A halogen light bulb or halogen lamp is a type of incandescent lamp that utilizes halogen gas to increase both light output and rated life. Halogen lamps are known for their high efficiency, quality of light, and high rated life in comparison to standard incandescent lamps or bulbs. The history of the halogen lamp mirrors that of the incandescent lamp. The use of chlorine to prevent blackening of lamps was patented in 1882, and general Electric patented the first commercially viable halogen lamp in 1959. At this time, the lamp used iodine as the halogen gas.
Halogen lamps function almost identically to incandescent lamps, apart from one important exception: the halogen cycle. In a standard incandescent lamp, tungsten slowly evaporates from the burning filament. This results in the darkening of the lamp, which in turn decreases light output and reduces life. Halogen lamps are able to almost completely eliminate this issue. This is because the halogen gas reacts with the tungsten to prevent it from attaching itself to the glass. Some tungsten is returned to the filament, which helps in increasing the rated life of the lamp. Due to the high temperatures required for this reaction being higher than a typical incandescent bulb can withstand, halogen lamps are typically made from quartz.
Halogen lamps have a broad range of uses in both commercial and residential applications. They are used in automotive headlights, under-cabinet lighting, and work lighting. Furthermore, halogen reflectors such as MR and PAR lights are often used for directing lighting including spotlights and floodlights. Halogen lamps are also gaining popularity as a more efficient alternative to incandescent reflectors. There are very few areas in which halogen lamps cannot be used, but the high heat generated by halogen lamps makes them unsuitable for certain applications such as HVAC applications. Nevertheless, halogen lamps are a highly beneficial light source.
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