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Quick Facts about Halogen Light Bulbs

Quick Facts about Halogen Light Bulbs
Electric bulbs, just like wheels are regarded to be the most revolutionary inventions of mankind. Let us know more about some halogen light bulb facts, in this article.
Kundan Pandey
The regular 60 watt incandescent bulb can be purchased from any retail store in your locality. It has been the most popular, economical and fundamental light source for many decades all across the world. However, in the past couple of decades (1990 - 2010), halogen based light lamps and bulbs have become more popular, giving stiff competition to the conventional electric bulbs. Halogen bulbs are not completely different from other types of bulbs but they are the modified and technologically advanced versions of the traditional ones.

Halogen Light Bulb Facts: An Overview

Fact #1: Gases Used in Halogen Light Bulbs
Generally, it is a lesser known fact that the working principle of the halogen light bulb is almost similar to that of our traditional electric bulbs. The main difference between these two modifications of common light sources is that halogen light bulbs use halogen gases inside them. In our conventional electric bulbs, inert gases like argon or sometimes, even nitrogen is used. Halogen gases, found in the group 17 of the periodic table are the five non-metallic elements that include iodine, astatine (liquids), bromine (liquid), fluorine (gas), chlorine (gas). The inert gases like argon, neon, xenon, krypton as well as the halogen gases are used in the lightning systems owing to some peculiar properties exhibited by them. In some high performance light bulbs, inert and halogen gases are mixed to produce more efficiency.

Fact #2: Working of a Halogen Light Bulb
As aforementioned, the working methodology of halogen light bulbs is similar to that of our normal electric bulbs with the only exception in the process that goes inside the bulb when it is glowing. In a typical electric bulb, when the power supply is switched ON, the filament (made of tungsten) inside it, is heated up to about 4,500 ºF (2,500 ºC). At such high temperatures, the tungsten filament glows radiating heat and light. Tungsten turns white hot after being heated to such high temperatures and emits light in the visible spectrum.

Fact#3: Merits of Halogen Light Bulbs Over Conventional Light Bulbs
Now, there are some potential demerits of a conventional electric bulb that are as follows.
  • It emits more heat than light thereby making the temperature across the bulb very high.
  • It is inefficient and wastage of energy because more heat is produced than light during its working.
  • Normal light bulbs are known to last only for 700 to 1100 hours when used normally.
  • Burn out incidents occur a lot because, as temperature increases some tungsten evaporates and deposits on the glass. Continuous heating further weakens the glass, eventually causing a crack.
In cases of halogen light bulbs, tungsten filaments that evaporate slowly after they are heated to such high temperatures are not directly deposited to the quartz envelope (in halogen light bulbs, generally quartz casing is used and not glass). This is owing to the fact that these bulbs contain halogen gases that have a unique property. The halogen gas in the encasing combines with the evaporating tungsten vapor to redeposit on the tungsten filament. This increases the life of the electric bulb as it doesn't crack easily even after long use. One of the most interesting halogen light bulb facts is the halogen cycle process. The presence of halogen gases helps in creating a reversible chemical reaction with the tungsten that is evaporating continuously from the filament. This recycling process of redeposition of halogen gas creates more efficient halogen light bulbs.

Fact #4: Safety Issues of Halogen Bulbs
One of the halogen light bulb facts that is held with great significance in the manufacturing world is related to the safety of these bulbs. Since the encasing or envelope of these bulbs is smaller and the filament is closer to the envelope, these bulbs get heated to very high temperatures. Touching quartz made halogen bulbs with bare hands can cause burns. It is said that if quartz envelopes are contaminated due to coming in touch with oil, they can weaken and break due to explosion in these bulbs. That is why, manufacturers discourage the touching of halogen bulbs with bare hands. Moreover, in places like theaters and public places, strict security standards are followed because it can lead to fire or accidents due to explosive bulb incidents. Emission of ultra violet rays from halogen light bulbs is also higher, so it is recommended to be enclosed in good casings that is ensured by the manufacturer.

While traditional electric bulbs can last for few months, halogen light bulbs generally last for a year or two. Halogen light bulbs provide more distinct light and are known to be more efficient, making them a better alternative for lightning source. While we may be using any of these bulbs, our experiences can be different because ultimately, even the brand of the electric bulb we are using matters a lot. If you buy local electric bulb brands, they may have a far lesser life, be it a normal bulb or a halogen using one.
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