Definition - What does Rectifier mean?

Rectifier is an electric device which is used to convert alternating current to direct current. This process of converting AC to DC is known as rectification. It consists of diodes which convert AC to DC. The rectification process that produces the direct current comprises of active currents and voltages. These active currents and voltages are adjusted into a form of constant voltage direct current. The current flows in one direction and is not allowed to flow in the opposite direction.

These electrical devices take different shapes including:

  • Mercury-arc valves
  • Vacuum tube diodes
  • Selenium oxide rectifiers
  • Copper oxide rectifiers
  • Silicon-controlled rectifiers
  • Semiconductor diodes

Petropedia explains Rectifier

Rectifiers are used in many ways but most commonly, they are used as components of high-voltage DC power transmission systems and direct current power supplies. They are used in numerous devices, including radio signals and detectors, in flame rectification for detecting the presence of flames, as a source of power and in various household appliances to create power to devices such as laptops, notebooks, televisions and video games.

The main problem with Rectifiers is that the alternating current power has lows and peaks that may not produce constant direct current voltage. A filter or a smoothing circuit is coupled with it to receive smooth direct current.

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