Diode vs. Rectifier

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Diode and Rectifier is that the Diode is a abstract electronic component with two terminals that allows current to flow in one direction and Rectifier is a AC-DC conversion device; electrical device that converts alternating current (AC), which periodically reverses direction, to direct current (DC), which flows in only one direction

  • Diode

    A diode is a two-terminal electronic component that conducts current primarily in one direction (asymmetric conductance); it has low (ideally zero) resistance in one direction, and high (ideally infinite) resistance in the other. A diode vacuum tube or thermionic diode is a vacuum tube with two electrodes, a heated cathode and a plate, in which electrons can flow in only one direction, from cathode to plate. A semiconductor diode, the most commonly used type today, is a crystalline piece of semiconductor material with a p–n junction connected to two electrical terminals. Semiconductor diodes were the first semiconductor electronic devices. The discovery of asymmetric electrical conduction across the contact between a crystalline mineral and a metal was made by German physicist Ferdinand Braun in 1874. Today, most diodes are made of silicon, but other materials such as gallium arsenide and germanium are used.

  • Rectifier

    A rectifier is an electrical device that converts alternating current (AC), which periodically reverses direction, to direct current (DC), which flows in only one direction.

    The process is known as rectification, since it “straightens” the direction of current. Physically, rectifiers take a number of forms, including vacuum tube diodes, mercury-arc valves, stacks of copper and selenium oxide plates, semiconductor diodes, silicon-controlled rectifiers and other silicon-based semiconductor switches. Historically, even synchronous electromechanical switches and motors have been used. Early radio receivers, called crystal radios, used a “cat’s whisker” of fine wire pressing on a crystal of galena (lead sulfide) to serve as a point-contact rectifier or “crystal detector”.

    Rectifiers have many uses, but are often found serving as components of DC power supplies and high-voltage direct current power transmission systems. Rectification may serve in roles other than to generate direct current for use as a source of power. As noted, detectors of radio signals serve as rectifiers. In gas heating systems flame rectification is used to detect presence of a flame.

    Depending on the type of alternating current supply and the arrangement of the rectifier circuit, the output voltage may require additional smoothing to produce a uniform steady voltage. Many applications of rectifiers, such as power supplies for radio, television and computer equipment, require a steady constant DC voltage (as would be produced by a battery). In these applications the output of the rectifier is smoothed by an electronic filter, which may be a capacitor, choke, or set of capacitors, chokes and resistors, possibly followed by a voltage regulator to produce a steady voltage.

    More complex circuitry that performs the opposite function, converting DC to AC, is called an inverter.

  • Diode (noun)

    An electronic device that allows current to flow in one direction only; used chiefly as a rectifier.

  • Rectifier (noun)

    Something that rectifies.

  • Rectifier (noun)

    A device that converts alternating current into direct current; often a diode.

  • Rectifier (noun)

    An instrument used for determining and rectifying the variations of the compass on board ship.

  • Rectifier (noun)

    The activation function f(x) = max(0, x), where x is the input to a neuron.

  • Rectifier (noun)

    an electrical device which converts an alternating current into a direct one by allowing a current to flow through it in one direction only.

Oxford Dictionary

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