+44 (0)1822 860 110

What is ultraviolet radiation?

cls_uv_LightSpectrumUltraviolet radiation forms part of the light spectrum. It is classified into three parts.

UV-C (Short Wave) from 100 Nanometers to 280nm

UV-B (Medium Wave) from 280nm to 315nm

UV-A (Long Wave) from 315nm to 400nm
Ultraviolet radiation is invisible to our eyes. UV lamps do produce visible light but this does not have any effect on the performance of the lamp.


What is germicidal ultraviolet radiation?

UV-C is germicidal i.e. the radiation emitted deactivates the DNA of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens and therefore destroys their ability to multiply and cause disease.

The UV germicidal radiation (254nm) actually causes damage to the nucleic acid of microorganisms by forming covalent bonds between certain adjacent bases in the DNA. The formation of such bonds prevent the DNA from being unzipped for replication and so the organism is unable to reproduce. In fact when the organism tries to replicate it dies.

What are the benefits of Germicidal UV?

Ultraviolet technology is a non-chemical approach to disinfection. Nothing is added which makes this process simple, inexpensive and requires very low maintenance. Ultra violet purifiers utilize germicidal lamps that are designed and calculated to produce sufficient dosage of ultraviolet radiation to deactivate the bacteria.

Types of UV lamps

CLS_UV_LAMPS_PICTURE_WEBThe most efficient source for generating UVC is the low-pressure mercury discharge lamp, where on average 35% of input watts is converted to UVC watts. The radiation is generated almost exclusively at 254 nm a.

Most low pressure tubular fluorescent ultraviolet lamps have an envelope of special glass that filters out ozone-forming radiation, in this case the 185 nm mercury line.

A second type of UV source is the medium pressure mercury lamp, here the higher pressure excites more energy levels producing more spectral lines and a continuum (recombined radiation) should be noted that the quartz envelope transmits below 240 nm so ozone can be formed from air.

The advantages of medium pressure sources are:

  • High power density
  • High power, resulting in fewer lamps than low pressure types being used in the same application
  • Less sensitivity to environment temperature. The lamps should be operated so that the wall temperature lies between 600 and 900ºC and the pinch does not exceed 350ºC.These lamps can be dimmed, as can low pressure lamp

Micro-organisms effective resistance to UV light varies considerably. Moreover, the environment of the particular micro-organism greatly influences the radiation dose needed for its destruction.

Water, for instance may absorb a part of the effective radiation depending on the concentration of contaminants in it. Iron salts in salts in solution are well known inhibitors. Iron ions absorb the UV light.

How to safely dispose UV Lamps?

UV lamps contain small amounts of mercury ( less than 0.1%), which is a toxic and therefore hazardous substance, hence any used UV lamps have to be recycled/disposed of in a safe manner and separately from normal household waste in order to optimise re-use and recycling.

The disposal of UV lamps must comply with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive and the HSE guidelines.

If you require your lamps to be disposed, please contact your nearest recycling centre, or to a supplier/retailer with a lamp disposal programme like the one offered by CLS-UV, which is a Recolight programme.