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The ABCs of Xenon Arc Lamps and Their Incredibly Bright Light

Each arc light lamp consists of a heat-resistant glass arc tube made of quartz and similar materials, with a tungsten metal electrode on either end of said tube. This tube has its air evacuated or vacuumed out before it's refilled with xenon-gas. For flashtubes of this type, a third trigger electrode is included that surrounds the arc tube's exterior. The applications for the electronicx arc light are myriad. It can be used in entertainment, industrial, medical, and scientific applications. The lifespan of this lamp varies according to its power consumption and design, with major manufacturers of the lamp quoting average lifetimes of 1,500 hours for 1 kilowatt lamps and 500 hours for 7 kilowatt lamps. That's 20 days and 62 days respectively. What's not to lie about the arc light lamp?

The History of the Arc Lamp

  • The Gases Used for Arc Lamps: Aside from xenon-arc, there are also mercury-arc lamps being used as gas for this lamp type, particularly when it comes to 100-watt short-arc lamps used in reflectors. It was back in 1944 that the gas discharge was first discovered by P. Shulz, which followed his experiments that led to the development of high-color rendering and near-continuous spectrum of white light for this new type of lamp.
  • The Wartime Applications of Arc Lamps: There wasn't much progress in terms of arc lamps because of wartime limitations when it comes to noble gas availability. There was a delay in the development of the arc light lamp as a result of the ongoing World War II. It was only until 1949, when John Aldington from the lamp company known as British Siemens published the research that true progress for arc light lamp development came through.
  • German Osram Company: When Aldington published further work and knowledge of arc lamps that built upon the discoveries of P. Shulz when it comes to the lamp's high-color rendering and near-continuous spectrum of white light, that's when the German Osram Company went about intensive efforts to commercialize these findings into an arc light prototype. This resulted in cinema projection using xenon-based arc light instead of carbon arcs.
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