AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, AND FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

What Are Bridge Rectifiers?

Bridge rectifiers are a type of discrete semiconductor module product. They are built to convert AC (alternating current) input to DC (direct current) output, which is usable device power. As such, these electronic components are often used in many different kinds of circuits, workplace appliances, and electrical products. This means that it is crucial to select the best rectifier for your particular application, as there are many different types available.

Structure and Functionality of Bridge Rectifiers

In general, a bridge rectifier is a significant electronic item that features an arrangement of at least four diodes in a bridge circuit configuration. Bridge rectifier diodes feature a constant output polarity, and they permit currents to flow through them in one direction.

Raw AC power sometimes alters the course of its own flow, which is why bridge rectifiers are so important. Oftentimes, AC power causes electrons from the main source to move back and forth, and this bidirectional output needs to be converted into an electron stream flowing all in the same direction. This process results in an output of DC which allows the device to achieve stable power. Diode bridge rectifiers are responsible for this direction-changing capability, and they are now found in nearly all electrically-powered devices. They act as a type of transformer between the AC and DC output which powers the components in the device and are often attached to a circuit through a two-wire AC input connection.

Operation and Types

In a bridge rectifier, once the power current passes through the arrangement of four diodes in the circuit, it consistently begins to flow in the same direction. Correctly arranging the diodes in a bridge circuit guarantees unidirectional DC power output, even if the input was flowing in multiple directions before. Additionally, bridge rectifiers are simultaneously able to offer some reverse-polarity protection. Reverse polarity happens when the leads of a DC-powered device are attached from the front to back or when the batteries are placed incorrectly in the system. This reverse polarity keeps the product from properly functioning and has the potential to damage the remainder of the circuit.

History of Bridge Rectifier

Diode bridge circuits were first produced in the 1890s by Polish scientist Karol Pollack who patented his design in 1895. Shortly thereafter, German physicist Leo Graetz constructed his version which featured some modifications and improvements to the original design. This updated bridge rectifier became more widely used and has since been coined a Graetz bridge. Modern bridge rectifiers are small, compact, and efficient, in addition to being far cheaper than in the past. They are often used in power supplies and general circuit design applications.

Types of Bridge Rectifiers

There exists both full-wave bridge rectifiers and half-wave bridge rectifiers which perform the same actions using different methods. Sometimes called full bridge rectifiers, full-wave rectification occurs when the diode bridge changes the negative part of an AC input to a positive voltage by rectifying the rest of the signal to DC power. On the other hand, half-wave rectification involves a different first step; this rectifier uses one diode to remove the current, then the remainder of the bridge changes the other half of the signal to a DC output. Full-wave rectifiers are more efficient than their counterparts.

Applications and Procurement

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