Incandescent Lamps Information
Incandescent lamps generate light by passing an electric current through a thin filament wire until the wire is white-hot. They are used mainly in residential applications because they emit a warmer light that contains less red and blue. Incandescent lamps include enclosures (bulbs) made from a ribbon of hot glass that is first thickened and then blown into molds. These glass enclosures are then cooled, cut from the ribbon, and coated with a finishing material. The filament is formed by drawing tungsten metal into a tightly coiled wire. The finished filament is then clamped or welded to leads which are embedded in a glass supporting structure. This structure is then inserted into the bulb and the parts are fused together. When most of the oxygen has been removed, the bulb opening is sealed and a base is attached.
Incandescent lamps use several types of lamp bases.
- Candelabras and intermediate bases are designed for decorative lighting applications.
- Miniature candelabras are used in flashlights and instrument panels, typically under 30 volts.
- Single-contact and double-contact candelabras use bayonet connections instead of screw connections as contacts.
- Medium and three-contact medium lamp bases, some of which are skirted or flared, are typically used in household lamps up to 300 watts and in some mercury and sodium lamps below 100 watts.
- Mogul, mogul end prong, and three-contact mogul bases are used in mercury, metal halide, and sodium lamps over 300 watts.
Lamps requiring more than 200 volts are more likely to have a mogul (or larger) base rather than a medium base. Incandescent lamps with a recessed single contact are also available.
Important specifications to consider when searching for incandescent lamps include:
- Maximum overall length
- Light center length
- Life hours
- Color temperature
Typically, maximum overall length is expressed in inches (in). Light center length is the distance between the center of the filament and the light center length reference plane. Lamp labeling rules from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) define light output in lumens (lm), a standard unit of measure for the luminous flux or quality of light. Maximum overall length is usually expressed in inches. Mean lumens specify the average lamp output over a designated amount of time, usually 40% to 50% of the rated lamp life. Color temperature measures the visual "warmth" or "coolness" of the light from incandescent lamps. Higher values are associated with lights that are whiter in appearance.
Selecting incandescent bulbs also requires an analysis of filaments, most of which are made of tungsten. Filaments that begin with the letter "C" indicate that the wire was coiled once. Filaments that start with "CC" indicate that the wire was coiled twice. The letters or numbers that follow the "C" or "CC" indicate the position of the filament. C-filament designations include:
CC-filament designations include:
Other filament configurations for incandescent lamps include BP, FF, M, MP, and SC.
Related Products & Services
Fluorescent lamps are high-efficiency lamps that use electrical discharge through low-pressure mercury vapor to produce ultraviolet (UV) energy, which is then transformed into visible light.
Halogen lamps are high pressure incandescent lamps containing halogen gases such as iodine or bromine, which allow the filaments to be operated at higher temperatures and higher efficacies.
Heat lamps are also known as infrared emitters, infrared bulbs, infrared tubes, or infrared lamps. Heat lamps differ from illuminating lamps in their low filament temperature, resulting in much less light and more infrared radiation.
High Intensity Discharge Lamps
High intensity discharge lamps (HID) contain compact arc tubes, which enclose various gases and metal salts, operating at relatively high pressures and temperatures. HID lamps are often used as UV light sources.
Lamps are light sources that emit incoherent light for illumination. There are many different types of products. Examples include fluorescent lamps, halogen lamps, heat lamps, incandescent lamps, LED lamps, projection lamps, spectral lamps, and stage lamps. Specialized and proprietary lamps are also available.
Projection lamps use a built-in reflector to concentrate light in a particular direction. They are used in applications such as slide projection, microfilm, overhead projection, movies, medical / scientific instruments, airport runways, and others.
Stage lamps are used for stage, studio, or television lighting. They are often made of quartz instead of glass to provide higher pressure ratings, higher melting temperatures, and more energy-efficient designs.