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Патент USA US2128862

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Aug. 30, 1938.
|__ TONKS
2,128,862
VAPOR ELECTRIC DISCHARGE DEVICE
Filed July 16, 1936
Inventor:
Lewi Tonks,
by W
i.
H is A torney.
2,128,862
Patented Aug. 30, 1938
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE
2,128,862
VAPOR ELECTRIC DISCHARGE DEVICE
Lewi Tonks, Schenectady, N. Y., assignor to Gen
eral Electric Company, a corporation of New
York
Application July 16, 1936, Serial No. 90,868
8 Claims. (Cl. 175-354)
The present invention relates to vapor electric
discharge devices, and more particularly to im
proved means for controlling the operation of
such devices.
5,
In my copending application, Serial No. 90,867,
filed July 13, 1936, and also assigned to the Gen
eral Electric Company, I have described and
claimed an improved means for anchoring the
cathode spot of a pool-type discharge device on a
10 rigid relatively invariable surface.
It is an object of the present invention to pro
vide in connection with such a spot-anchoring
device means whereby the properties of the de
vice may be advantageously utilized in controlling
15 the initiation of an arc discharge.
A further object of the invention consists in
the combination with a pool-type discharge de
vice having a cathode spot-anchoring means of
an excitation circuit which is operable inter
20 mittently to e?ect instantaneous control of the
device.
The features of novelty which I desire to pro~
tect herein are pointed out with particularity in
the appended claims. The invention itself, how
25 ever, both with respect to its construction and
mode of operation, together with- further objects
and advantages thereof, will best be understood
by reference to the following speci?cation taken
in connection with the drawing, in which Figs.
30 1 and 2 show in front and side elevation respec
tively a particular mode of application of the
invention, and Fig. 3 shows a preferred circuit
arrangement suitable for the effective utilization
of the discharge device of Fig. 1.
3.",
Referring particularly to Figs. 1 and 2 I have
illustrated a discharge device in which a cathode
‘spot-anchoring means may be advantageously
used in connection with means for controlling the
initiation of a discharge. As shown, this device
40 comprises an envelope l containing an anode 2,
for example of steel, a mercury pool cathode 3
and a spot-anchor l. The anchor 4 is prefer
ably constituted of the material described in my
property of retaining their wetness under varying
conditions and will resist disintegration even
after a considerable period of use in a discharge
device. As a result of the porosity of the an
choring body and of its ability to be wet by
mercury, it acts as a wick and develops su?icient
capillarity to draw mercury from the cathode
pool 3 to its upper exposed surface which thus
retains a thin ?lm of mercury during the opera
tion of the device. This mercury is effectively
immobilized in the sense of being unable to vary
in level or position after the manner of the main
cathode surface. Arranged in fixed relation to
the upper surface of the anchor l I provide a
10'
sparking electrode 8 comprising, in this instance,
a tapered strip of refractory conducting material,
for example, molybdenum having one edge there
of directed toward the upper surface of the an
chor. The various electrodes are furnished with
suitable lead-in conductors 8, 9 and Ill, respec
20
tively, for impressing desired potentials thereon.
The mode of utilization of a tube of this con
struction may be understood by reference to Fig.
3 in which I have illustrated a regulating circuit
adapted to modify the characteristics of. an alter 25
nating potential supplied from an input source It
to a load which is to be connected at H. Regula
tion is accomplished by means of two discharge
devices I and I’ corresponding to the device de
scribed in connection with Fig. 1. These are 30
connected in a manner well understood in the
art, so that one is adapted to conduct during
positive half cycles, while the other is capable
of conducting during negative half cycles. By
means more fully described in the following, each 35
device may be controlled so that it is conductive
during only a desired portion of a half cycle
rather than a full half cycle. In this way the
amount of power transmitted can be regulated
40
within close limits.
The control system for the two discharge de
vices is supplied with potential from the secondary
of a phase-shifting transformer IQ of known
construction, which potential is impressed be
aforementioned application, Serial No. 90,867.
tween the various sparking electrodes and the
45
The material therein described comprises car
burized cohering particles of a metal of the group corresponding anchoring bodies by means of a
suitable step-up transformer 20. Referring par
consisting of tantalum, tungsten and molybde
ticularly to the circuit associated with the dis
num, such particles being so combined as to pro
charge device I, the phase angle of the trans
duce a porous wick-like structure. These ma
former I! is so adjusted that the plates of the 50
50 terials may be wet with mercury in various ways,
condenser C connected to the sparking electrode
for example by heating to an elevated tempera
ture and plunging below [the mercury surface in 6 are cyclically charged through the resistor 23
in desired relation to the cyclical variations in
the presence of hydrogen, or of an inert atmos
phere. After once being completely immersed the potential impressed between the anode and
55 and impregnated with mercury, they have thev the cathode of the device. The adjustment is 65
Cross Reference
2,128,862
such that the condenser potential attains a value
sufficient to produce a sparking discharge through
the resistor R and from the electrode 8 to the
anchor 4 at a desired moment during the period
when the anode 2 is positive with respect to the
cathode 3. I have found it to be highly desir
able for consistent operation that the sparking
discharge be non-oscillatory and comprise a uni
directional pulse of current proceeding in the
10 positive sense from the sparking electrode to the
anchor body. This condition will be suf?ciently
ful?lled in the circuit of Fig. 3 when the resist
ance of 23 is roughly at least ten times the re
sistance of R and when the quantity 4iL/RFC is
less than about 4 where L is the self-inductance
of the sparking circuit in henries and R and C
are the values of the resistance R in ohms and of
the capacity of condenser C in farads respectively.
Otherwise expressed, the inductance of the cir
cuit should be less than the product of the capaci
tance of the condenser C and the square of the
resistance of the resistor R. It is also desirable
for consistent operation that the peak current
in the spark exceed approximately one-half am
pere and that the quantities L, C and R should
be so proportioned with respect to the breakdown
voltage of the spark gap that this condition is
attained.
It will be understood that the sparking circuit
30 associated with the discharge device I’ is identical
with that just described, except that the sparking
discharge is timed to occur substantially 180°
out-of-phase with that of the discharge device I.
In both these circuits, although the charging of
as in
the condenser C has been described as being
accomplished through the resistor 23, other cur
rent limiting devices such, for example, as a
thermionic tube of controllable unidirectional
conductivity may be used for this purpose.
In the foregoing I have referred to mercury
as an exemplary cathode material. It should be
latory.
4. In an electrical discharge device, an anode,
a cathode comprising a rigid body having a sur
face adapted to retain a quantity of mercury
thereon, and means for supplying mercury to
said surface, a sparking electrode in ?xed rela~
tion to said surface, means for impressing a
difference of potential between said anode and
said cathode, means for creating a discharge be
tween said electrode and said surface, said
means comprising a condenser, a circuit includ
ing a resistor for impressing the voltage of said 30
condenser between said electrode and said sur
face, and means for charging said condenser, the
inductance of said circuit being less than the
product of the capacitance of said condenser and
the square of the resistance of said resistor.
5. In an electrical discharge device, an anode,
a mercury pool cathode including a cathode spot
?xing body, a sparking electrode in ?xed relation
to said body, means for impressing a difference
of potential between said anode and said cathode, .
and means for creating a non-oscillatory dis
understood, however, that other liquid metals, for
charge between said electrode and said body
example, gallium, or sodium or cadmium when in
which discharge has a current intensity in ex
cess of about 0.5 amperes.
6. In combination, an anode, a cathode in
the liquid phase may alternatively be employed.
Furthermore, while I have shown particular
structural embodiments of my invention, it will
be understood that many modi?cations may be
made by those skilled in the art without depart
ing from the invention, and I aim by the appended
45
cluding a pool of liquid cathode material and
a rigid body having a switch-like discharge-re
ceiving surface which is adapted to retain a thin
?lm of liquid cathode material thereon, said sur
claims to cover all such modifications as fall
face being appreciably above the normal level ,
within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
of the pool, means supplying cathode material
to said surface to maintain said ?lm, a sparking
electrode positioned at a ?xed sparking distance
from said surface, means for energizing said
anode and cathode, and means including said
sparking electrode for controlling in a desired
manner the initiation of a discharge between the
anode and cathode upon the application of a
What I claim as new and desire to secure by
Letters Patent of the United States is:,
1. In an electrical discharge device, an anode,
a rigid body having a surface adapted to substan
tially immobilize a quantity of mercury thereon,
means for supplying mercury to said surface, a
sparking electrode in ?xed spaced relation to said
surface, means for impressing a di?'erence of
60 potential between said anode and said body, an
energizing circuit for producing a spark discharge
between said electrode and said surface, and
means associated with said circuit for causing
such discharge to be non-oscillatory.
65
variations of said discharge potential and means
in circuit with said energy source for causing said
discharge to be of a non-oscillatory character.
3. In an electrical discharge device, an anode, a
rigid body having a surface adapted to retain a
quantity of mercury thereon, means for supplying
mercury to said surface, a sparking electrode in
?xed relation to said surface, means for im
pressing a difference of potential between said
anode and said body, means for creating a dis
charge between said electrode and said surface,
said means comprising a condenser, a circuit in
cluding a resistor for impressing the voltage of
said condenser between said electrode and said
surface, and means for charging said condenser, 15
said condenser and said resistor being so propor~
i'ioned with respect to the inductance of said
circuit as to cause said discharge to be non-oscil
2. In an electrical discharge device, an anode,
a rigid body having a surface adapted substan
tially to immobilize a quantity of mercury there
on, means supplying mercury to said surface, a
sparking electrode in ?xed spaced relation to
70 said surface, means for impressing a cyclically
varying discharge potential between said anode
and said body, means including an energy source
for cyclically creating a spark discharge from said‘
electrode to said surface, said last-named means
75 being operable in predetermined relation to the
favorable potential between them, said last
named means comprising an energizing circuit
operable intermittently in response to a control
ling infiuence to create a spark discharge be
tween said electrode and said body.
7. In combination, an anode, a cathode includ
ing a pool of liquid cathode material, a porous 65
wick-like body in contact with the cathode ma
terial and having an exposed surface appreciably
above the normal level of the pool, said body
acting by caplllarity to maintain a ?lm of cathode
material on said surface, a sparking electrode 70
disposed at a ?xed distance from said surface,
means for energizing said anode and cathode,
and means including said sparking electrode for
controlling in a desired manner the initiation of
discharge between the anode and cathode upon
2,128,882
the application of a favorable potential between
them, said last named means comprising an en
ergizing circuit operable intermittently in re
sponse to a controlling in?uence to create a spark
discharge between said electrode and said body.
8. In combination, an anode, a cathode includ
ing a pool of liquid cathode material, a porous
wick-like body in contact with the cathode mate
rial and having an exposed surface appreciably
10 above the normal level of the pool, said body act
3
material on said surface, a sparking electrode
disposed at a ?xed distance from said surface,
means for impressing a cyclically varying dis
charge potential between the main anode and
cathode, and means for cyclically creating a spark 5
discharge between said sparking electrode and
said body, said last named means being operable
in predetermined relation to the cyclical varia
tions of said discharge potential.
ing by capillarity to maintain a ?lm of cathode
LEWI TONKS.
CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION .
Patent No. 2,128 ,862.
‘August 30, 1958.
LEwI TONKS.
It is hereby certified that error appears in the printed specification
of the above numbered patent requiring correction as follows: Page 2, second
column, line 14.7, claim 6, for "snitch-like" readwick-like; and that the
said Letters Patent shouldbe read with this correction therein that the
same may conform to the record of the case in the Patent office.
Signed and sealed this 25th day of October, A. D. 1958.
Henry Van Arsdale
(Seal)
Acting Commissioner of Patents.
2,128,882
the application of a favorable potential between
them, said last named means comprising an en
ergizing circuit operable intermittently in re
sponse to a controlling in?uence to create a spark
discharge between said electrode and said body.
8. In combination, an anode, a cathode includ
ing a pool of liquid cathode material, a porous
wick-like body in contact with the cathode mate
rial and having an exposed surface appreciably
10 above the normal level of the pool, said body act
3
material on said surface, a sparking electrode
disposed at a ?xed distance from said surface,
means for impressing a cyclically varying dis
charge potential between the main anode and
cathode, and means for cyclically creating a spark 5
discharge between said sparking electrode and
said body, said last named means being operable
in predetermined relation to the cyclical varia
tions of said discharge potential.
ing by capillarity to maintain a ?lm of cathode
LEWI TONKS.
CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION .
Patent No. 2,128 ,862.
‘August 30, 1958.
LEwI TONKS.
It is hereby certified that error appears in the printed specification
of the above numbered patent requiring correction as follows: Page 2, second
column, line 14.7, claim 6, for "snitch-like" readwick-like; and that the
said Letters Patent shouldbe read with this correction therein that the
same may conform to the record of the case in the Patent office.
Signed and sealed this 25th day of October, A. D. 1958.
Henry Van Arsdale
(Seal)
Acting Commissioner of Patents.
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