The Construction of Tritium Exit Signs

The Construction of Tritium Exit Signs

Exit signs should be a very simple construction project. After all, they just need a plastic casing with the word EXIT written on it and a source of light behind it to make it more visible in dark rooms. That was the premise for the first exit signs and the formula hasn’t changed significantly since then. While the idea remains the same, the process of achieving an exit sign has been refined over the years.


Replacing Conventional Exit Signs

First of all, an adequate replacement needed to be found for the incandescent light bulbs which were used to power the first signs. Those were pretty bad at the task assigned to them, as they were not powerful enough to make the signs visible when they needed to be. Luckily, they were replaced with other alternatives when the opportunity presented itself. Since then LEDs have been introduced in a lot of exit signs because they are more powerful, but they use a lot less energy.

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For a while those were the best option available in terms of exit signs, but in the meantime tritium exit signs came on the market. These are self-luminous, which means that they do not need an external power supply in order to work properly. From a financial standpoint, this was a great advancement as they can save thousands of dollars that would otherwise have been spent on the utility bill. From a construction standpoint, however, that meant that they would follow a different formula then all the ones that preceded it.

Tritium Exit Sign Self-Luminous Technology

Right off the bat, there is no need for electronics, so there is a lot more room to work with. Also eliminating all the wiring meant getting rid of another thing which could potentially break down. The tritium works when it is placed inside of a tube which has been coated with a layer of phosphor. Since the tritium is an unstable hydrogen isotope, when it is placed in the tube it will begin to decay, releasing electrons. Those electrons will come in contact with the phosphor and when that happens the reaction is illuminating.

Tritium Exit Sign Lifespan

This process can happen on a permanent basis for anywhere between 10 and 20 years, depending on how much material is placed inside a tube. At a glance, the design and construction process for a tritium exit sign seem pretty straightforward. For the most part, they are, but people tend to get a little apprehensive when they are dealing with a radioactive isotope. While research has shown that external exposure to tritium has no ill effects as the beta particles cannot pass through the skin, there is still the concern of the tube breaking and the tritium being released into the air which can then be accidentally ingested. Even in those cases, the amount of tritium is not significant enough to cause damage.

Even so, the manufacturers have paid attention to the concerns of the public and constructed very strong tubes. Usually, there are more than one tube which houses the tritium so they can be resistant to fires, earthquake and the potential of vandalism.

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