Electrokinetica The Electro-mechanical Museum

Mercury Arc Rectifiers

Bulb on light load

Many electrical supply systems use alternating current (AC), and many machines need direct current (DC). A device designed to convert AC into DC is termed a rectifier, and many types of rectifier have been devised over the years. One of the most spectacular is the glass-bulb mercury arc rectifier, which is closely related to the fluorescent tube in origin, and in many respects works like a radio valve. They were reliable and long-lived, and a few are still in service, for example supplying DC crane motors and manufacturing process drives. We will soon have a full description of mercury-arc technology on this page.

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