Spark Gap

A spark gap consists of an arrangement of two conducting electrodes separated by a gap usually filled with a gas such as air, designed to allow an electric spark to pass between the conductors. When the voltage difference between the conductors exceeds the gap's breakdown voltage, a spark forms, ionizing the gas and drastically reducing its electrical resistance. An electric current then flows until the path of ionized gas is broken or the current reduces below a minimum value called the 'holding current'. This usually happens when the voltage drops, but in some cases occurs when the heated gas rises, stretching out and then breaking the filament of ionized gas. Usually the action of ionizing the gas is violent and disruptive, often leading to sound (ranging from a snap for a spark plug to thunder for a lightning discharge), light and heat. Spark gaps were used historically in early electrical equipment, such as spark gap radio transmitters, electrostatic machines, and x-ray machines. Their most widespread use today is in spark plugs to ignite the fuel in internal combustion engines, but they are also used in lightning arrestors and other devices to protect electrical equipment from high voltage transients.

Read more about Spark GapSpark Visibility, Health Hazards

Other articles related to "spark gap, spark, spark gaps":

Nitrogen Laser - Electrical - Spark Gap
... Paschen's law states that the length of the spark gap is inverse-proportional to the pressure ... For a fixed length to diameter ratio of the spark, the inductance is proportional to the length (source, compare with dipole antenna ) ... Thus the electrodes of the spark gap are glued or welded on a dielectric spacer-ring ...
RLC Circuit - History
... frequency in the audio range, which produced a musical tone from the spark when it was discharged ... In 1857 German physicist Berend Wilhelm Feddersen photographed the spark produced by a resonant Leyden jar circuit in a rotating mirror, providing visible evidence of the oscillations ... Hertz in his pioneering paper on the discovery of radio waves, showing the length of spark obtainable from his spark-gap LC resonator detectors as a function of frequency ...
Spark Gap - Health Hazards
... free radicals can be damaging to the mucous membranes of people near the spark gap ... Spark gaps which only intermittently produce short spark bursts are also minimally hazardous because the volume of ions generated is very small ...
Invention Of Radio - Development of Radio - Early Radio Development - Hertz
... He engineered a method of detecting spark-gap radio waves by observing that another unpowered spark-gap, acting as an antenna, would absorb the radio energy and convert it back into an electric ... intentionally and unequivocally proven to have been transmitted through free space by a Hughes spark-gap device, and detected over a short distance ...
Radio Technology - Uses of Radio - Data (digital Radio)
... The oldest form of digital broadcast was spark gap telegraphy, used by pioneers such as Marconi ... the operator could send messages in Morse code by energizing a rotating commutating spark gap ... The rotating commutator produced a tone in the receiver, where a simple spark gap would produce a hiss, indistinguishable from static ...

Famous quotes containing the words gap and/or spark:

    For women the wage gap sets up an infuriating Catch-22 situation. They do the housework because they earn less, and they earn less because they do the housework.
    Sylvia Ann Hewitt (20th century)

    Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life!
    —Muriel Spark (b. 1918)