Geissler tube


Geissler tube

The Geissler tube is a glass tube for demonstrating the principles of electrical glow discharge. The tube was invented by the German physicist and glassblower Heinrich Geissler in 1857. The Geissler tube was an evacuated glass cylinder with an electrode at each end. A Geissler tube contain one or more of the following: rarefied (thinned) gasses such as neon, argon, or air; mercury or other conductive liquids; or ionizable minerals or metals, such as sodium. When a high voltage is applied to the terminals an electrical current flows through the tube. The current will disassociate electrons from the gas molecules, creating ions and when electrons recombine with the ions different lighting effects are created. The light will be characteristic of the material contained within the tube and will be composed of one or more narrow spectral lines.

Application

Geissler tubes were mass produced from the 1880s as entertainment devices, with various spherical chambers and decorative serpentine paths formed into the glass tube. When the tube was handled (the terminals were insulated) the shape of the plasma changed. Some tubes were very elaborate and complex in shape and would contain chambers within an outer casing. If these were spun at high speed a visual disk of color was seen due to persistence of vision. (Somewhat similar devices in the form of stationary globes are now produced and sold for personal amusement.) As an educational tool they are also used to demonstrate the movement of electrons and the principles of a vacuum.

Influence

It was observed that under some conditions the glass envelope would itself glow at the positive (anode) end. This glow was attributed to the transmission of a ray from the negative cathode at the opposite end of the device, and so were named cathode rays. William Crookes developed a modification of the Geissler tube into what is known as the Crookes tube to demonstrate and study these rays, later determined to be a stream of electrons. This device was further developed into the cathode ray tube with applications in electronics development and diagnosis, and in radar and television displays.

Geissler tubes have had a large impact on the development of many instruments and devices all of which use related vacuum and discharge principles.
*Xenon flash lamps (for flash photography),
*Xenon arc lamps (for automobile headlights),
*X-ray tubes,
*sodium vapor lamps of low and high pressure,
*"Neon" signs (both using visible light discharge from neon and other gases and indirectly through phospor excitation from ultraviolet light)
*Mercury vapor lamps,
*Mass spectrometry devices,
*Cathode ray tube (employed in the Oscilloscope (an electronic diagnostic device) and later as a television, radar, and computer display device),
*Electrotachyscope (an early moving picture display device), and
*Fluorescent lamps.

ee also

;People: William Crookes;Devices: Cathode ray tube (CRT), Crookes tube, Induction coil, Neon sign, X-ray tube

External links

* [http://www.sparkmuseum.com/GLASS.HTM Sparkmuseum: Crookes and Geissler Tubes]
* [http://physics.kenyon.edu/EarlyApparatus/Static_Electricity/Geissler_Tubes/Geissler_Tubes.html Instruments for Natural Philosophy: Geissler Tubes]
* [http://www.electricstuff.co.uk/ Mike's Electric Stuff: Geissler Tubes]
* [http://members.chello.nl/~h.dijkstra19/page6.html The Cathode Ray Tube site]
* [http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=AlastairWright Geissler and Crookes tubes shown working]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Geissler tube — [gīs′lər] n. [after H. Geissler (1814 79), Ger inventor] a glass tube having two electrodes and containing a gas which, when electrified, takes on a luminous glow of a color characteristic of the gas: used in spectroscopy, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Geissler tube — Geis sler tube (Elec.) A glass tube provided with platinum electrodes, and containing some gas under very low tension, which becomes luminous when an electrical discharge is passed through it; so called from the name of a noted maker in germany.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Geissler tube — Geislerio vamzdis statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. Geissler tube vok. Geißler Röhre, f; Geißlersche Röhre, f rus. гейслерова трубка, f; трубка Гейслера, f pranc. tube de Geissler, m …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

  • Geissler tube — /guys leuhr/ a sealed glass tube with platinum connections at the ends, containing rarefied gas made luminous by an electrical discharge. [1865 70; named after H. Geissler (1814 79), German inventor] * * * …   Universalium

  • Geissler tube — [ gʌɪslə] noun a sealed tube of glass or quartz with a central constriction, filled with vapour for the production of a luminous electrical discharge. Origin C19: named after its German inventor Heinrich Geissler …   English new terms dictionary

  • Geissler tube — /ˈgaɪslə tjub/ (say guysluh tyoohb) noun a sealed glass tube with platinum connections at the ends, containing rarefied gas made luminous by an electrical discharge. {named after H Geissler, 1814–79, German mechanic} …   Australian English dictionary

  • geissler tube — n. a sealed tube of glass or quartz with a central constriction, filled with vapour for the production of a luminous electrical discharge. Etymology: H. Geissler, Ger. mechanic d. 1879 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Geissler, Heinrich — ▪ German glassblower in full  Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Geissler   born May 26, 1815, Igelshieb, Thuringia, Saxe Meiningen [Germany] died January 24, 1879, Bonn, Prussia [Germany]       German glassblower for whom the Geissler (mercury) pump and… …   Universalium

  • tube de Geissler — Geislerio vamzdis statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. Geissler tube vok. Geißler Röhre, f; Geißlersche Röhre, f rus. гейслерова трубка, f; трубка Гейслера, f pranc. tube de Geissler, m …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

  • tube — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. pipe, hose, conduit; tunnel, subway; slang, television. See passage. II (Roget s IV) n. 1. [A hollow cylinder] Syn. conduit, hose, test tube, tubing, tunnel, loom, subway; see also pipe 1 . 2. [A… …   English dictionary for students


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