In the Spotlight #8: Ceramic Light Bulbs
In order for light bulbs and lighting related products get better and more durable, more materials need to be added their construction in order to strengthen the existing materials and allow the bulbs to withstand higher operating temperatures. In browsing light bulbs you may have come across lamps that feature ceramic materials or ceramic sockets? What exactly does a ceramic bulb or socket entail? In this article I will answer this question and detail some of the products that include ceramics. Ceramics have been long used in electronics because they have some remarkable abilities as current insulators and semiconductors. Even more amazing, ceramics can be integrated with glass to produce glass-ceramic which is stronger than ordinary glass and can withstand rapid and wide temperature fluctuations. These characteristics make ceramics very useful for lighting products. The most common place for ceramics is in HID light bulbs, in particular metal halide lamps. From metal halide PARs for stage lighting to metal halide MR16s, and for other metal halides used for TV/Film production, ceramic metal halide lamps can be found. A ceramic metal halide bulb replaces the quartz arc tube with a glass-ceramic arc tube which can withstand longer durations of bulb operation and higher temperatures, ensuring longer lamp life and better light quality. Ceramic bulbs are particularly useful in applications like medical lighting where you require high quality light for potentially long durations of continuous use. Ceramics can also be found in Xenon medical lamps headlamps, or in both metal halides and xenon bulbs, ceramic arc tubes also resist the gradual degradation and failure of the tube itself, thus protecting the bulb against premature failure. There are also ceramic light sockets, which are used in sockets for all types of bulbs including medium screw bases and MR16s. Ceramic sockets provide excellent current insulation and make the conductivity of the electrical current that much more safe and efficient.