The working theory of Compact Fluorescent Lamp

History

A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), also called compact fluorescent light, energy-saving light, and compact fluorescent tube, is a fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp; some types fit into light fixtures formerly used for incandescent lamps. The lamps use a tube which is curved or folded to fit into the space of an incandescent bulb, and a compact electronic ballast in the base of the lamp.
Compared to general-service incandescent lamps giving the same amount of visible light, CFLs use one-fifth to one-third the electric power, and last eight to fifteen times longer. A CFL has a higher purchase price than an incandescent lamp, but can save over five times its purchase price in electricity costs over the lamp's lifetime. Like all fluorescent lamps, CFLs contain mercury, a neurotoxin especially dangerous to children and pregnant women , which complicates their disposal. In many countries, governments have established recycling schemes for CFLs and glass generally.
CFLs radiate a spectral power distribution that is different from that of incandescent lamps. Improved phosphor formulations have improved the perceived color of the light emitted by CFLs, such that some sources rate the best "soft white" CFLs as subjectively similar in color to standard incandescent lamps.


Design
 
There are two types of CFLs: integrated and non-integrated lamps. Integrated lamps combine the tube and ballast in a single unit. These lamps allow consumers to replace incandescent lamps easily with CFLs. Integrated CFLs work well in many standard incandescent light fixtures, reducing the cost of converting to fluorescent. 3-way lamp bulbs and dimmable models with standard bases are available.
Non-integrated CFLs have the ballast permanently installed in the luminaire, and only the lamp bulb is usually changed at its end of life. Since the ballasts are placed in the light fixture, they are larger and last longer compared to the integrated ones, and they don't need to be replaced when the bulb reaches its end-of-life. Non-integrated CFL housings can be both more expensive and sophisticated. They have two types of tubes: a bi-pin tube designed for conventional ballast, and a quad-pin tube designed for an electronic ballast or a conventional ballast with an external starter. A bi-pin tube contains an integrated starter, which obviates the need for external heating pins but causes incompatibility with electronic ballasts.
 
 
Non-integrated bi-pin double-turn CFL
 
 
An electronic ballast and permanently attached tube in an integrated CFL
CFLs have two main components: a magnetic or electronic ballast and a gas-filled tube (also called bulb or burner). Replacement of magnetic ballasts with electronic ballasts has removed most of the flickering and slow starting traditionally associated with fluorescent lighting, and has allowed the development of smaller lamps directly interchangeable with more sizes of incandescent bulb.
Electronic ballasts contain a small circuit board with rectifiers, a filter capacitor and usually two switching transistors. The incoming AC current is first rectified to DC, then converted to high frequency AC by the transistors, connected as a resonant series DC to AC inverter. The resulting high frequency is applied to the lamp tube. Since the resonant converter tends to stabilize lamp current (and light produced) over a range of input voltages, standard CFLs do not respond well in dimming applications and special lamps are required for dimming service.
Standard shapes of CFL tube are single-turn double helix, double-turn, triple-turn, quad-turn, circular, and butterfly.
CFL light output is roughly proportional to phosphor surface area, and high output CFLs are often larger than their incandescent equivalents. This means that the CFL may not fit well in existing light fixtures.
Some CFLs are labeled not to be run base up, since heat will shorten the ballast's life. Such CFLs are unsuitable for use in pendant lamps and especially unsuitable for recessed light fixtures. CFLs for use in such fixtures are available. Current recommendations for fully enclosed, unventilated light fixtures (such as those recessed into insulated ceilings), are either to use "reflector CFLs" (R-CFL), cold-cathode CFLs or to replace such fixtures with those designed for CFLs. A CFL will thrive in areas that have good airflow, such as in a table lamp.

 
Characteristics

<<Spectrum of light


CFLs emit light from a mix of phosphors inside the bulb, each emitting one band of color. Modern phosphor designs balance the emitted light color, energy efficiency, and cost. Every extra phosphor added to the coating mix improves color rendering but decreases efficiency and increases cost. Good quality consumer CFLs use three or four phosphors to achieve a "white" light with a color rendering index (CRI) of about 80, where the maximum 100 represents the appearance of colors under daylight or a black-body (depending on the correlated color temperature).
Color temperature can be indicated in kelvins or mireds (1 million divided by the color temperature in kelvins). The color temperature of a light source is the temperature of a black body that has the same chromaticity (i.e. color) of the light source. A notional temperature, the correlated color temperature, the temperature of a black body which emits light of a hue which to human color perception most closely matches the light from the lamp, is assigned.
A true color temperature is characteristic of black-body radiation; a fluorescent lamp may approximate the radiation of a black body at a given temperature, but will not have an identical spectrum. In particular, narrow bands of shorter-wavelength radiation are usually present even for lamps of low color temperature ("warm" light).
As color temperature increases, the shading of the white light changes from red to yellow to white to blue. Color names used for modern CFLs and other tri-phosphor lamps vary between manufacturers, unlike the standardized names used with older halophosphate fluorescent lamps. For example, Sylvania's Daylight CFLs have a color temperature of 3,500 K, while most other lamps called daylight have color temperatures of at least 5,000 K.

<<Lifespan


CFLs typically have a rated service life of 6,000 to 15,000 hours, whereas standard incandescent lamps have a service life of 750 or 1,000 hours. However, the actual lifetime of any lamp depends on many factors, including operating voltage, manufacturing defects, exposure to voltage spikes, mechanical shock, frequency of cycling on and off, lamp orientation, and ambient operating temperature, among other factors.
The life of a CFL is significantly shorter if it is turned on and off frequently. In the case of a 5-minute on/off cycle the lifespan of some CFLs may be reduced to that of incandescent light bulbs. The U.S. Energy Star program suggests that fluorescent lamps be left on when leaving a room for less than 15 minutes to mitigate this problem.[19] CFLs produce less light later in their lives than when they are new. The light output decay is exponential, with the fastest losses being soon after the lamp is first used. By the end of their lives, CFLs can be expected to produce 70–80% of their original light output. The response of the human eye to light is logarithmic. One photographic "f-stop" reduction represents a halving in actual light, but is subjectively quite a small change. A 20–30% reduction over many thousands of hours represents a change of about half an f-stop. So, presuming the illumination provided by the lamp was ample at the beginning of its life, such a difference will be compensated for by the eyes.
Fluorescent lamps get dimmer over their lifetime, so what starts out as an adequate luminosity may become inadequate. In one test by the U.S. Department of Energy of "Energy Star" products in 2003–04, one quarter of tested CFLs no longer met their rated output after 40% of their rated service life.

<<Energy efficiency


For more details on this topic, see Luminous efficacy.
Because the eye's sensitivity changes with the wavelength, the output of lamps is commonly measured in lumens, a measure of the power of light as perceived by the human eye. The luminous efficacy of lamps is the number of lumens produced for each watt of electrical power used. The luminous efficacy of a typical CFL is 50–70 lumens per watt (lm/W) and that of a typical incandescent lamp is 10–17 lm/W. Compared to a theoretical 100%-efficient lamp (680 lm/W), these lamps have lighting efficiency ranges of 7–10% for CFLs and 1.5–2.5% for incandescents.
Because of their higher efficacy, CFLs use between one-seventh and one-third of the power of equivalent incandescent lamps. Fifty to seventy percent of the world's total lighting market sales were incandescent in 2010. Replacing all inefficient lighting with CFLs would save 409 terawatt hours (TWh) per year, 2.5% of the world's electricity consumption. In the US, it is estimated that replacing all the incandescents would save 80 TWh yearly. Since CFLs use much less energy than incandescent lamps (ILs), a phase-out of ILs would result in less carbon dioxide (CO2) being emitted into the atmosphere. Exchanging ILs for efficient CFLs on a global scale would achieve annual CO2 reductions of 230 Mt (million tons), more than the combined yearly CO2 emissions of the Netherlands and Portugal.



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