When such lamps are switched on they require some time to warm up because of the thermal inertia of the considerable mass of the metal and insulating material that has to be heated.
Non – luminous lamps take longer than luminous lamps to reach a stable, peak level of heat emission as the molecular oscillation causing heating spreads through the body of the heater.
Luminous generators (incandescent lamps) consist of a tungsten filamentin a large glass envelope, which contains inert gas at low pressure.
Part of the inside of the glass bulb is often silvered to provide a reflector.
These lamps work on the same principle as a simple electric light bulb;
the filament is heated to a high temperature (around 3000
C) by the current passed through it and so gives off a continuous spectrum in the infrared and visible regions
Oxidation of the filament does not occur because there is no oxygen present, only a trace of some inert gas.
The peak emission occurs at near 1000 nm but radiation extends from the long infrared throughout the visible to the ultraviolet. These later radiations are absorbed by the glass and are not therefore transmitted by the lamp.
Sometimes the glass is reddened, absorbing some of the green and bluerays to give a red visible emission; this is believed to make little differencetherapeutically.
Luminous generators are sometimes called ‘
indicating that heating is by both infrared and visible radiations
The power of infrared sources can broadly be described as:
Smaller lamps (luminous & non – luminous), usually 250 – 500 W
Large, non – luminous, 750 – 1000 W
Large, luminous, 600 – 1500 W
Generally, the larger lamps are used to treat extensive areas but the sameeffect can be achieved by mounting three smaller luminous bulbs, whichcan be separately controlled in one holder. In this way a large area can becovered with all the bulbs in use and a small area using only one or two.
Large lamps are fitted with wire-mesh screens over the front of thereflector to prevent accidental contact with the hot emitter. The screen willalso diminish any remote risk of the hot emitter element falling out.