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When a gas or vapor is admitted into a tube, the characteristics of the tube are markedly changed from the high-vacuum state. These radical differences have been used successfully by the electronics designer to permit the development of many fundamental gas-tube types for literally hundreds of industrial applications.
For example, one member of the gas tube family, control-electrode rectifiers known as thyratrons, electronically serve almost every industry. Because they are available in a wide range of ratings, thyratrons may be used in circuits ranging from the control of large power amounts at lower voltages (in welding and motor control) to the sorting, grading and counting of merchandise. The thyratron may serve as a rectifier (ac to dc) , as an inverter (dc to ac) , as an electronic switcher or contactor to open and close circuits rapidly, or as control tubes. Since this is only one type of gaseous tube, the importance of understanding the basic theory pertaining to gas tubes is evident.
This guide has been organized to help the student understand the more important ideas basic to this area of electronics. Thus, specific attention has been given to the meaning of ionization, the movement of ionic particles, principles of gas conduction, non-self maintaining discharge, self-maintaining glow discharge, arc discharge, space-charge effects in gaseous rectifiers, mercury-vapor rectifiers, the principles of gas tube voltage regulators, circuit action, the design of a voltage regulator circuit and aspects of electronic voltage regulation. An entire Section is devoted to thyratrons, out lining the essentials from the fundamental action of a thyratron in a dc circuit to various types of the thyratron circuits. Other types of gas-filled tubes, from phototubes to the large ignitron are also presented. In all the materials are such as to give the electronic technician, engineer, experimenter, amateur and/or student additional background which will serve as a most useful tool.
Grateful acknowledgement is made to the staff of the New York Institute of Technology for its assistance in the preparation of the manuscript for this guide.
October, 1958, New York, N.Y. USA.
Edited by Alexander Schure, Ph.D., Ed. D.
Also see: Wave Propagation (1957)