Waveguide Joints and Maintenance
Since an entire waveguide system cannot possibly be molded into one piece, the waveguide must be constructed in sections and the sections connected with joints. The three basic types of waveguide joints are the PERMANENT, the SEMIPERMANENT, and the ROTATING JOINTS. Since the permanent joint is a factory-welded joint that requires no maintenance, only the semipermanent and rotating joints will be discussed.
Sections of waveguide must be taken apart for maintenance and repair. A semipermanent joint, called a CHOKE JOINT, is most commonly used for this purpose. The choke joint provides good electromagnetic continuity between sections of waveguide with very little power loss.
A cross-sectional view of a choke joint is shown in the two figures view A and B. The pressure gasket shown between the two metal surfaces forms an airtight seal. Notice in view B that the slot is exactly 1/4 wavelength from the "a" wall of the waveguide. The slot is also 1/4 wavelength deep, as shown in view A, and because it is shorted at point (1), a high impedance results at point (2). Point (3) is 1/4 wavelength from point (2). The high impedance at point (2) results in a low impedance, or short, at point (3). This effect creates a good electrical connection between the two sections that permits energy to pass with very little reflection or loss.
Whenever a stationary rectangular waveguide joint is to be connected to a rotating antenna, a rotating joint must be used. A circular waveguide joint is normally used in a rotating joint. Rotating a rectangular waveguide would cause field pattern distortion. The rotating section of the waveguide joint, illustrated in the next figure below, uses a choke joint to complete the electrical connection with the stationary section. The circular waveguide is designed so that it will operate in the TM0,1 mode. The rectangular waveguide joint sections are attached as shown in the illustration to prevent the circular waveguide from operating in the wrong mode.
Distance "O" is 3/4 wavelengths so that a high impedance will be presented to any unwanted modes. This is the most common design used for rotating joints, but other types may be used in specific applications.
The installation of a waveguide system presents problems that are not normally encountered when dealing with other types of transmission lines. These problems often fall within the technician's area of responsibility. A brief discussion of waveguide handling, installation, and maintenance will help prepare you for this maintenance responsibility. Detailed information concerning waveguide maintenance in a particular system may be found in the technical manuals for the system.
Since a waveguide naturally has a low loss ratio, most losses in a waveguide system are caused by other factors. Improperly connected joints or damaged inner surfaces can decrease the efficiency of a system to the point that it will not work at all. Therefore, you must take great care when working with waveguides to prevent physical damage.
Since waveguides are made from a soft, conductive material, such as copper or aluminum, they are very easy to dent or deform. Even the slightest damage to the inner surface of a waveguide will cause standing waves and, often, internal arcing. Internal arcing causes further damage to the waveguide in an action that is often self-sustaining until the waveguide is damaged beyond use. Part of your job as a technician will be to inspect the waveguide system for physical damage.
The previously mentioned dents are only one type of physical damage that can decrease the efficiency of the system. Another problem occurs because waveguides are made from a conductive material such as copper while the structures of most ships are made from steel. When two dissimilar metals, such as copper and steel, are in direct contact, an electrical action called ELECTROLYSIS takes place that causes very rapid corrosion of the metals.
Waveguides can be completely destroyed by electrolytic corrosion in a relatively short period of time if they are not isolated from direct contact with other metals. Any inspection of a waveguide system should include a detailed inspection of all support points to ensure that electrolytic corrosion is not taking place. Any waveguide that is exposed to the weather should be painted and all joints sealed. Proper painting prevents natural corrosion, and sealing the joints prevents moisture from entering the waveguide.
Moisture can be one of the worst enemies of a waveguide system. As previously discussed, the dielectric in waveguides is air, which is an excellent dielectric as long as it is free of moisture. Wet air, however, is a very poor dielectric and can cause serious internal arcing in a waveguide system. For this reason care is taken to ensure that waveguide systems are pressurized with air that is dry. Checking the pressure and moisture content of the waveguide air may be one of your daily system maintenance duties.
More detailed waveguide installation and maintenance information can be found in the technical manuals that apply to your particular system.
Become a loyal member to our site. It's free!
Translate your page
If English is not your first language you can Translate the text on this page to any one of the languages found in the drop down menu. Select your language from the list for an instant translation.
Looking for something unique for your project? Choose from the drop down menu for quick access to the item you seek.
If you like this site please pay it forward. Donations are welcome.