In his introduction Dr. Waymouth remarks that “well over half the total amount of light produced in this country, and perhaps the world, is produced by electric discharge lamps.” This book brings together an extraordinary amount of data on all the major types of electric discharge lamps which are now in commercial use. Its scope has been limited, however, to a few resources which together account for 99% of the light produced by these lamps: fluorescent lamps, high-pressure mercury lamps, low- and high-pressure sodium lamps, and mental halide arc lamps. There is also a chapter on discharge lamp operating circuitry.
Electric discharge lamps share a number of common features, such as those associated with a radiating body of gas and certain properties of plasmas. Discussion of phenomena in connection with one of them can also apply to others, which enables the author to emphasize unique aspects of behavior in each type of lamp. Much of the material about each lamp type is concerned with the interaction of the various processes that occur and may be understood by readers with little or no mathematical or scientific background. Some chapters on mathematical analyses of specific discharge models may be omitted without missing the physics involved. In most cases technological development of electric discharge lamps has preceded scientific understanding—for instance, fluorescent lamps had been marketed for more than a decade with only a qualitative understanding of how they worked before the first quantitative analysis of the important physical processes was published.
This is the second volume in a new series, Research Monographs in Modern Electrical Technology, edited by Alexander Kusko, and it includes extensive references to published work in this area, as well as to previously unpublished work from the author's own laboratories.