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Old 07-19-2016, 12:08 AM
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Sputins Sputins is offline
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Originally Posted by thx1138 View Post
True. Tesla did not use them as a continuous current rectifier. I only included that link to explain how mercury can and is used as a diode.

This type of Tesla's circuit controllers used a rotating wheel inside with slots that would either block or allow the flow of mercury from the jets to the pool of mercury as explained in the patents.

So this type of controller was a circuit interrupter similar to a rotating spark gap that used a pool of mercury in the same way a diode would be used today to obtain unidirectional pulses that could carry high voltage and high current. Keep in mind that Tesla was always working on systems for industrial scale power. I'm certainly not aware of any solid state devices that can handle megawatts of power as a mercury based device can.

By varying the size of the slots and blocks in the rotating wheel he could alter the duty cycle. And changing the speed of the rotating wheel with the slots and blocks he could vary the frequency of the makes and breaks.
Tesla’s circuit controllers are an engineering masterpiece. One does not find too many like this around these days to experiment with, (there are some rare ones around). But you’d likely have to engineer your own.

The circuit controllers were not a rectifier as such, they are a make/break switch, but unlike a spark gap, there is no pre ionisation of the spark, as the inert liquid gas medium that is within the housing allows no ionisation of air or other molecules, so the mercury makes and breaks the circuit instantly.

No doubt this is key to extremely sharp electrical impulses. The inert liquid gas is just as big of a 'key' as the mercury is.

I once played around with the concept using a vibrating solenoid with a mechanical rod which dipped in and out of a pool of mercury surrounded in mineral oil. Worked for a bit but the whole thing ruptured and spread mercury the everywhere. A nightmare clean up! – So I have not been back down that path again myself…

There are small tube mercury rectifiers around such as the 816 and 833 for rectifying AC to DC.
"Doesn't matter how many times you kick the coyote in the head, it's still gonna eat chickens". - EPD

Last edited by Sputins; 07-19-2016 at 12:11 AM.
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