What is a Rectifier Diode? Symbol & Uses (Explained)

A diode is a device that allows the flow of current in one direction only. There are many types of diodes, but the most popular one is a Rectifier diode. In this article, we will discuss what is a rectifier diode, where it is used and some of its popular types.

What is a Rectifier diode? Why is it called so?

Rectifier diode
Rectifier diode

A rectifier diode is a general-purpose P-N junction diode that is used to eliminate the negative half cycle of the input AC supply. To put it simply, a diode that can be used in a rectifier circuit is called a Rectifier diode, hence the name.

Now every diode type can be used to rectify the input voltage since they all block the current flow in the opposite direction (fundamental behavior). But there are certain parameters or specs of a Rectifier diode that makes it suitable for rectification purposes. For example, a rectifier diode has a high reverse voltage and low leakage current ratings.

So a rectifier diode is manufactured in such a way that it can be used in rectifier applications, AC to DC supply for example.

Diodes like Schottky and Zener diodes can also be used as rectifiers but they have low voltage and power ratings and high leakage current, etc. Plus they have their own applications. So why use them when we already have a diode for this specific purpose, Rectifier diode!

Symbol of Rectifier diode

What is a diode? Symbol
Rectifier diode symbol

Since a Rectifier diode is a PN junction diode, its symbol is a triangle pointing to a straight line. The triangle shows the direction in which the diode allows the current flow i.e, towards the straight line. The base of the triangle is the Anode or positive terminal and the line is the Cathode or negative terminal.

Must read: 10 Different Types of Diode – Symbol, Uses & Features Explained

Where is the Rectifier diode used?

Diode in a Rectifier circuit

Rectifier diodes are used in a variety of applications, including power supplies, Adapters, Battery chargers, Voltage doublers, and signal rectification. They are also commonly used in automotive electronics, as they are able to withstand high temperatures and vibrations.

Rectifier diodes can be used in both AC and DC circuits, making them versatile components for a wide range of electronic devices.

The main purpose or application of this diode is in Rectifier circuits due to ratings and characteristics.

Ratings of a Rectifier diode

Forward Voltage drop: The typical forward voltage drop of Rectifier diodes is 0.6 V to 0.8 V.

Peak repetitive reverse voltage: The maximum reverse voltage that can be applied to a rectifier diode can go up to several KiloVolts. For example, VRRM for 1N4007 is 1000 V.

Operating Temperature: Rectifier diodes are made to withstand extreme temperatures. For example, Tj for 1N4007 is -65 to 125 °C.

Power ratings: The power handling capability of a diode depend on the forward voltage drop and current rating i.e, P = V x I. For rectifier diodes, it can go up to several watts.

What are the popular Rectifier diodes?

The most common type of rectifier diode is the 1N400x series. These diodes are available in a range of voltage ratings, from 50 volts to 1,000 volts. The 1N400x series diodes are also widely used in power supplies, as they have a low forward voltage drop and can handle large currents.

1N4007 diode pinout
1N4007 diode

The other popular rectifier diode is the 1N54xx series. These diodes have a higher average forward current and low leakage current.

Read also: Beginners Guide to 1N4007 Diode- Specs, Pinout, Equivalent

Diode namePeak Reverse VoltageMax. forward currentMax Reverse currentPeak surge currentMax voltage drop
1N4001501 A0.03 mA30 A 1.1
1N40021001 A0.03 mA30 A 1.1
1N40032001 A0.03 mA30 A 1.1
1N40044001 A0.03 mA30 A 1.1
1N400710001 A0.03 mA30 A 1.1
1N54022003 A500 µ A200 A 1.2
1N54066003 A500 µ A200 A 1.2
1N540810003 A500 µ A200 A 1.2
Popular Rectifier diode and their specs

As discussed above, these diodes are mainly used for rectification purposes. Generally, there are two types of rectifier circuits: Half-wave Rectifier and Full-wave Rectifier circuits. To know more about these circuits, read this article.

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