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24, 1946.
c__ M, SLACK
AL
2,408,004_
CONSTANT VOLTAGE'FIELD EMIssIoN-ARc DISCHARGE'DEVICE
Filed Sept. 2e,._1942' '
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~2 Sheets-Sheet‘ 1 .'
Patented Sept. 24, 1946
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2,408,004
UNITED STATES. PATENT OFFICE
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2,408,004"
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‘ CONSTANT VOLTAGE FIEIlD'EMISSION AR
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DISCHARGE DEVICE’
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Charles M. Slack,‘ Glen Ridge,‘-and Clarence E.
Dawley and Andrew Pfei?fer, Bloom?eld, N. J .,
assignors to Westinghouse Electric Corpora- _
tion, East Pittsburgh, Pa., a corporation of
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Pennsylvania
Application September 26, 1942, Serial No. 459,777 '
aciaims. (01. 315-357‘) ,
1
The present invention relates to discharge de
vices and more particularly to such devices.
wherein operation is initiated by a “?eld emis
In the copending- applications of Charles‘ M.
Slack et al., Ser. No. 459,775, and John H. Findlay
et al., serial No. 459,776, both ?led concurrently
sion” arc discharge as an electron; source.
herewith and assignedhto the same assignee as
the present invention, various structures are
shown and claimed for maintaining the elec
A device of this character is fully shown and
described in the copending application of Charles
cation, in the operation of devices of this char
acter ?eld emission of electrons occurs between
trode spacing and’ hence the initiating voltage
substantially. constant during the useful life of
the, device. Although such structures operate
satisfactorily, they are subject to the disadvan-.
tage that they are dependent on the human ele
a pair of “cold” electrodes due to the high poten
ment by requiring manipulation by an operator.
M. Slack et al., Serial No. 412,566, ?led Sept. 27,
1941, and assigned to the same assignee as the
present invention. As pointed out in this appli
It islaccordingly an object of the present‘ in
vention to provide a discharge‘ device wherein
which causes a minute arc discharge to form 15 operation is initiated by a “?eld emission arc”
and the spacing between the ignition electrodes is
between the starting electrode and the cathode,
automatically maintained substantially constant
apparently due to evolved metallic particles, and
throughout’ the useful life of the device.
the positive ion bombardment caused by ioniza
Another object of the present invention. is the
tion of the evolved metal vapor resulting from
the are, forms a cathode spot and reduces the 2.0 provision of a discharge device wherein operation
is initiated by a “?eld emission. arc” and thelvolt
impedance of .the device,‘ and an electron dis
age required to initiate such, are discharge is
charge between the cathode and anode of the
tial gradient at the cathode. , This electrostatic
?eld pulls electrons from ‘one of the electrodes
device almost instantaneously occurs following
automatically maintained substantially constant
initiation of the arc discharge between. the start
throughout the useful life of the device,
ing electrode and cathode.
A further object of the present invention is the
provision of a discharge device wherein operation
‘
It has been found that a certain amount of ma-»
terial will be lost from and transferred between
the closely spaced electrodes between which the
“?eld emission arc’“ is initiated. This~loss and
transfer of material is inherent in the operation
of this "?eld emission arc” since, contrary to
is initiated by a‘ “?eld emission arc” and‘ the
to
other high current sources intubes; a device of
this character does not depend upon the. ioniza
tion of volume gases or vapor within the tube, but
is dependent primarily on the positive ions which
are the result of the vaporized material from‘one
of the electrodes interacting withthe ?eld emis
'
spacing between the ignition electrodes is auto
matically maintained substantially‘ constant to
thus maintain a constancy of the ignitionvoltage
despite an inherent tendency for the spacingbe
tweentheelectrodes to increase due to loss of
electrode material during the useful life of‘ the
device.
35.
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Still further objects of the present invention
will become obvious to those skilled in the art
by reference ‘to ‘the accompanying drawings
sion electrons. The positive’ ions are‘neceissary
to relieve space charge and to ‘increase the ?eld
~ Fig‘. 1 is a schematic diagram of the automatic
concentration at the cathode spot which in ‘turn 40; control arrangement ‘of the present invention
produces more ?eld and Schotky electrons.
for maintaining the spacing between the ignition
This loss of electrode material tends eventually
electrodes
of a ?eld emission discharge device
to increase the electrode spacing, causing an in
constant and showing such device partially in
crease ‘in the voltage, required to initiate the
wherein:
“?eld emission are,” ?nally leading to a condi-v
tion where operation of the device becomes un
9.5
cross section;
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‘ Fig. 2 is a schematic diagram ‘showing a modi
?cation which a portion of the automatic con
trol, arrangement of Fig. 1 may take;
age involved, or the device may stop functioning
Fig. 3 is ‘a view similar to Fig. 2 but showing.
altogetherbecause of a lack‘ of sufficient volt
age. From such characteristics it follows that 5.0 a still further modi?cation which a portion of
even ‘though the spacing betweenthe initiating = the automatic control arrangement of Fig. 1
may takej
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1
electrodes may not be measured directly, never-_
Fig. 4 is a schematic'diagram of another auto
theless, this spacing is a function of the voltage’
matic control arrangement for maintaining con
required to initiate the “?eld emission arc” and
satisfactory because of the high initiating Volt
is a de?nite factor in the useful-life of the device.7
65, stancy of'spacing between the ignition electrodes
2,408,004
3
and hence constancy of ignition voltage in ac
cordance with the present invention, and
Fig. 5 is a graphic illustration of the voltage
required to initiate a “?eld emission arc” with a
given electrode‘, spacing, together‘with the: rela-'
' tionship' of ‘the ignition voltage for a somewhat
greater spacing, as Well as an electrode spacing
too great for ?eld emission to occur.
4
neously between the cathode ‘I and anode l6, as
hereinbefore mentioned, with the device 4 then
becoming conductive, allowing energy from the
transformer secondary 20 to be supplied to the
“loadft The ignition electrodes; ‘as before men
tioned, are subject to wear due to the- evolution
of metallic particles which tends to increase the
‘ spacing therebetween, as well as causing an in
Referring now to the drawings in detail, the
crease in the voltage required to initiate the “?eld
present invention as shown‘ in Fig. 1 comprises .10. emission arc.”
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a discharge device 4 having a vitreous envelope
In order to maintain the electrode spacing and
5 provided with a pair of oppositely disposed igni
hence the ignition voltage constant, a source of
tion electrodes 6 and 1 of substantially rectangu—
heating current ;is provided for the bimetallic
lar con?guration with their edges parallel to each
section 9 comprising a transformer 29 having its
other and spaced apart a distance of less than
secondary winding 13.0 connected to the terminals
approximately .010 inch. The structural details
l0 and i1‘ and thus through the rod l8 and con
of the device 4 are seti. forth in detail in the ,. ductor H‘ to the bimetallic portion 9, while the
above noted concurrently ?led application of
primary winding 32 ~is arranged to be connected
Charles M. Slack et al., Serial No. 459,775, and
to a sourceof the customary domestic potential
reference may be‘had thereto, making further
of 115-230 volts upon attraction of the armature
description herein super?uous.
33' of a. relay ~34. For the purpose of energizing
I'It shou-ldsuf?ce to say that the cathode elec
this‘ relay. 34 a further transformer 354 is pro
trode» ‘I is supported by a leading-in and sup!
vided which also has its primary winding 36
porting conductor 8 provided with a bimetallic
connected to the‘. same’ domestic source as that
portion or section 9 and secured by welding, 25 of the primary windings 24 and v3'2.
soldering, or the like, to a terminal II). A simi
The main secondary winding 3‘! of this trans
lar terminal" 12 and leading-inand supporting
former 35- has one of its‘ ends connected-to one
conductor I3 is provided for the starting elec
end of the winding of the relay 34,,while the‘
trode .6 and-a terminal [4 and leading-in con
remaining end of this relay winding is connected
ductor i5- for the anode [6, except that these‘ 30 to the anode of a three-electrode control’ tube
latter conductors l3 and 1-5( are not provided
38.. The ?lamentary cathode of this control tube
with-1 a bimetallic portion. For the purpose of
passing a heating current through the bimetal
‘
38 receives l'ieatingv current from a low voltage
tertiary windingv 39 of the transformerv 35; and
lic portion 9 a terminal I‘! is provided which is
in order to complete the control circuit for the
connected to the electrode side of the leading 35 relay 34, the remaining end of the secondary
in and supporting conductor‘ 8 by a short sup
winding 31 connects to the mid-point of the ter
port. or rod» 18‘ and horizontally disposed con
tiary winding-.39,’ the‘ latter of which is grounded
ductor l9.
at '48‘. The- relay 34v is thus energizable under
Although the discharge’ device 4- has a variety
the, control of the tube 38 and the supply of
of usages, it is here shown‘ as a control tube for 40 heatingrcurrent to the‘ bimetallic portion 9 is,
supplyingenergy to a load. In such applica
accordingly controlled by the relay 34.
tionlv the secondary winding‘ 29' of’ a high tension
In order-to make the control tube 38 conduc
transformer 2-2‘ has one end connected‘ directly
tive in accordance with variation in ignition volt
to the “load,” as indicated‘by the legend, while
age due to an increase in spacing between the
its remaining end is connected to the terminal 45 ignition electrodes 6 and ‘l of the discharge de
L0; and hence'to- the cathode 1 and- also grounded
vice 4,'t_he grid electrode of the control tube 38
at 23. - Since the anode l-6= is- connected through
is connected through a resistance 42 to an ad'
its terminal‘ M to the “load,” ‘energy ‘from the
justable resistance or rheostat 43, the latter of
secondary winding 20 is supplied as soon as the
which‘ is connected across a battery 44‘, with one
device'4 becomes conductive. The transformer 50 side of both the rheostat 43> andbattery 44 being
2~2~has its primary winding 24 connected to the
connected'to the’ ?lamentary cathode of the tube
customary domestic source of- potential» of
38‘ at the mid-point" of the tertiary winding 39.
115-230 volts.
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and hence to ground at 40.‘ Such arrangement
In order to cause the formation of a (“?eld
enables the battery 44, to normally apply a po
emission arc” between the ignition electrodes 6 55 tential to the grid‘ of‘ the control 'tube 38v which’
and 1:, an induction. coil 2-5. is provided‘, the ,
primary winding 26 of which. may be connected‘
to a suitable source for supplying an energyim
is made negative withjrespect t0 the cathode
through, adjustment of l the. rheostat43 to- cause
pulse thereto, such as thatshown in the above
the tube. to blockv the flow of energy, in the?lar.
Slack et al., Serial No.- lll'2,566,_?led Sept. 27,‘ 1941.
The; secondary winding 21- of'this induction coil
rent, thus- ?ows from, the battery; 44“ through the
rnentioned copend-ing application of- Charles. M. ’ ment-plate. circuit, whiletheresistance 42 oper-.
60 ates to.limit thepotent-ial. 'A small direct cur-
rheostat43.
.
25, has one end. connected to the terminal l2,
A potentiometer 4,5 isconnected across thesec
and hence to the starting electrode 6, while its
remaining end is grounded at 28; and since the 65 ondary winding 2.1‘, and its adjustableiarm 46'
is connected totheadjustable arm of‘ the rheo
cathode is grounded at 23 as, before mentioned,
the potential of this secondary winding, result
’ ing, from the impulse induced therein by ener
gization of’ the primary winding 26, is impressed
across ‘the. ignition’ electrodes 6' and 1‘.
'Ahigh potential gradient at the cathode 1
accordingly results, causing’ the formation of‘ a
“?eld emission arc" discharge between the igni
tion electrodes 6 and 1. Such are in turn causes
an electron discharge to occur almost instanta 75
stat 43. as; well- as tothe grid of the control tube
3.8. through the- resistance 42-. The potentiometer
45‘v is thus- divided by its adjustable arm 46 into
what may be considered as two resistances RI
andRZ-so that when initially set for a given ig
nition voltage for the electrodes 6‘ and 1‘ of’v the '
discharge device 4', a f‘bucking” current is caused
to'?ow throughthe rheostat‘ 43 of the same mag
nitude as the.‘ current supplied to the latter-by
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2,408,004"
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the-‘battery 44, 'so that current flow through'the'
secondary winding 21 of: the induction 0011.25,v
may be employed in lieu of the potentiometer
rheostat 43is neutralized.
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it
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It ‘is a characteristic-of discharge devices opera
ble by “?eld emission” that the initial ?eld emis
of Fig. 1 if desired, with such elements: being
connected to the circuit at the points designated.
sion from‘ the initiating electrode‘is transformed (.1 a: and y as shown in both Figs. 1 and 2; In the
almost instantaneously into a negative character
same manner a series connected capacitor 53 and
resistance 54 as shown in Fig. 3 may be sub
istic metallic arc, as hereinbefore mentioned,
causing the voltage to fall quickly to a low value.
stituted in the arrangement as shown in Fig. 1,
Thus the'spacing of any given electrode deter
which would also be connected thereto at the
mines the maximum voltage independent of the 10 points a: andy. In both modi?cations, however,
the operation is substantially the same in its
maximum or peak voltage of the supply coil 27.
eiiect on the conductivity of the control tube 38.
This‘ maybe better appreciated by reference to
Fig. ‘5 wherein the ordinate represents “voltage”
and the abscissa‘ “time.” The curve A indicates
the' ignition voltage required to cause a “?eld
emission arc” for a given electrode spacing, while
the curveB represents the voltage for a some
what greater electrode spacing. Curve C shows
the form of voltage‘wave when the electrode
spacing is too great for field emission to occur.
20:
A still further modi?cation is shown in Fig. 4
and wherein the discharge device 4 is constructed
in‘the manner as shown and described in the co
pending ‘application of Charles M. Slack et al.,
Ser. No. 459,776, , ?led concurrently herewith.
‘ Accordingly, when the ignition voltage im
Since reference may be had to such application
for structural details of the device 4, it is believed
unnecessary that they‘be set forth herein. Suffice
it to say that one of‘the leading-in conductors is
pressed across the electrodes 6' and l tends to rise
secured to a de?ectable terminal‘or a diaphragm,
due togwearing away of the electrodes with‘l’an
increase in their spacing, the voltage on the po~
such as shown at 55, which enables deflection of
the leading-in and supporting conductor, together
5 with the starting electrode 6 carried thereby, upon
sliding movement of a terminal block 56 so as to
of the voltage of the supply coil, causing a change
decrease the spacing between the ignition elec
in current flow through the rheostat 43 which
trodes 6 and 1 similar to that hereinbefore de-'
imbalances the neutralized condition resulting
scribed with reference to Fig‘. 1.
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A
from the direct current ?ow from the battery
44, and this in turncauses the potential of the 30: Inthe same manner as shown in Fig. l the
discharge device 4 of Fig. 4 controls the supply
grid to become‘less negative with respect to the
of energy from the high voltage transformer. 22
cathode, thereby making the control tube‘ 33 con
to the “load” and the induction coil 25 also sup
plies the ignition voltage to the starting elec
ductive.
‘ Upon this
‘
‘control'tube
>
becoming conductive,
energy then ?ows from the secondary winding 35,1 trodes 6 and ‘I. Since the only di?erence in the
modi?cation of Fig. 4 residesin the apparatus
31 'of the transformer 36, thus energizing the
for automatically controlling the electrode spac
winding oilthe relay 34. The relay armature 33
ing, further description of Fig. 4 will be restricted
is accordingly attracted completing a circuit from
to the'latter. By reference to Fig. 4, it will be
the ‘source of domestic supply to the primary
winding 32 of the transformer 29, with the re 40 noted that a second induction coil 5'1 is provided,
the primary winding 58 of which is connected
sult that a heating current is supplied by the
across the secondary winding 2'! and thus in elec
secondary winding sci-,0 the bimetallic portion
tentiometer'also varies, although independently
trical‘parallel with the ignition electrode circuit,
9 of the leadingiin conductor 8. De?ection of
as is the potentiometer 45 of Fig. l.
the latter follows, causing the electrode '! to move
The low potential secondary winding 59 of the
closer to the starting electrode 6, lowering the 45
induction coil 51 is connected to a full wave recti
voltage to which the potentiometer 45 can rise, thus
?er, shown generally at 60' and comprising the
again, causing a reconditioning of the arrange
customary two pairs of oppositely connected rec
ment so that the negative bias is restored to the
tifying valve tubes, and the direct current output
grid of the control tube 38 making it non-con
ductive. When this occurs,‘ the winding of re 50 side of such recti?er is connected to the magnetic
lay 34 is de-energized, allowing the armature to
return to its normally open‘position, thus inter
rupting the circuit to the transformer 29 and
hence the supply of heating current to the bi
coil 62 of a suitable switch 63. Although this
switch may be of any appropriate type, it is shown
as being provided with a spring biased rotatable
arm 64 which is normally maintained in a cen
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i 55 tral position between a pair of stationary contacts
65 and 66 against the tension of a spring ?ll, when
‘The above described operation is intermittent
a small D. C. magnetizing current ?ows through
and-occurs each time the ignition voltage tends
the winding 62.
,
to rise above the'value for which the electrodes
ligand ,1 were initiallyset. ‘Moreover, the volt
Flow of current through this winding 62 is thus
age corresponding to the electrode spacing and 60 dependent upon the voltage impressed on the
metallic portion 9.
at ‘which the system functions may be set by al
tering the ratio between the sections RI and R2
primary winding 58 of the induction coil 51, which
latter is dependent upon the voltage of'the sec
by adjustment of the arm of the potentiometer ‘
ondary winding 21 of the ?rst induction coil 25
or the initial ‘grid bias of the control tube 38 may
supplying the ignition Voltage to the electrodes
be changed by adjustment of the rheostat 43. 65 6 and 1. Again, as in the modi?cation of Fig. 1,
However, ‘once set for a given electrode spacing
when‘ the ignition electrodes 6 and ‘i wear away,
and ignition voltage, the spacing of the ignition
there is a tendency for the ignition voltage to
electrodes 6 and ‘I, together with the voltage ‘re
rise,
which thus increases the voltage supplied
quired to initiate the “?eld emission are,” is auto
matically maintained constant during the useful 70 to the primary‘winding 58. This increased volt
life of the device.
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age causes an increase in the flow of D. C. current
Figs. 2 and 3 a slight modi?cation is shown
through the magnetic winding 62 of the switch 63,
forthe potentiometer portion of the system. For
example, in Fig, ‘2 a condenser, 50 connected in
series with available. condenser .52 , across the
with the‘result that the rotatable arm 64 moves
into contact with the stationary terminal 65, and
when the current falls to a low value, the spring
2,408,004"
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621‘ causes. theéarmtd. to engage the; stationary
trodes: tQiOEt'l‘lSB controlled movement between: the
contact: tenninal’lid,
latter and maintain the spacing: between said
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'Asshown, the rotatable arm 641 is connected to a
D. "C. motor .66, while the. contacts: 65.:andi 6.6 are.
connected respectively to suitable I); C‘. sources.
of supply, such as batteries; 69; and 10., with the.
opposite side of these batteriesin turn connected
to the D. C. motor B8; Accordingly, when the:
switch arm 64. engages thecontact 65., an ener
pair of electrodes,substantially constant vdining
the useful. life-of said device.
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2; A discharge device wherein operation-is ini
tiated. by; ?eld emission of electrons comprising’
a. pair of oppositely disposed spaced electrodes '
between which a ?eld emission arc'd-ischargeocr;
curs upon the application of a potential thereto,
gizingi circuit is. completed from theb'att-eries 1.0 10 and subject to deterioration tending: to increase
the gap therebetween. during operation, an anode»
to'the DC. motor. The motor- 68: is providedwith
positioned adjacent said pair of electrodes'for
a worm, 'EZ' engageable with a worm gear 13', the
supporting; an. electron discharge with. oneof the
latter‘ of" whichis carried: by a journalled shaft
electrodes of said. pair immediately following the ' _
142 engageable by a threaded shaft 15 loosely se
cured‘ to the slideable block 56. Consequently,
?eld emission arc discharge between said: pair of‘
rotation of the motor upon closingv of the enerelectrodes, and means automatically operable; in.
gizing circuit will cause the sliding‘ block 56 to.
response to variations-in. ignition voltage between
move to'the left, as shown in ‘Fig. 4, de?ecting the
said pair of electrodes to cause relative movement
leading-in and supporting conductor carrying. the
therebetween and maintain the spacing“ between;
starting electrode 6, thus decreasing the spacing 20: said pair of electrodes substantially constant de-~ .
between the ignition electrodes 6 and 1..
spite deterioration of the latter during the useful
Reverse operation is. effected by engagement of
life of said device.
7
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the. rotatable switch arm 64 engaging the sta
3a A discharge device wherein operation is ini-,
tionary contact terminal 66 which again closes an
hated by ?eld emission of electrons comprising. a:
energizing circuit. from the batteries 69 to the 25 pair’ of oppositely disposed spacedelectrodes; be
D. C. motor 68, thereby causing reverse rotation
tween which a ?eld. emission arc: discharge occurs.
upon the application of a potentialthereto-and
of the D. C. motor, together with the gears 12 and
subject to deterioration tending to increase ‘the.’
13 and sliding movement of the block. 56 to the
right, as shown in Fig. 4..
gap therebetween andthe voltage required to. inl
It will be appreciated that, as. in the modi?ca 30 tiate the ?eld emission are. discharge during ope.
tion of Fig. 1, the arrangement of‘ Fig. 4 isinter
eration of said device, an anodepositioned; adja:
mittently operable in response to variations in
cent said pair, of electrodes for, supporting” an.
ignition voltage caused by wearing away of the
electrodes 6 and 1., so that. again the spacing be
electron discharge with one Of the electrodes of‘
said pair immediately following the ?eld emis
tween the ignition electrodes 5 and ‘l. is auto 35 sion arc discharge between saidpair of electrodes, ‘
matically maintained constant, as is the ignition
means associated with said pair of electrodes to
voltage, by energization of the motor and at
cause relative movement therebetween, ‘ and
tendantmechanical operation to move the! elec
means electrically associated with said ?rst men
trodel? toward the electrode ‘I, ‘thus decreasing
tioned means and automatically operable.- in re-,
the spacing.
40 sponse to an increase» in voltage between‘ said
It thus‘ becomes obvious tov those‘ skilled in the
pair of electrodes to’ cause operation of said. ?rst
art that; a discharge device is herein shown and
mentioned means‘ with attendant-relative move
described‘ wherein operation is initiated by ?eld
ment between said, pair of electrodes to maintain
emission of electrons. and the spacingibetween the
the spacing therebetween substantially constant
ignition electrodes isv automatically maintained 45 during the useful life of said device.
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substantially constant during the useful‘ life of
4a.. A discharge. device. wherein. operation is. ini
the device, despite the fact that such electrodes
tiated by ?eld emission of electrons comprising, .
are subject to; deterioration tending to, increase 7
their spacing, due to. the evolution of metallic
particles.
Moreover, since any‘ tendency for the ignition
appairgof. oppositely disposed spaced electrodes
between which a ?eld emission are discharge
50 occurs upon the application of a. potential thereto.
and subject to deterioration tending to increase
the gap» therebetween and the» voltage required
ing‘ increase in theignition voltage, such variation
to- initiate the ?eld emission arc discharge during’
in ignition voltage is. employed to automatically
operation of said device, an anodepositionedad
readjust the electrode spacing, thereby maintain— 55 jacent said pair of electrodes forsupportingan
electron discharge with one of the electrodes of i
ing the ignition voltage substantially constant.
electrode spacing to. increase causes a correspond
‘ Although several embodiments of the present
invention have been shown and described, it is to
be understood that other modi?cations of the
said pair immediately following‘ the ?eld emission
arc discharge between said pair of electrodeSQa .
de?ectable support for one of the electrodes otf
7 same may be made without departing from the 60 said pair, and means associated with said pair
spirit and scope of the appended claims.
We claim:
‘
of electrodes and automatically ‘operable-7 in re?
sponse to an increase in voltage between said-pair
of electrodes to cause. de?ection of said support
1. A discharge device wherein operation is ini
and- movementof the electrode supported. thereby
tiated by ?eld emission of electrons comprising;
a pair of oppositely disposed spaced electrodes 65 toward the other electrode of said pair to main
tain. the spacing between said pair of electrodes
between which a ?eld emission are discharge oc
substantially constant during the useful life of
curs upon the application ofa potential thereto
said device.
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and subject to. deterioration tending to increase
5. A discharge device wherein operation is. ini
the gap therebetween during operation, an anode,
positioned adjacent said pair of electrodes for 70 tiated by ?eld emission of electrons comprising;
a pair of oppositely disposed spaced electrodes.
supporting an electron discharge with one of the
between which a ?eld emission are discharge oc
electrodes of said pair immediately following the
curs upon the applicationof a potential thereto
?eld emission are discharge between said pair‘ of
electrodes, and means automatically operable in
and subject to deterioration tending-to increase
response to the voltage across said‘ pair of elec 75 the gap‘ therebetween and the voltage-required
2,408,004
to initiate the ?eld emission arc discharge during
operation of said device, an anode positioned ad
jacent said pair of electrodes for supporting an
electron discharge with one of the electrodes of
said pair immediately following the ?eld emission
are discharge between said pair of electrodes, a
heat-responsive element in said device and oper
10
ing an element responsive to variations in ig
nition voltage caused by an increase in spacing
between said pair of electrodes, and a third elec
trical circuit operable in response to variations in
ignition voltage on the element of said second
circuit to cause closure of the heating circuit
for said heat-responsive element with attendant
alble upon heating to cause de?ection of one of
de?ection of one electrode of said pair to auto
the electrodes of said pair, and means electrically
matically maintain the spacing between said pair
associated with said pair of electrodes and auto 10 of electrodes substantially constant despite de
matically operable in response to an increase in
terioration thereof during the useful life of said
ignition voltage to cause heating of said heat
device.~
responsive element with attendant deflection of
3. A discharge device wherein operation is ini
one of said electrodes toward the other electrode
tiated by ?eld emission of electrons comprising a
of said pair to maintain the spacing therebetween 15 pair of oppositely disposed spaced electrodes be
substantially constant despite deterioration of
tween which a ?eld emission are discharge oc
said pair of electrodes during the useful life of
curs upon the application of a potential thereto
said device.
and subject to deterioration tending to increase
6. A discharge device wherein operation is initi
the gap therebetween and the voltage required to
ated by ?eld emission of electrons comprising an 20 initiate the ?eld emission arc discharge during
envelope, a pair of oppositely disposed spaced
operation of said device, an anode positioned ad
electrodes in said envelope between which a ?eld
jacent said pair of electrodes for supporting
emission arc discharge occurs upon the applica
an electron discharge with one of the elec
tion of a potential thereto and subject to deterior
trodes of said pair immediately following the
ation tending to increase the gap therebetween 25 ?eld emission are discharge between said pair of
and the voltage required to initiate the ?eld emis
electrodes, electrically operable means mechani
sion arc discharge during operation of said device,
cally connected to one of the electrodes of said
an anode in said envelope positioned adjacent
pair and operable when energized to cause de
said pair of electrodes for supporting an electron
flection of said electrode, and means electrically
discharge with one of the electrodes of said pair 30 associated with said pair of electrodes and auto
immediately following the ?eld emission are dis
matically operable in response to an increase in
charge between said pair of electrodes, means
ignition voltage to cause energization of said
operable to cause relative movement between said
electrically operable means with attendant de
pair of electrodes, an electrical circuit operable
flection of one of said electrodes to maintain the
upon closure thereof to cause operation of said 35 spacing therebetween substantially constant de
means, a second electrical circuit for supplying
an ignition voltage to said pair of electrodes to
spite deterioration of said pair of electrodes dur
ing the useful life of said device.
9. A discharge device wherein operation is ini
tiated by ?eld emission of electrons comprising
initiate the ?eld emission are discharge there
between including an element subject to varia
tions in voltage corresponding to variations in 40 an envelope, a pair of oppositely disposed spaced
ignition voltage caused by an increase in spacing
electrodes in said envelope between which a ?eld
between said pair of electrodes, and a third elec
emission arc discharge occurs upon the applica
trical circuit operable in response to voltage
tion of a potential thereto and subject to deterior
variations on the element of said second circuit
ation tending to increase the gap therebetween
to cause closure of said ?rst mentioned circuit
and the voltage required to initiate the ?eld emis
with attendant operation of said means and rela
sion arc discharge during operation of said de
tive movement between said pair of electrodes to
vice, an anode in said envelope positioned ad
automatically maintain the spacing therebetween
jacent said pair of electrodes for supporting an
substantially constant despite deterioration of
electron discharge with one of the electrodes of
said pair of electrodes during the useful life of 50 said pair immediately following the ?eld emis
said device.
sion arc discharge between said pair of electrodes,
'7. A discharge device wherein operation is ini
an electric motor mechanically connected to one
tiated by ?eld emission of electrons comprising
of the electrodes of said pair and operable when
an envelope, a pair of oppositely disposed spaced
energized to cause de?ection of said electrode, an
electrodes in said envelope between which a ?eld 55 electrical circuit operable upon closure thereof to
emission are discharge occurs upon the applica
cause rotation of said electric motor, a second
tion of a potential thereto and subject to deter
electrical circuit for supplying an ignition voltage
ioration tending to increase the gap therebetween
to said pair of electrodes to initiate the ?eld emis
and the voltage required to initiate the ?eld
sion arc discharge therebetween and including an
emission are discharge during operation of said 60 element responsive to variations in voltage cor
responding to variations in ignition voltage re
device, an anode in said envelope positioned ed
sulting from an increase in spacing between said
jacent said pair of electrodes for supporting an
pair of electrodes, and a third electrical circuit
electron discharge with one of the electrodes of
operable in response to variations in voltage on
said pair immediately following the ?eld emis
65 the element of said second circuit to cause clo
sion arc discharge between said pair of electrodes,
sure of the circuit to said electric motor with at
a heat-responsive element in said device and
tendant
deflection of one electrode of said pair
operable upon heating to cause de?ection of one
to automatically maintain the spacing between
of the electrodes of said pair, an electrical circuit
said pair of electrodes substantially constant de
operable upon closure thereof to supply heating
70 spite deterioration thereof during the useful life
current to said heat-responsive element, a second
of said device.
electrical circuit for supplying an ignition volt
CHARLES M. SLACK.
age to said pair of electrodes to initiate the ?eld
CLARENCE E. DAWLEY.
emission are discharge therebetween and includ
ANDREW PFEIF‘FER.’
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