Long-term life testing of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) encoder lamps


The aging characteristics and lifetimes of tungsten filament encoder lamps were determined as a function of operating voltage and filament material. For pure tungsten and thoria doped (1 pct.) filament lamps, crystal grain growth over the center portion of the filament leads to the ultimate failure of the lamp. The development of notches associated with this grain growth is the cause of lamp burn out. Eventually, one of the notches will 'etch' through the filament, causing it to fail open. For rhenium doped (3 pct.) filament lamps, distortion of the filament leads to the ultimate failure of the lamp. The lifetime of these lamps is about 1 year at an operating voltage of 5.0 volts. The pure tungsten filament lamps have the longest average lifetime, and the thoria doped filament lamps have the shortest at 5.0 volts. The lifetimes of these lamps is about 7 years at an operating voltage of 3.5 volts. Data suggest that the rhenium doped lamps will have the longest average lifetime at 3.5 volts, and the thoria doped will have the shortest. These lifetimes are comparable to the desired lifetimes of 7 years

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This paper was published in NASA Technical Reports Server.

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