What are xenon lights and how can they be used?
In our blog we have talked about different types of bulb, but in this post we are going to talk specifically about xenon lights.
What is xenon?
Xenon is a chemical element in the periodic table. Its symbol is Xe and its atomic number is 54. It is an odourless noble gas that is very heavy and colourless. It is present in the Earth's atmosphere with a minimal percentage.
It has numerous applications, from anaesthetic in general anaesthesia to photographic flashes, as well as printers and photocopiers (so that the light seals the ink on the paper).
How do xenon lights work?
Xenon bulbs are a type of gas discharge lamp. Electricity passing through the ionised xenon gas produces powerful, bright, crisp light. Xenon bulbs are commonly used in vehicle headlights, but because of their characteristics, they can be used as lighting in the home or in a workspace.
If we focus on car headlights, most xenon headlights consist of a transparent quartz housing filled with high-pressure gases. At each end there is a tungsten electrode. When ignited, a high-voltage pulse generates a spark which ionises the xenon gas. This produces a current between the electrodes, the gases are heated, and light is emitted. At first, the light has a bluish or lavender tone, although after a few minutes it acquires a white temperature. The xenon gas is only used for ignition, it is the other gases that radiate the light.
Advantages of xenon lamps
Xenon bulbs have the following advantages:
They provide powerful, bright light: this is very useful in areas where meticulous work is undertaken, for example, in a kitchen or a dental surgery. Xenon lights provide 3,000 lumens 90 Mcd/m2 of light, well above halogens, which provide 1,400 lumens and 30 Mcd/m2.
The colour and intensity of xenon bulbs are very similar to daylight (4,000K-6,000K), so they do not damage or tire the eyesight. Halogens emit a yellowish light (3,200-5,000K) while LED lights can be whatever colour you want, depending on the manufacturing process.
They are long-lasting: Xenon bulbs have a longer average useful life than halogens: 2,500 hours for xenon lights compared to 1,000 hours for halogens. However, LED lights have a longer useful life than both halogens and xenon lights.
They are safe: this type of bulb radiates less heat than other bulbs, so the risk of accident or burns is reduced.
They are low consumption: Xenon headlights have an average consumption of 35 W, while halogen headlights consume 55 W. LED headlights use as little as 8 W.
The disadvantage of xenon lamps compared to other types is their high price.
Uses of xenon lamps
Xenon light lamps in cars
This is the most common use for xenon lights, because of the advantages we have seen above. They give drivers greater visibility and sharpness over a wider area of driving. They are especially suitable for those who drive at night, because studies show that drivers react earlier to xenon lights than to other types of lights, which gives them a prominent role in road safety. However, it is important to level the beam of light, because it can dazzle other vehicles.
At the beginning of the 1990s, this type of headlights became popular, in up-market cars generally, compared to halogen headlights, although today many drivers prefer LED technology because of the low cost.
It should be born in mind that xenon headlights need to be handled in a workshop and that they are not suitable for use in all cars: They need to be installed, repaired and replaced by professionals.
Xenon light lamps in the home
As already mentioned, the characteristics of xenon lights make them a highly recommended solution for lighting in kitchens and offices. They are very useful for illuminating worktops, by placing the lamps under the upper cabinets in the kitchen.
Xenon light lamps for businesses
Xenon lamps are a good option for lighting work areas, from workshops to doctor's surgeries, offices and academies. They are also excellent in the retail trade for product display, either indoors or in shop windows, since the characteristics of this type of light enhance the visual appearance of the products.
Requirements to be taken into account
Some xenon bulbs may contain toxic substances such as mercury, so we recommend you to be very careful when handling them or to leave this to a professional.