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The term "Semi-conductors" means "half-conductor", that is, a material whose conductivity ranges between that of con≠ductors and non-conductors of insulators.

They include a great variety of elements (silicon, germani≠um, selenium, phosphorus and others), many chemical compounds (oxides, sulphides) as well as numerous ores and minerals.While the conductivity of metals is very little influenced by temperature, the conductivity of semi-conductors increases sharply with heating and falls with cooling. This dependence has opened great prospects for employing semi-conductors in measuring techniques. Light as well as heat increases the con≠ductivity of semi-conducting materials, this principle being used in creating photo resistances. It is also widely applied for switching on engines, for counting parts on a conveyer belt, as well as for various systems of emergency signals and for re-producing sound in cinematography. Besides reacting to light, semi-conductors react to all kinds of radiations and are there≠fore employed in designing electronic counters.

Converting heat into electricity without using boilers or other machines was one of the most complicated engineering problems. This could be done by means of metal thermocouples which later were made of semi-conductors that generated ten times as much electricity as the metal ones.

Sunlight, like heat, can feed our electric circuits. Photo≠cells made of semi-conducting materials are capable of trans≠forming ten per cent of sun-ray energy into electric power. By burning wood which has accumulated the same amount of Molar energy, we obtain only fractions of one per cent of electric power. The electricity generated by semi-conductor ther≠mocouples can produce not only heat but also cold, this prin≠ciple being used in manufacturing refrigerators.

Semi-conducting materials are also excellent means of maintaining a constant temperature irrespective of the sur≠rounding temperature changes. The latter can vary over a wide range, for example, from 50į below 0į to 100į above 0į.

Semi-conductors are determining the progress of radio en≠gineering, automation, chemistry, electrical engineering and many other fields of science and technique.


Automation is the system of manufacture perform≠ing certain tasks,previously done by people, by machines only. Thesequences of operations are controlled auto≠matically. The most familiar example of a highly auto≠mated system is anassembly plant for automobiles or other complex products.

The term automation is also used to describenon-manufacturing systems in which automaticdevices can op≠erate independently of human control. Such devices as automatic pilots, automatic telephone equipment and automated control systems are used to perform various operations much faster and better than could be done by people.

Automated manufacturing had several steps in its development. Mechanization was the first step necessary in the development of automation. The simplification of work made it possible to design and build machines that resembled the motions of the worker. These specialized machines were motorized and they had better production efficiency.

Industrial robots, originally designed only to perform simple tasks in environments dangerous to human work≠ers, are now widely used to transfer, manipulate, and position both light and heavy workpieces performing all the functions of a transfer machine.

In the 1920s the automobile industry for the first time used an integrated system of production. This method of production was adopted by most car manufacturers and became known as Detroit automation.

The feedback principle is used in all automatic-con≠trol mechanisms when machines have ability to correct themselves. The feedback principle has been used for centuries. An outstanding early example is theflyball governor, invented in 1788 by James Watt to control the speed of thesteamengine. The commonhousehold ther≠mostat is another example of a feedback device.

Using feedback devices, machines can start, stop, speed up, slow down, count, inspect, test, compare, and measure. These operations are commonly applied to a wide variety of production operations.

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1889

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