Lighting Research Center Lighting Research Center
    Volume 9 Issue 1
June 2006    
average rated life - The number of hours at which half of a large group of product samples fail under standard test conditions. Rated life is a median value; any lamp or group of lamps may vary from the published rated life. ballast factor (BF) - The ratio of the light output of a fluorescent lamp or lamps operated on a ballast to the light output of the lamp(s) operated on a standard (reference) ballast. Ballast factor depends on both the ballast and the lamp type; a single ballast can have several ballast factors depending on lamp type. color rendering index (CRI) - A rating index commonly used to represent how well a light source renders the colors of objects that it illuminates. For a CRI value of 100, the maximum value, the colors of objects can be expected to be seen as they would appear under an incandescent or daylight spectrum of the same correlated color temperature (CCT). Sources with CRI values less than 50 are generally regarded as rendering colors poorly, that is, colors may appear unnatural. rapid start - A method of starting fluorescent lamps in which the electrodes are heated prior to starting, using a starter that is an integral part of the ballast. Heating the electrodes before starting the lamps reduces the voltage required to strike the electric arc between the electrodes. A rapid-start system starts smoothly, without flashing. initial light output - A lamp's light output, in lumens, after 100 hours of seasoning. instant start - A method of starting fluorescent lamps in which the voltage that is applied across the electrodes to strike the electric arc is up to twice as high as it is with other starting methods. The higher voltage is necessary because the electrodes are not heated prior to starting. This method starts the lamps without flashing. It is more energy efficient than rapid or preheat starting, but results in greater wear on the electrodes during starting. The life of instant-start lamps that are switched on and off frequently may be reduced by as much as 25 percent relative to rapid-start operation. However, for longer burning cycles (such as 12 hours per start), there may be no difference in lamp life for different starting methods. correlated color temperature (CCT) - A specification for white light sources used to describe the dominant color tone along the dimension from warm (yellows and reds) to cool (blue). Lamps with a CCT rating below 3200 K are usually considered warm sources, whereas those with a CCT above 4000 K usually considered cool in appearance. Temperatures in between are considered neutral in appearance. Technically, CCT extends the practice of using temperature, in kelvins (K), for specifying the spectrum of light sources other than blackbody radiators. Incandescent lamps and daylight closely approximate the spectra of black body radiators at different temperatures and can be designated by the corresponding temperature of a blackbody radiator. The spectra of fluorescent and LED sources, however, differ substantially from black body radiators yet they can have a color appearance similar to a blackbody radiator of a particular temperature as given by CCT. mean light output - Light output typically evaluated at 40% of rated lamp life. In combination with initial light output, mean light output may be used to estimate lamp lumen depreciation. lamp efficacy - The ratio of the light output of a lamp (lumens) to its active power (watts), expressed as lumens per watt (LPW). color rendering - A general expression for the effect of a light source on the color appearance of objects in conscious or subconscious comparison with their color appearance under a reference light source. system efficacy - Also referred to as relative system efficacy, system efficacy is a measurement of a system'’s ability to convert electricity into light. Measured in lumens per watt (LPW), system efficacy is the ratio of the light output (in lumens) to the active power (in watts). lumen maintenance - The ability of a lamp to retain its light output over time. Greater lumen maintenance means a lamp will remain brighter longer. The opposite of lumen maintenance is lumen depreciation, which represents the reduction of lumen output over time. Lamp lumen depreciation factor (LLD) is commonly used as a multiplier to the initial lumen rating in illuminance calculations to compensate for the lumen depreciation. The LLD factor is a dimensionless value between 0 and 1. spectral power distribution (SPD) - A representation of the radiant power emitted by a light source as a function of wavelength. chromaticity - The dominant or complementary wavelength and purity aspects of the color taken together, or of the aspects specified by the chromaticity coordinates of the color taken together. It describes the properties of light related to hue and saturation, but not luminance (brightness). full-spectrum color index (FSCI) - A mathematical transformation of full-spectrum index into a zero to 100 scale, where the resulting values are directly comparable to color rendering index. An equal energy spectrum is defined as having an FSCI value of 100, a “standard warm white” fluorescent lamp has an FSCI value of 50, and a monochromatic light source (e.g., low pressure sodium) has an FSCI value of 0. gamut area - A measure of color rendering based upon volume in color space. It is the range of colors achievable on a given color reproduction medium (or present in an image on that medium) under a given set of viewing conditions. CIE - Abbreviated as CIE from its French title Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage, the International Commission on Illumination is a technical, scientific, and cultural organization devoted to international cooperation and exchange of information among its member countries on matters relating to the science and art of lighting. standard deviation - A measure of the average distance of a set of data points from their mean. A set of data points that are all close to their mean will have a smaller standard deviation than a set of points that are further from their mean. RE90 - Designation referring to lamps that use rare-earth phosphors and have color-rendering index values equal to or greater than 90. RE80 HLO, LL - An RE80 lamp with additional enhancements of high light output (HLO) and/or long life (LL). RE80 - Designation referring to lamps that use rare-earth phosphors and have color-rendering index values of 80-89. RE70 - Designation referring to lamps that use rare-earth phosphors and have color-rendering index values of 70-79. combined uncertainty - Combined uncertainty is calculated by finding the sum of the squares of sample random variability (standard deviation) and laboratory measurement uncertainty and taking the square root of that sum. MacAdam ellipse - Researcher David L. MacAdam showed that a just noticeable difference (JND) in the colors of two lights placed side-by-side was about three times the standard deviation associated with making color matches between a reference light and a test light (MacAdam 1942, Wyszecki and Stiles 1982). These JNDs form an elliptical pattern of "constant discriminability" in a chromaticity space, centered on the chromaticity of a reference light, known as MacAdam ellipse.
What is the color of T8 fluorescent lamps?

Describing color can be complex. The human eye is selectively and differentially sensitive to a portion of the wavelengths (approximately 380 nm to 780 nm) emitted by light sources. The photoreceptors in our eyes, rods and cones, respond to these wavelengths, and neural processes in the brain create perceptions of color. No single metric fully describes the perceived color of light sources or how lamps render the color of other objects. Different metrics describe different aspects of color such as naturalness, discriminability, and vividness (saturation). For more details on color, see NLPIP report Lighting Answers: Light Sources and Color.

Determining the color properties of a light source starts with a measurement of the spectral power distribution (SPD), which provides the physical data needed for colorimetric calculations. The SPD is graphical or tabulated data representing the radiant power emitted by a light source at each wavelength, or narrow bands of wavelengths, in the visible region.

NLPIP tested three T8 lamp samples from each of 12 models and calculated their chromaticity coordinates to determine if there were perceptible differences in color. The 12 models consisted of RE80 and RE80 HLO, LL lamps of two correlated color temperatures (CCT) (3500 K and 4100 K) from three manufacturers. Figure 11 shows the chromaticity coordinates of these lamps on a portion of the 1931 CIE chromaticity diagram. The chromaticity coordinates of the three samples of each model were very close together and would fit within a 1-step MacAdam ellipse (not shown in the figure). These small variations suggest that there are no perceived color differences within each lamp model.

The 4-step ellipses for chromaticity tolerance prescribed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI C78.376-2001) are shown in Figure 11. The chromaticity coordinates of all but one of the lamp models fall within their prescribed ellipses. However, models with chromaticity coordinates that lie at the opposing ends of the ellipses may show perceptible color differences.

Figure 11. Chromaticity coordinates of tested lamps

The concept of color rendering describes the effect of a light source on the color appearance of objects. NLPIP evaluated three color-rendering metrics for T8 fluorescent lamps of a given CCT: color rendering index (CRI), a measure of naturalness; full-spectrum color index (FSCI), a measure of discriminability; and gamut area (GA), a measure of vividness. NLPIP found very small differences in these metrics for the models evaluated. For complete details, Appendix B: Color rendering of T8 fluorescent lamps. For more information about CRI, FSCI, and GA, see the NLPIP report Lighting Answers: Light Sources and Color.


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