Thermionic conversors

12 Aug

Thermoionic conversors are a primary source of electric energy (see article in Popular Mechanics 1979). It makes the direct conversion of heat to electricity. In an experiment realized in 1883, Thomas Alva Edison made a simple experiment, while pursuing his experiments on incandescent electric lamps. Edison placed a metal plate near the glowing hairpinlegs of the filament in the lamp’s vacuum chamber, connected a galvanometer between the plate and the positive terminal of the filament and measure an electric current. By the contrary, when he connected to the negative terminal of the hairspin he detected no current. At the time Edison left to others a physical explanation, which was later given by J. A. Fleming’s thermionic valve (Patent here) and it is known as the “Edison Effect”.

Due to its importance and wide range of application, among them

-solar power plants;

-cogeneration (of both heat and electricity) in industrial procesees;

– power plant topping;

– renewed interest due to applications in nuclear space poweer.

the interest on the working of this energy converter device remains strong.

Researhers at the University of Missouri succeeded to develop tiny nuclear batteries that hold a million times more charge than standard batteries.

Further information on new advancements can be read here.

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