|Fiber optic lights use a special device called an illuminator to transmit light through acrylic fibers, creating a dazzling lighting effect. Fiber optic lights have many advantages that make them practical lighting solutions. The illuminator and electrical components are generally installed remotely, which allows much more freedom for placing the lights. Also, they can be very energy efficient, particularly with LED illuminators. Best of all, fiber optic lighting is fun and encourages creativity.|
- UV Radiation
- Do not put the fiber outdoors or indoors without protecting it from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Protection is required indoors when the fiber will be subject to UV from skylights, windows, or interior lights that give off UV. UV rays will degrade the fiber and seriously affect its longevity. Therefore, for exterior or interior applications where UV rays are present the fiber should be protected with either Lexan® tubing or a special PVC-type jacketing. Also, make certain that the illuminator has an effective UV filtering glass; otherwise, the fiber will degrade. Remember, both side and end illumination fibers must be protected from UV rays.
- Bending of Fiber
- Do not bend the fiber at hard right angles. It is not recommended that you bend the fiber more than 8x the diameter. Yes, the fiber can be bent very, very sharply but doing this will result in a lighting hot spot and this will reduce the distance the fiber will illuminate. Remember, light travels in straight lines and does not respond well to bending. Generally, the slighter the bend, the better the light transmission within the fiber. When the fiber leaves the illuminator it should come out in a straight line for a few feet. Do not bend the fiber immediately; instead, allow the light to first have a short straight run.
- Distance of Illumination
- How far will a fiber illuminate? There is no simple answer to this question. Yes, the best fiber will illuminate up to 263 feet. However, for a fiber to illuminate 263 feet, several factors must be taken into account. The illuminator must be bright and well-focused. The fiber and illuminator are a team; both have a role to play. Therefore, the brightness and the efficiency of the illuminator will play a major role in the distance that the fiber illuminates. Second, the number of curves or bends in the fiber will affect the distance and the intensity of the light as it travels from one end of the fiber to other. Third, the ambient light is critical. What is acceptable illumination around a dark pool may not be acceptable around a building that has an illuminated parking lot or is in a shopping mall. Fourth, how bright the client expects the fiber to appear is also a factor in determining the distance of illumination for that particular fiber, illuminator, and situation.
- Orientation of the Fiber
- The fiber must be placed directly in the path of the light beam in order for the light to transmit effectively through the fiber. If the fiber is placed at an angle to the beam of light produced by the illuminator, it will not transmit as much light as a fiber that is placed directly straight on with the beam of light emanating from the light source.
- Cutting the Fiber
- Do not cut the end of the fiber without using a very sharp razor blade. A clean, clear cut is critical since a cut with occlusions will result in light loss.
- Certain colors of the spectrum are transmitted and appear to the human eye to be brighter than others; e.g., yellow appears much brighter than red to most of us.
- Scratching the Fiber
- Do not drag the fiber around on a rough surface as this will scratch or mar the surface and reduce the ability of the fiber to transmit light.
- Thermal Expansion of Fiber
- When installing the fiber in Lexan® be sure to allow for expansion and contractions at the corners. If this is not done, the light transmission can be negatively affected and the fiber may be damaged.
- Immersion in Liquids
- Do not put the ends of the fiber in any liquid including water. The ends of the fiber should not come into contact with any liquid since the liquid can migrate between the outside cladding and the fiber thereby causing damage and reducing its ability to transmit light.