High Pressure Sodium Lights
High pressure sodium lights are common types of fixtures found in most applications where a large amount of light is needed. Among the advantages of high pressure sodium light bulbs is the fact that they offer good efficiency in comparison to other types. They can produce approximately 80 to 140 lumens per watt. They also are smaller than other types of bulbs and have longer life spans than low pressure sodium lights.
A typical high pressure sodium lamp can last up to 24,000 hours. They provide significant value because they can be retrofitted into older mercury vapor fixtures. Combined with their energy efficiency, they’re a good choice for updating older buildings.
However, they also come with several disadvantages when compared to other options. For example, they provide inferior color rendering next to metal halide and halogen bulbs. In addition, their less-efficient ballast reduces their net efficiency in comparison with alternatives.
Types and Uses of Sodium Lights
These varieties of lamps were first produced in Holland in 1932. There are two kinds of these lights: low pressure (LPS) and high pressure (HPS). These lamps are mostly used for street lighting as well as outdoor, municipal, home yard and high bay applications.
The HPS lamp is the most ubiquitous lamp for street lighting. The lamp is an improvement over the LPS lamp in that it has more acceptable color. Still, the better color rendering comes with a bit of sacrifice, as it is somewhat less efficient. These lamps were introduced in 1964.
How Sodium Lamps Work
Sodium lamps work by creating an electric arc through vaporized sodium metal. Other materials and gases are used to help start the lamp or control its color. The HPS lamp consists of a narrow arc tube supported by a frame in a bulb. The tube is highly pressurized for higher efficiency. Sodium, mercury and xenon are usually inside. The arc tube is made of aluminum oxide ceramic, which is resistant to the corrosive effects of alkalis such as sodium.
The lamp comes in several variations, but the most common way to start one is with a pulse. There is an igniter built into the ballast. This sends a pulse of high-voltage energy through the tube. This pulse starts an arc through the xenon gas. It begins to turn sky blue as the xenon lights. The mercury then heats up and the mercury vapor lights, giving it a more bluish color. As it continues to heat, the sodium is the last material to vaporize. The sodium vapor strikes an arc at more than 240 degrees Celsius. This is mixed with other impurities to create a whiter light. The more natural colored light results because the sodium’s pure yellow light mixes with the bluer hues created by the other gases.
These lamps contain highly volatile substances. When exposed to air, the sodium may explode. That is why sodium lamps should not be disposed of in the normal manner as other types of household waste. There have been numerous cases of garbage trucks catching fire when the bulbs in the back broke. These also contain mercury, which is a serious health hazard. The newer LPS lamps contain less mercury than before, but this has affected performance negatively.
Your One-Stop Source for HPS Lights
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To take full advantage of our knowledge and offerings, get in touch with us today. We’re ready to help you learn more about your project or place an order!