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D“- 24, 1946'
c. E. DAWLEY ETAL
2,413,175
TRIGATRON TUBE
Filed Sept. 27, 1944
14
22
INVENTOR
C‘: E 017W‘ 5)’.
BY
ATI'ORNEY
Patented Dec. 24, 1946
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE
2,413,175
TRIGATRON TUBE
Clarence E. Dawley, Bloom?eld, N. 1., assignm
to Westinghouse Electric Corporation, East
Pittsburgh, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania
Application September 27, 1944, Serial No. 555,933
4 Claims. , (or. 250-215)
2
The present invention relates to discharge de
inert gaseous ?lling so that "clean-up” of the
vices and more particularly to a triggered spark
gas does not occur and liquid electrodes are pro
gap device constituting an improvement over the
vided to prevent sputtering during the useful life
structure shown and described in the copending
of the device.
application of E. G. F. Amott et al., Serial No. 5
Still further objects of the present invention
491,496, ?led September 19, 1943, assigned to the
will become obvious to those skilled in the art
same assignee as the present invention, and of
by reference to the accompanying drawing
which I- am one of the coinventors.
wherein:
‘ The structure of the device as disclosed in such
Figure 1 .is a sectional view in elevation of a
copending application comprises an envelope 10 triggered spark-gap device constructed in ac
provided with three electrodes, one of which is
cordance with the present invention, and
a triggering electrode, and ?lled with a rare gas
including a small percentage of oxygen and at
an atmosphere or more pressure. A voltage is
Figure 2 is a view similar to Fig. l of a modi
?cation which the triggered spark-gap of the
present invention may take.
applied between two of the electrodes of insum
Referring now to the drawing in detail, the
cient magnitude to cause breakdown until a volt
device as shown in Fig. 1 comprises an envelope
age is applied to the trigger electrode. Upon the
shown generally at 5 composed in part of a
application of the triggering voltage, an are dis
vitreous material in the form of an annular collar
chargeoccurs between one of the high voltage
6, to the one end of which is sealed a spherical
electrodes and the triggering electrode since the 20 metallic member ‘I having a coe?‘icient of expan
latter is isolated from the other grounded high
sion simulating that of the vitreous collar, such
voltage electrode by suitable means such as a
as the alloy known as “Kovar.”
Also hermeti
condenser.
cally sealed to the other end of the vitreous collar
Once such discharge is initiated between the
6 is a metallic ?anged member 8 having an an
high voltage electrode and the trigger electrode, 25 nular re-entrant portion 9, which is likewise
the latter immediately assumes a high voltage
formed of “Kovar."
and being positioned in such proximity to the
A metallic support Ill, which may be of “Kovar”
grounded eiectrode, this high voltage on the
if desired is provided with a spherical end I!
trigger electrode causes the arc discharge to
concentric with the spherical member ‘i, which
transfer to the grounded electrode enabling the 80 is welded, soldered or otherwise a?‘ixed at I3 to
passage of several hundred amperes between the
the reentrant portion 9 prior to sealing the me
high voltage electrode and ground.
tallic ?anged member 8 to the vitreous collar 6.
The life of the device above noted is limited
Although the metallic support i0 may be made
by several factors, namely, cleaning up of the
long enough so as to provide an extension beyond
oxygen forming part of the gaseous medium 85 the exterior surface of the ?anged member 8.
within the envelope, which occurs all through
for assembly purposes it is preferable that it
operating life of the device eventually decreasing
extend only a short distance into the reentrant
the breakdown thereof below its useful operating
portion 9 as shown, for reasons which will here
voltage. Also due to the large current passing
inafter appear.
through the tube, sputtering of electrode mate 40 An additional spherical metallic member
rial occurs which accumulates on the cathode
and triggering electrodes causing a change in
the electrode spacings, thereby altering the char
acteristics of the device.
,
The primary object of_ the present invention
is to provide a device which eliminates the above
I noted disadvantages, thus prolonging the useful
life of a triggered spark-gap device.
Another object of thepresent invention is the
provision of a triggered spark-gap device in
which a ?uid metal is employed as electrodes to
eliminate sputtering of electrode material during
the life of said device.
'
Another object of the present invention is the
provision of a spark-gap device‘ employing an
formed of iron or steel and constituting the
anode electrode ll of the device, is a?lxed to a
tubular member or support ii of “Kovar,” with
such support being hermetically sealed to a re
entrant portion IG of a vitreous ?anged closure
member ll. Hermetically sealed to the periph
eral edge of such closure member is a "Kovar”
sleeve l8. After sealing the support l5 and the
“Kovar” sleeve i8 to the vitreous closure member
ll, the support l5 together with the anode i4 is
inserted into the metallic support l0 and when
the spherical anode i4 is concentrically disposed
relative to the metallic spheres 1 and i2, the
sleeve i8 is welded or soldered at l9 to the
"Kovar” ?anged member 8. Thus this sleeve is
2,418,175
3
to all intents and purposes is an extension of
4 .
velopes to enable them to be screwed together as
the metallic support III.
shown in Fig. 2.
The tubular support I5 is provided with an
opening 20 which enables evacuation of the inte
rior of the support l0, afterwhich it is filled with
’ ' As will be noted, the electrode support 31 has
_
,
a quantity of liquid metal such as mercury 22
aiiixed to its lower end a spherical electrode 42
of iron or “Kovar," which is concentrically dis
posed relative to the spherical section 33, and in
and an inert gas, such as a mixture of hydrogen
like manner the upper envelope 32 has a spherical
and argon at a pressure ranging from approxi
electrode 43 concentric with the spherical section
33 thereof. After evacuation of the envelopes 33
mately a hundred atmospheres to an atmosphere
or less, prior to sealing-off the end 23 of the sup 10 and 32, they are ?lled with an inert gas and a
port l5. Similarly, the outer metallic spherical
member ‘i is provided with a tubulation 24 to
allow evacuation of the space between its interior
surface and that of the support in with its spher
ical end l2, after which it is ?lled with a small
quantity of mercury or the like 25 and the same
small quantity ‘of mercury 44 and 45, respectively,
prior to sealing-on at 45.
This modi?cation operates in the identical
manner as previously described-relative to Fig. 1
in that a high voltage is impressed across the
spherical electrode 43 and the grounded spherical
section 33 of envelope 30. Upon the application
of a trigger pulse of opposite sign to electrode
support 39 joining with the spherical metallic
It will thus be seen that the various metallic
parts are electrically insulated from each other 20 section of the envelope 3: and which is appro
priately isolated from ground, an arc appears be
by vitreous portions of the envelope but are
tween the electrode 42 and the mercury pool 44.
readily accessible so as to enable the connection
Inasmuch as electrode support 33 engages the lug
of electrical conductors thereto. The small quan
40 carried by the spherical metallic section 33
tity of mercury 25 in contact with the spherical
of
envelope 32, the latter of which is contacted
25
end 1 constitutes the cathode electrode while the
by the mercury pool 45 and hence may all be
quantity of mercury 22 within the spherical end
considered as one electrode, the full potential of
I2 is the trigger electrode properly isolated from
electrode 44 appears on the mercury pool 45 and
ground and the sphere l4 the grounded anode.
thus substantially simultaneously causes break
A high voltage is applied across the anode l4
inert gas as above‘ mentioned, prior to sealing-off
the tubulation 24.
and cathode 25 which is insu?lcient to cause an 30 down of the gap between the mercury 45 and
spherical electrode 43 causing passage of energy
arc discharge. Upon the application of a high
completely through the device from electrode 43
to the metallic spherical section 33 of envelope
30. Like in Fig. 1 the modi?cation of Fig. 2 will
cathode 25 and the spherical end l2 supporting
the mercury 22; and since the distance between 35 operate in any position from :90° to the vertical,
and since the mercury 44 and 45 is struck by the
the mercury pool 22 and the anode I4 is not sum
arc discharge during operation, there is no sput
cient to withstand the high voltage, the 'arc jump
tering of the electrode material, which would
across to the grounded anode [4 thus completes
otherwise so accumulate as to alter the electrode
the discharge from the cathode 25 to the anode
40 spacing with change in the operating charac
l4.
teristics of the device.
By the utilization of concentric spheres, the
It can thus be readily seen by those skilled in
mercury 22 and 25, which constitute ‘in effect the
the art that a triggered spark-gap is herein pro
electrode surfaces, can rotate within an angle of
vided in which sputtering of the electrode mate
:90“ from vertical with the device being fully
voltage pulse of opposite sign to the trigger elec
trode 22, an arc discharge appears between the
operable from one of these extreme positions to 45 rial is eliminated by the employment of a metallic
liquid, such as mercury at the electrode surface
the other. Moreover, the mercury does not sput
impinged by the arc discharge, thus. presenting
ter during operation as in devices of the prior
a variation in electrode spacing during operation
art but volatilizes only, returning to the pool upon
of the device, which would otherwise affect the
condensing. This, together with the employment
of an inert gas which does not clean-up during 50 characteristics thereof. Moreover, by utilizing
an inert gaseous environment in the device which
operation, insure a relatively long useful life
presents clean-up of the gas together with the
without variation in the operating characteristics
elimination of sputtering, the useful operating
due to a change in electrode spacing or gas
life of the device is considerably increased over
pressure.
The modi?cation as shown in Fig. 2 differs 65 similar devices of the prior art.
Although two embodiments of the present in
slightly from that of Fig. 1 in that it is of tandem
vention have been shown and described, it is to
construction being formed of two substantially
be understood that still further modification
identical devices joined together. In the main,
thereof may be made without departing from the
the construction is similar to that of Fig. 1 since
it includes an envelope shown generally at 30 and 60 spirit and scope of the appended claims.
I claim:
32, and as each envelope is of identical structure,
1. A spark-gap device for supporting a high
a detailed description of one should sui?ce.
voltage are discharge comprising an envelope
The envelopes 30 and 32 are formed of a spheri
provided with an inert gaseous medium and a
cal metallic section 33 of “Kovar” or the like and
hermetically sealed to a vitreous annular collar 65 plurality of concentrically disposed spaced spher
ical electrodes including an anode, a cathode,
34. Sealed to the opposite end of such vitreous
and a trigger electrode operable upon the appli
collar 34 is a metallic ?anged member 35 having
cation of a high voltage pulse thereto to cause
a reentrant portion 36. Prior to scaling in the
an arc discharge between the trigger electrode
?anged member 35 to the collar 34, a metallic
electrode support 31 is soldered or welded at 38 70 and said cathode and an attendant substantially
instantaneous initiation of an arc discharge with
to the ?anged member 35, with the outer end of
said anode; and a quantity of liquid metal in
the support 31 protruding above the surface of
contact with said spherical trigger electrode and
the ?anged member and being threaded at 39 so
said spherical cathode respectively and consti
as to engage an internally threaded metallic lug
40 secured to the metallic section 33 of the en 75 tuting the surface of each electrode impinged by
5
2,418,175
the resulting arc discharges. thus eliminating
sputtering of electrode material otherwise oc
curring from the electrode surface impinged by
the arc discharge with an attendant variation in
electrode spacings and operating characteristics
which destroy the useful life of the device.
2. A spark-gap device for supporting a high
voltage arc discharge comprising an envelope
provided with an inert gaseous medium and a
plurality of concentrically disposed spaced spher
electrodes with substantially simultaneous in
itiation of an arc discharge between the remain
der of said electrodes, and a quantity of liquid
metal in contact with at least two of said spher
ical electrodes and constituting the surface of
each said electrode impinged by the arc discharge
during operation, thus eliminating sputtering of
electrode material otherwise occurring from the
electrode surface impinged by the arc discharge
with an attendant variation in the electrode
ical electrodes including an anode, a cathode,
spacings and operating characteristics which de
and a trigger electrode operable upon the ap
stroy the useful life of the device.
.
plication of a high voltage pulse thereto to cause
4. A spark-gap device for supporting a high
an arc discharge between the trigger electrode
voltage arc discharge comprising an envelope
and said cathode and an attendant substantially 15 provided with an inert gaseous medium therein
instantaneous initiation of an arc discharge with
and ‘a plurality of concentrically disposed spaced
said anode; and a quantity of mercury within
spherical electrodes including an anode, a cath
said spherical trigger electrode and within said
ode,
and a trigger electrode with said cathode
spherical cathode and constituting the surface
and trigger electrode forming a portion of the
of each electrode impinged bythe resulting arc 20 envelope
walls and hermetically sealed to vitre
discharges to eliminate sputtering of electrode
ous insulating portions of said envelope; said
material otherwise occurring from the electrode
trigger electrode being operable upon the appli
surface impinged by the arc discharges with an
cation of a high voltage pulse thereto to cause
attendant variation in electrode spacings and op
an arc discharge between the trigger electrode
erating characteristics which destroy the useful 25 and said cathode and an attendant substantially
life of the device.
instantaneous initiation of an arc discharge with
3. A spark-gap device for supporting a high
said anode, and a separate quantity of mercury
voltage are discharge comprising an envelope
in contact with said trigger electrode and with
provided with an inert gaseous medium therein
said cathode and constituting the surface thereof
and a plurality of concentrically disposed spaced
impinged by the arc discharge during operation,
spherical electrodes forming a portion of said
thus eliminating sputtering of electrode material
envelope walls and hermetically sealed to vitre
otherwise
occurring from the electrode surface
ous insulating portions of said envelope, one of
impinged by the arc discharge with an attendant
said electrodes constituting a trigger electrode
variation in the electrode spacings and operating
operable upon the application of a high volt
characteristics which destroy the useful life of
tage pulse thereto to cause an arc discharge be 35 the
device.
tween said trigger electrode and another or said
CLARENCE E. DAWLEY.
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