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How Do Fluorescent Lights Work?

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Fluorescent lights are far more complex in design than incandescent light bulbs, and more efficient. An incandescent light bulb generates very little light relative to the amount of heat it generates, wasting much energy. Fluorescent lights waste very little energy and generally last up to six times longer than incandescent light bulbs. Fluorescent lights are tubular in design with capped ends that feature two external pins each. The inside of the glass tube is powder-coated with phosphorous. A small drop of mercury is also placed inside the bulb, which is filled with argon gas. An electrode at either end connects to electrical circuits. A basic understanding of how light is produced is helpful. Atoms have negatively charged electrons orbiting the nucleus at various distances. When an atom absorbs enough energy it can cause one of the electrons to jump to a higher orbit. As the electron loses energy, it falls back to its previous orbit. When it does so, it emits a photon of light. ... more
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A fluorescent bulb has a phosphor coating on its inner surface that converts ultraviolet energy into light. Over time, molecular vibrations inside the tube cause the phosphor coating to vibrate off. When the phosphor is used up, the tube won’t light. Why Do Fluorescent Bulbs Use Less Energy? More of the energy of a fluorescent bulb is converted into light and less into heat. By producing less heat (about 70% less heat for an ENERGY STAR® qualified CFL), fluorescent bulbs also save on air conditioning costs. You save twice! What is Ballast? Ballast is the part of a fluorescent bulb that excites the phosphor molecules. Depending on the bulb, it can either be attached—as in CFLs— or be part of the fixture as with fluorescent tubes. Ballasts can be magnetic or electronic and often last much longer than the bulbs themselves. Electronic “instant start” ballasts are often used for the 4-foot overhead fluorescent lighting fixtures frequently found in garages, shops, kitchens, and bathrooms. ... more
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A fluorescent bulb has a phosphor coating on its inner surface that converts ultraviolet energy into light. Over time, molecular vibrations inside the tube cause the phosphor coating to vibrate off. When the phosphor is used up, the tube won’t light. Why Do Fluorescent Bulbs Use Less Energy? More of the energy of a fluorescent bulb is converted into light and less into heat. By producing less heat (about 70 percent less heat for an Energy Star® qualified CFL), fluorescent bulbs also save on air conditioning costs. You save twice! What is a Ballast? A ballast is the part of a fluorescent bulb that excites the phosphor molecules. Depending on the bulb it can either be attached-as in CFLs-or be part of the fixture, as with fluorescent tubes. Ballasts can be magnetic or electronic and often last much longer than the bulbs themselves. Electronic “instant start” ballasts are often used for the 4-foot overhead fluorescent lighting fixtures frequently found in garages, shops, kitchens, and ... more
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• Which elements or ions might be emitting light in the flask? Handout Makeup Name ___________________________ Class _______ Teacher __________________________ BeckerDemos 012 Electrifying Patterns Watch the movies. • Describe the demonstration. • Answer the questions. Curriculum- This experiment fits in when discussing different forms of energy or when discussing atomic structure. The demonstration may lead to discussing electronic energy levels in atoms and molecules. Activity- Demonstration - Teacher Only This works well as a teacher demonstration followed by discussion of energy transformations or electronic energy levels. Safety- • Be certain that the Tesla Coil is grounded and your hands are dry. • Tape the flask with clear tape. Implosions are possible. Tape was omitted from the movies so that you could see the inner parts more clearly. • Use plenty of glycerin when inserting the tubing in the rubber stopper. Time- Construction of apparatus: 15-20 minutes Class Time: 5-20 ... more
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The ballast provides "starting voltage" to the lamps, and then limits the output voltage to just the voltage needed to keep the lamp lit. The lamps are filled with a gas, usually argon. The inside of the tube is coated with phosphors. As the current flows through the gas, the electrons come in contact with the phosphors, creating light. Different phosphors give different colors, such at daylight, warm, cool, and the other types of lamps that are available. The process is very efficient, which is why fluorescent lights require about 1/4 of the wattage to create the same amount of light. Hope this helps. more
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