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Clarence Melvin Zener (1905–1993) was the American physicist who first described the property concerning the breakdown of electrical insulators. These findings were later exploited by Bell Labs in the development of the Zener diode, which was duly named after him. Zener was a theoretical physicist with a background in mathematics who conducted research in a wide range of subjects including superconductivity, metallurgy, ferromagnetism, elasticity, fracture mechanics, diffusion and, geometric programming.
Zener was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and earned his PhD in physics at Harvard in 1929. His thesis was entitled Quantum Mechanics of the Formation of Certain Types of Diatomic Molecules.
Zener was known both for his dislike of experimental work on practical problems within the arena of applied physics, in which he was very insightful. Although he had a reputation of being very successful in these endeavors, he apparently considered himself as being less qualified to work on purely theoretical physics problems.and for preferring to
A Zener diode behaves like an ordinary diode up to a certain point. In other words, it acts as a one way electrical valve that allows electricity to flow in one direction only. It does this up to a certain point. However, when voltage acting against the normal flow rises to a certain point, the Zener collapses and conducts freely in both directions. It will continue to do that until the voltage acting against the Zener drops below a given value. Once this happens, the Zener again behaves like an ordinary diode.
Non-ferrous metal with excellent resistance to corrosion. Often used to cover and protect mild steel-for example in corrugated roof sheets.