Frequently Asked Questions
If you would like to ask a question not listed below then please contact us and we will be happy to help.
- WHY DO GLOWRINGS & MINIGLOWS GLOW?
- WHAT IS A TRIGALIGHT?
- WHAT IS THE RELATIVE BRIGHTNESS OF THE NINE TRIGALIGHT COLOUR?
- WHAT IS TRITIUM?
- HOW IS LIGHT GENERATED?
- HOW DO THEY PERFORM?
- HOW SAFE IS A TRIGALIGHT®?
- HOW CAN A GLOWRING OR MINIGLOW MARKER FAIL?
- CAN I USE A TRIGALIGHT IN HAZARDOUS AREAS?
- HOW LONG DOES A TRIGALIGHT LAST?
- HOW WEATHERPROOF IS A TRIGALIGHT?
- DO TRIGALIGHTS REQUIRE “CHARGING” BY AMBIENT LIGHT?
- DO TRIGALIGHTS REQUIRE SPARE PARTS OR MAINTENANCE?
- DO TRIGALIGHTS NEED TO BE SWITCHED ON & OFF?
Each device is fitted with a trigalight® source light. These are remarkable pieces of equipment that provide continuous light output without requiring any form of energy input.
A trigalight® is a self-powered Gaseous Tritium Light Source (GTLS). Completely independent of any external energy source, a trigalight uses radioluminest technology to generate light. Absolutely reliable throughout a service life of up to 15 years. Continuously illuminated, even during prolonged periods of darkness. Free from service and maintenance throughout its life … no spare parts required.
Trigalight® GTLS are lightweight and compact. As a sealed source, a trigalight® is a non-emissive device, providing a safe and uniquely reliable source of light. Used widely in safety applications within the transport, defence and instrumentation sectors where the identification of equipment or personnel in darken is essential, these light sources offer tremendous benefits to the user in terms of performance and value.
The output, or luminance, of the various trigalight colours varies. In the green and yellow spectral range, the human eye is very sensitive and therefore these colours appear to be the brightest. The table below shows the relative luminance intensities as perceived by the eye for the nine colour options, relative to green (the brightest) which is shown as 100%.
Tritium, symbol T or H-3 is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Trigalight® devices utilise tritium in its gaseous form. Trace amounts of naturally occurring tritium found in the environment are formed by the interaction of the atmosphere with cosmic rays. The nucleus of tritium contains one proton and two neutrons. In its unstable state, tritium decays to non-radioactive helium-3, in the process emitting a beta-particle (also known as an electron) These electrons, produced during the transition of tritium to helium, are the power source for trigalights®.
As the gaseous tritium decays, electrons emitted during the decay process come into contact with the phosphor coating and cause it to glow. The energy levels involved are very low, but sufficient to generate a continuous light output. The process is similar in principle to that of a fluorescent light tube, but involving very much lower levels of energy.
Light emitted by a trigalight® can be produced in several colours in the visible spectrum (green, yellow, orange, red, blue, ice-blue, white, purple and pink) as well as in infra-red. Light output is linear and follows a straight line performance curve to a half-life of 7.5 years. They require no external electrical supply (from mains or battery) nor do they need to be charged by ambient light. Trigalight® performance is predictable through their service life whether or not installed in permanent darkness and irrespective of environmental conditions.
Because a trigalight® is non-emissive and utilises very low levels of energy, they are safe to use in a range of applications. For example, GTLS technology is type-approved for use in fire safety signs for the workplace under HSE Certificate of Approval No TA2.
Gaseous tritium produces electrons that are of sufficiently low energy as to be unable to breach a sheet of paper or to penetrate human skin. Nevertheless, care must be taken when handling these devices to avoid breakage and subsequent ingestion of residual gaseous tritium. Detailed information addressing aspects of human safety relating to GTLS is available upon request.
The only way that a GlowRing or MiniGlow can fail is if the trigalight® light source inside the marker enclosure is physically breached. This can happen if they are subjected to a sharp, substantial lateral impact. Although our markers are robust in construction and reasonably shock-resistant, they are not immune to such damage. If a trigalight® is breached, light output will cease immediately and the gaseous tritium inside will quickly expand to atmosphere. This does not present the user with any significant safety hazard.
For enhanced impact resistance, we recommend the MegaGlow or TwinGlow Marker, which are fitted with stainless steel end-caps.
Yes, Trigalights are inert devices and can be used in zone 0 hazardous areas.
Trigalights have a visual half-life of 7.5 years. Their service life depends very much upon the application being considered. For watches, the useful service life is as long as 20 years while for tactical devices such as torches, the practical service life is considered by most users to be in the region of 10 to 12 years.
They will operate normally in any environmental conditions; in temperatures ranging between -40° to 70°C irrespective of humidity, even when immersed in water.
No, Trigalights do not require any charging with light or electricity. They operate completely independently of any external power or energy supply.
No service or technical maintenance is required by Trigalight devices throughout their service life.
No, from the moment that the production process is completed, a Trigalight will emit its continuous stream of light, regardless of environmental conditions. No switching on/off is needed, therefore there are no switches on a Trigalight device.