacent another segment connected
with the positive terminal of a source of direct
current such as a generator I8 having the nega
tive terminal thereof connected with conductor
8. The brush of distributor I6 is operated in rela
10 tion to the voltage cycle of line 6 in any suit
able manner such as, for instance, by means of a
synchronous motor I9 energized from line B. The
engagement of the brush with the several seg
ments of the distributor may be adjusted with
15 respect to the voltage cycle of line 6 by move
ment of a lever 20 by means of which the seg
ated cathodes to be established. Motor I9
drives the brush of distributor iii to repeatedly
charge capacitor I‘! from generator I8 and to
sequentially discharge the capacitor through the
several valves by severally connecting the ter
minals thereof with the anodes of the valves.
Lever 20 is so adjusted that each anode is mo 10
mentarily connected with capacitor I? to re
ceive a potential impulse therefrom while re
ceiving, from transformer 9, a potential higher
than the potentials of the other anodes. The
potential impressed on the anode by capacitor
I‘! is so chosen that the space adjacent the as
ments may be spatially displaced.
In the present embodiment, it is assumed that
the operating ?uid of the valves is mercury vapor
20 and that cathode I4 is constituted by a body of
mercury in the liquid state. As is more clearly
illustrated in Fig. 2, vaporized mercury is pro
duced in a boiler 2I provided with suitable heat
sociated cathode is thereby stressed beyond its
ing means such as a heating resistor 22 ener
25 gized from a battery 23 or other suitable source
respect to the associated cathode as a result of
of potential. The boiler communicates with the
well or container portion 24 for the liquid mer
cury by means of a pair of pipes 26 and 21 con
stituting an exhaust passage for vaporized mer
former 9 or of the initiation of the discharge
of current is thereby released from transformer
9 through the anode to the cathode and such ?ow
continues until the anode becomes negative with
the variable energization thereof‘ from trans
through another of the anodes.
Such sequence of operation is repeated for
each valve during the voltage cycle of line‘ 6 to
cury from the boiler and a return passage for con
cause a ?ow of recti?ed current to occur through ill)
densed mercury respectively.
conductors ‘I and 8. The output voltage of the
The joints be
tween the several portions of the structure are
of any suitable kind providing a gas tight con
nection therebetween and are preferably obtained
' by welding. It will be understood that the boiler
may be covered with heat insulating material
and that the well 24 will generally be provided
with a suitable water jacket. Pipe 26 is provided
with a nozzle portion 28 to project the mercury
40 vapor into the space above and adjacent the liquid
cathode. The nozzle may project above the level
of cathode I4, but it was found that the nozzle
could be operated even when immersed under
a material height of mercury. Pipe 21 is pro
vided with an elbow portion 29 to constitute a
siphon to return condensed mercury from cath
ode I4 into boiler 2|. Nozzle 28 and elbow 29
are preferably made of refractory material, such
as tungsten or quartz, which is not affected by
50 the mercury vapor or by liquid mercury.
If
members 28 and 29 are made of refractory metal
they may serve as point of attachment for the
discharge whereby the ?ow of current through
the valve may be rendered more stable.
en J!
dielectric strength, electronic emission is es
tablished at the cathode and a discharge occurs
between the anode and the cathode. The ?ow
In operation, the space adjacent the cathode
of each valve receives a blast of operating vapor
from the associated boiler of such intensity as
to cause such space to have a dielectric strength
materially lower than the dielectric strength of
60 the remainder of the space within the valve.
As a result of such adjustment, upon impression
of a suitable electromotive force between each
anode and the associated cathode, an electron
emission will occur at the cathode by production of
a so-called cathode spot Whereas an electron
emission cannot be established at the anode. Al
though the fiow of current between the anode and
the cathode can therefore be initiated upon im
pression of a relatively low potential on the
anode, such potential will not cause a loss of the
valve action of the device or back?re.
Assuming that energy is to be transmitted from
line 6 to line ‘I, 8, line 6 supplies current to trans
former 9 which impresses potentials on the
anodes of the valves in recurring sequence. Such
system may be varied by adjustment of lever 20,
such adjustment causing the flow of current
through each anode to be initiated at a variable
time of the voltage cycle of line 6.
of current through each anode is initiated at
times later than a predetermined time interval
before reversal of the voltage impressed on such
anode by the transformer, the flow of current
through the anode will cease before a ?ow of '5
current is initiated through the succeeding anode
and the ?ow of current through the system is
discontinuous. If the times of energization of the
anodes from capacitor I‘! are advanced, the ?ow
of current becomes continuous and the periods
of operation of the several anodes may even
overlap as in systems utilizing an interphase
transformer II.
In a system operating as above described,
boiler 2| reduces the dielectric strength of the »
vapor within the space adjacent each cathode
by producing a relatively high vapor density
within such space by means of vaporized operat
ing fluid previously condensed Within the valve.
Capacitor I1 and distributor I6 constitute means -'
for sequentially impressing potentials on the
anodes of such sign and magnitude as to cause
initiation of discharges between the anodes and
the cathode and at such recurring intervals as to
release the flow of current between line 6 and
line ‘I, 8, sequentially through the several valves.
Distributor I6 is controlled in response to an op
erating condition of the valves which is the fre
quency of the voltage of line 6 as also is the
operation of the brush of distributor I6 from
motor I9.
In the embodiment illustrated in Fig. 3, the
several valves are replaced by a single electron
discharge device 3| provided with a cathode 32
similar to cathode 24 and associated with boiler “
2I in the manner above described. In the pres
ent embodiment, each anode I2 is associated with
a control electrode as designated at 33 connected
through resistors such as 34 and 36 with the
negative terminal of a source of potential such 75
2,106,524
as a battery 31 having the positive terminals
thereof connected with conductor 8. A second
battery 38 has the negative terminal thereof con
nected with conductor 8 and is sequentially con
nected with the several control electrodes through
a second distributor 39 and resistors 34.
Dis
tributor 39 is provided with a brush preferably
driven by motor | 9, and the operation thereof
may be adjusted by means of lever 4|.
In the present embodiment, generator I8 is re
placed by a rectifying device 44 connected with
line 6 through a transformer 43, such system
constituting a convenient means for obtaining
the high potential difference which may be neces
15 sary for charging capacitor H.
The discharge
segments of distributor | 6 may be interconnected
and connected with an auxiliary anode 42 of
device 3|, such anode being preferably within
the space to be brought to low dielectric strength
20 adjacent the cathode to facilitate the initiation
of a discharge between the anodes and the oath
ode. The energization of resistor 22 from bat
tery 23 may be controlled by relays 5| and 52
operating in response to the vapor density at a
25 suitable point of device 3|, for instance, in the
neighborhood of anode 42. Such result is ob
tained by connecting, at such point, a suitable
pressure measuring device such as a system com
prising a pair of resistors 46 and 41 arranged to
be subjected to such pressure and cooperating
with a pair of resistors 48 and 49 arranged in
space at atmospheric pressure, such resistors
forming a Wheatstone bridge energized from bat
tery 23 for impressing, on relays 5| and 52, volt
35 ages depending on the vapor pressure about re
sistors 46 and 41.
In the absence of distributor I6 and anode 42,
the flow of current through the several anodes is
released by the impression of a positive potential
40 from battery 38 on the several control electrodes
33, each control electrode momentarily operating
as an anode receiving, from battery 38, a potential
of su?icient magnitude to cause breakdown of
the dielectric within the space between such con
45 trol electrode and the cathode and establishment
of a cathode spot at the cathode.
As in the
embodiment illustrated in Fig. 1, the flow of
current through the several anodes may be over
lapping, consecutive or discontinuous. If dis
50 tributor | 6 and anode 42 are present, the cathode
spot is established by the joint action of the dis—
charges at the control electrodes and at anode 42.
If the flows of current through the several anodes
overlap or are consecutive, the cathode spot will
55 remain irrespective of the action of the control
electrodes and of anode 42. Under either con
dition of operation the output voltage of the sys
tem will be regulated by adjustment of lever 4|
to vary the time in the voltage cycle at which
60 each control electrode releases the ?ow of current
through the associated anode. In general, it will
be advantageous to initiate the discharge simul
taneously through anode 42 and one of the con
trol electrodes but such adjustment may be de
65 parted from by separately adjusting levers 20
and 4|.
If the vapor density in the space adjacent anode
42 is insuf?cient, a large potential difference is
impressed on the coils of relays 5| and 52 which
70 close the contacts thereof to effect direct connec
tion of resistor 22 with battery 23. When the
vapor density reaches a predetermined value the
potential impressed on the coils of the relays
decreases to an extent such that relay 52 operates
76 to insert a resistor in series with resistor 22. If
3
the vapor density increases further, relay 5| will
operate to completely deenergize resistor 22. In
such a manner a substantially uniform vapor
density may be maintained in the space adjacent
anode 42 and cathode 32 irrespective of the mag
nitude of the flow of current through device 3|.
The operation of boiler 2|, which constitutes
means for reducing the dielectric strength of the
vapor within the space adjacent cathode 22, is
thus controlled in response to an operating con
10
dition of device 3|, such condition being the vapor
density at any selected point thereof.
In the embodiment illustrated in Fig. 4, the
control electrodes are again generally maintained
negative with respect to cathode 32 by means of 15
a battery 31 but the potential impulses initiating
discharges from the control electrodes and anode
42 to the cathode are supplied from a high fre
quency source such as a synchronous generator
53 driven by motor l9.
Generator 53 is preferably 20
connected between conductor 8 and the brush of
distributor 39 to impress a comparatively low
potential on the control electrodes and is prefer~
ably connected with anode 42 through a step-up
transformer 54. As is well known, when the flow 25
of current through a device such as device 3|
falls to a low value the cathode spot is not cer-'
tain to be maintained although the anode currents
may be consecutive or even overlap. Such cath~
ode spot must therefore be reestablished at every 80
operating period of the anodes, preferably by the
combined action of the control electrode and of
anode 42. When the current is at a higher value
the action of control electrode 42 may be omitted
and such anode is, accordingly, connected with 35
transformer 54 through an auxiliary electric
valve 56. Valve 56 is provided with a control
electrode receiving a bias potential from a battery
51 of such sign and magnitude as to render the
valve conductive, and receiving a negative poten 40
tial varying in response to the magnitude of the
flow of current through device 3|. To obtain
such result, the cathode of valve 56 may be con
nected with battery 51 through a resistor 6| re
ceiving current from a current transformer 58
inserted in the connection of line 6 with trans
former 9, through a rectifying device 59 and a
smoothing reactor 62. When the flow of current
through device 3| is at a low value, valve
is
maintained conductive by the action of battery
51. When the ?ow of current through device 3|
increases above a predetermined value the con
trol electrode of valve 56 is brought to a potential
such that valve 56 becomes non-conductive and
the anode 42 is thereby made inoperative. The
transformer 54, which constitutes a source of
potential connected between electrode 42 and
cathode 32 to initiate a discharge therebetween,
is thus controlled in response to an operating
condition of device 3| which is the magnitude of
the flow of current therethrough.
Although but a few embodiments of the present
invention have been illustrated and described,
it will be apparent to those skilled in the art
that various changes and modi?cations may be
made therein without departing from the spirit
of the invention or from the scope of the ap
pended claims.
It is claimed and desired to secure by Letters
Patent:
1. In combination, electron discharge means of
the condensable vapor type- having ?xed elec
trodes including an anode and a cathode, means
for vaporizing operating ?uid condensed within
said discharge means, means for introducing the
45
50
55
60
4
2,106,524
Vaporized ?uid within the space adjacent the
cathode to decrease the dielectric strength of
such space, a source of potential connected be
tween one of the electrodes and the cathode to
UK initiate a discharge therebetween, and a second
charges, means for continually connecting the
?rst said source of current with said auxiliary
anode to cause discharges therefrom to said
cathode during such moments relative to the
voltage frequency of the second said source of
current as to cause the ?ow of current sequen
source of potential connected between the anode
and the cathode to cause a ?ow of current to
occur therebetween upon initiation of the dis
tially through said main anodes to said cathode,
and means operable responsive to and in de
charge from the ?rst said source, and means
pendence on the vapor pressure within said de
vice for controlling the operation of the ?rst
10 responsive to an operating condition within said
discharge means controlling the second said
said means.
means.
6. The combination with an electron discharge
device comprising an evacuated chamber con
2. In a system for transmitting energy be
tween electric circuits comprising a polyphase
inductive winding and a vapor type electron dis
taining an electrode of vaporizable material, of
means for vaporizing material of said electrode
charge device cooperating therewith for inter
connecting said circuits, said discharge device
to reduce the dielectric strength of the space
thereabout, and means operable responsive to
having anodes each associated with a control
electrode, an auxiliary anode and a cathode,
porized material for controlling the operation
means for reducing the dielectric strength of the
space adjacent said cathode, and means for se
quentially impressing potentials on the control
electrodes and intermittently on said auxiliary
anode of such signs and magnitudes as to cause
initiation of discharges between the anodes and
the cathode and at such recurring intervals as
to release the ?ow of current between said cir
cuits sequentially through said anodes.
3. In combination, electron discharge means
30. of the low pressure vapor type having ?xed elec—
trodes including an anode and a cathode, means
for reducing the dielectric strength of the space
adjacent the cathode, a source of potential con
nected between one of the electrodes and the
cathode to initiate a discharge therebetween, and
a second source of potential connected between
the anode and the cathode to cause a flow of cur
rent to occur therebetween upon initiation of the
discharge from the ?rst said source, and means
40 responsive to an operating condition within said
discharge means for controlling the action of
the ?rst said source.
4. The combination with an electron discharge
device comprising a main anode, an auxiliary
45 anode and a cathode of vaporizable material,
of means for vaporizing material of said cath
ode to reduce the dielectric strength of the space
thereabout, means comprising a source of cur
rent connected with said auxiliary anode and
cathode for initiating discharges therebetween, a
second source of current connected with said
main anode and said cathode to cause a flow of
current therebetween upon initiation of said dis
charge, and means operable responsive to and in
dependence on the vapor pressure within said
device for controlling the action of the ?rst said
means.
5. The combination with an electron discharge
device comprising a plurality of main anodes, an
auxiliary anode and a cathode, of means for
vaporizing material of said cathode to reduce
the dielectric strength of the space thereabout,
means comprising a source of current for ex
citing said auxiliary anode, a source of alter
nating current having connections with said
main anodes and said cathode to cause ?ow of
current therebetween upon initiation of said dis
and in dependence on the pressure of said va
20
of the ?rst said means.
7. The combination with an electron discharge
device comprising an evacuated chamber con
taining an electrode of vaporizable material, of
means for vaporizing material of said electrode
to reduce the dielectric strength of the space
thereabout, and means operable responsive to
and in dependence on the pressure of said va
porized material for varying the operation of the
?rst said means, to thereby control the rate of
vaporization of said material.
8. The combination with an electron discharge
device comprising an evacuated chamber con
taining an electrode of vaporizable material, of
means comprising a source of current and an
element heated thereby for vaporizing material
of said electrode to reduce the dielectric strength
of the space thereabout, means comprising an
electric bridge having an arm thereof variable
responsive to and in dependence on variations
in the pressure of said vaporized material, and 40
means operable responsive to said variations of
said arm for varying the connections of said
source with the ?rst said means, whereby the
pressure of said vaporized material is controlled.
9. The combination with electron discharge 45
means of the low pressure vapor type compris
ing a cathode and a plurality of electrodes in
cluding an anode, a control electrode, and an
ignition anode severally disposed in ?xed spaced
relation, of means other than said electrodes for
reducing the dielectric strength of the space ad
jacent said cathode, a source of potential con
nected with said ignition anode and cathode op
erable to cause a discharge to be initiated there
between upon occurrence of said reduction of
the dielectric strength adjacent said cathode, a
second source of potential connected with said
control electrode and cathode operable to cause
a discharge to be initiated therebetween re-l
sponsive to the said discharge between said igni
tion anode and cathode, and a source of poten
tial connected with the ?rst said anode and cath
ode operable to cause a flow of current to be
initiated therebetween responsive to the said
discharge between said control electrode and
cathode.
ARTHUR GAUDENZI,
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