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Lost benefit: A trivia question

Forum to discuss all areas of lighthouse technology such as optics, fuels, fog signals, radiobeacons, daymarks, construction, etc.

Postby island » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:09 am


With the introduction of the Fresnel lens and improved lamp design the long sought after increased light intensity was achieved to produce a light of greater visibility for the benefit of mariners. :D But in this there is a point where the benefit of such would drastically reduce and the light would become a liability :( , much the same as that of the weight of one more stick causing the wood pile to collapse. 8O With respect to the lights what or where is this point at which a lighthouse will become a serious hazard to navigation?
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Postby Kevin vk2ce » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:23 am


Good question to which I don't yet know the answer. One comment I could make it that light causes heat and too much light generates too much heat which could cause the light to fail eith by fire or explosion in which case there would be no light and ships could run aground.

I'll ponder the topic.
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Postby island » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:39 am


You are half way there. Heat does cause filament degradation.

As a matter of interest, though not the answer to this trivia, when lighthouse authorities were seeking to replace kerosene by electric incandescent the bulb filament was of concern as related to bulb life (burn out or bulb glass blackening) thus the right type of filament for a bulb producing the desired high brightness and intensity was most significant. This relates to the electrical resistance of the filament wire of various types and the treatment applied to the wire as part of bulb manufacture. Much research and development was centered on this short piece of tiny wire as well as Supreme Court involvement in a patent dispute between Edison (the defendant) and another party who alleged patent violation by Edison.
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Postby island » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:15 pm


The problem is loss of night vision when navigating a ship in a confined area. This if a light is excessively bright and directly ahead making it difficult to observe unlighted buoys or fixed markers or possible floating obstruction such as a boat with weak lights or no lights displayed. Much the same as when driving at night and with a vehicle parked facing you with its lights on high beam.
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