Kelvin Temperature Scale

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Kelvin temperature is a numerical measurement that describes the color appearance of the light produced by the lamp and the color appearance of the lamp itself, expressed on the Kelvin (K) scale.

The science behind determining color temperature values starts with the theoretical black body radiator, a block of black metal through which electric current is passed (performed as a computer model). As the metal is heated, it turns red-yellow, then white, then blue; as the temperature of the metal is measured at any given color produced, we then match the color to that temperature and a color temperature value is determined.

 

In application, the Kelvin temperature of lamps is used to categorize them as warm, neutral or cool sources. The terms are not directly related to temperature; instead, they describe how the light source appears visually. Warm sources actually have a lower color temperature (3500K or less), producing a red-yellow appearance. Neutral sources (between 3500K and 4100K) tend to have a yellow appearance. A lamp with a color temperature of 5000K is considered pure white light (Full Spectrum) with the lamp becoming more blue in color as the color temperature is increased.

Warm light sources are traditionally used for applications where warm colors or earth tones dominate the environment, and where there is a need to impart a feeling of comfort, coziness and relaxation.

 

Cool light sources (5000K+) with high color rendering capabilities, such as Full Spectrum lights, are traditionally used for applications where there is a need to enhance all colors equally, such as retail stores to stimulate sales, or to increase productivity and reduce errors within the office environment and to motivate the customer or employee through enhanced "see-ability".

 

The color appearance of various light sources therefore can be defined in terms of Color/Kelvin Temperature, measured in "degree" Kelvin (K)

 

 

Copyright 2005 Light Energy Source, Inc.