How Metal Halide Lights work Leave a comment

Metal Halide Lamp:

A metal halide lamp is an electric lamp that produces light by an electric arc through a gaseous mixture of vaporized mercury and metal halides. It is a type of High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamp.

They are like mercury vapor lamps, but they contain additional metal halide compounds in the quartz arc tube, which improves the efficiency and the color rendering ability of the light.

Due to their low material cost, high intensity and good quality of white light, Metal Halide lamps are a popular light source. The most prominent use of Metal Halide Lamp is in Warehouses, stadiums and sports arenas. They are also widely used in the parking lots and street lights.


In 1912, Charles P. Steinmetz first used halide salts in a mercury vapor lamp. He used the halides to correct the color and was successful. But, he couldn’t get a consistent arc.

Metal Halide Lamp was developed in 1960 by Dr. Reiling.

Basic Construction:

1.      Glass Bulb

2.      Arc Tube

3.      Electrodes

4.      Auxiliary Electrode

5.      Glass Stem

6.      Argon Gas

7.      Molybdenum Wire

8.      Mercury Vapor

9.      Indium, Thallium and Sodium Iodides.

The typical lifespan of Metal Halide lamps ranges from 6,000 hours to 15,000 a significant improvement over the Incandescent lights they’re meant to replace. However, Metal Halide Lights have a very high rate of Lumen depreciation, with some lights experiencing 40% depreciation at only 40% Elapsed life. 

Common applications for Metal Halide Lights include:

–          Parking Lots
–          High-bays
–          Stadiums
–          Sports Arenas
–          Factories
–          Street Lights
–          Automobiles
–          Photographic Lighting

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