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Illumination

light, reflection, reflected, lighting, amount and source

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ILLUMINATION Illumination may be defined as the quality and quantity of light which aids in the discrimination of outline and the perception of color. Not only the quantity, but the quality of the light, as well as the arrangement of the units, must be considered in a complete study of the subject of illumination.

Unit of Illumination.

The unit of illumination is the foot candle and its value is the amount of light falling on a surface at a distance of one foot from a source of light one candle-power in value. The law of inverse squares—namely, that the illumination from a given source varies inversely as the square of the distance from the source—shows that the illumination at a distance of two feet from a single candle-power unit is .25 foot-candles. For further con sideration of the law of inverse squares, see "Photometry." Illumination may be classified as useful—when used for the ordinary purposes of furnishing light for carrying on work, taking the place of daylight; and scenic—when used for decorative lighting such as stage lighting, etc. The two divisions are not, as a rule, distinct, but the one is combined with the other.

Intrinsic Brightness.

By intrinsic brightness is meant the amount of light emitted per unit surface of the light source. Table XII gives the intrinsic brightness of several light sources.

Regular Reflection.

Regular reflection is the term applied to reflection of light when the reflected rays are parallel. It is of such a nature that the image of the light source is seen in the reflection. The reflection from a plane mirror is an example of this. It is useful in lighting in that the direction of light may be changed without com plicating calculations aside from deductions necessary to compensate for the small amount of light absorbed.

Irregular Reflection.

Irregular reflection, or diffusion, consists of reflection in which the reflected rays of light are not parallel but take various directions, thus destroying the image of the light source. Rough, unpolished surfaces give such reflection. Smooth, unpolished

surfaces generally give a combination of two kinds of reflection.

Diffused reflection is very important in the study of illumination inasmuch as diffused light plays an important part in the lighting of interiors. This form of reflection is seen in many photometer screens. Light is also diffused when passing through semi-transparent shades or screens.

In considering reflected light, we find that, if the surface on which the light falls is colored, the reflected light may be changed in its nature by the absorption of some of the colors. Since, as has been said, in interior lighting the reflected light forms a large part of the source of illumination, this illumination will depend upon the nature and the color of the reflecting surfaces.

Whenever light is reflected from a surface, either by direct or diffused reflection, a certain amount of light is absorbed by the surface. Table XIII gives the amount of white light reflected from different materials.

From this table it is seen that the light-colored papers reflect the light well, but of the darker colors only yellow has a comparatively high coefficient of reflection. Black velvet has the lowest value, but this only holds when the material is free from dust. Rooms with dark walls require a greater amount of illuminating power, as will be seen later.

Useful illumination may be considered under the following heads: Type of Lamps. The lamps used for this class of lighting are limited to the less powerful units—namely, incandescent or Nernst lamps varying in candle-power from 8 to 50 per unit. These should always be shaded so as to keep the intrinsic brightness low. The intrinsic brilliancy should seldom exceed 2 to 3 candle-power per square inch, and its reduction is usually accomplished by appropriate shading. Arc lights are so powerful as to be uneconomical for small rooms, while the color of the mercury-vapor light is an additional objection to its use.

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