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Fluorescent Light Bulbs Essay

1522 words - 6 pages

Fluorescents Light Bulbs
For beautiful views, buildings lighting up in the night, and even shows that rely on special effects so the programs can go on; all of these things and more are possible because of lights! Although fluorescent light bulbs are inexpensive and provide good lighting, they may have serious negative effects on a person’s eyes after prolonged use. It is amazing how the use of fluorescent light bulbs has become so popular and taken the world by storm. Whether it is in offices, businesses or even at home, these light bulbs are replacing the regular more expensive bulbs. People are deciding to switch and use these bulbs because they are inexpensive. This inexpensive price is one thing that attracts consumers, but the lighting from these bulbs speaks for itself. They give off superior lighting and brighten up a room in a way that other light bulbs fail to do so (Peterson 1).

The background of fluorescent lighting started back in the 1927 when Frederick Meyers, Hans, Spanner and Edmund Germer, (who at the time were employees of a German firm located in Berlin), patented a fluorescent lamp (Potash 1). This was thought to be one of the best ideas at that time because of the way these were made; unlike others, fluorescent bulbs are coated on the inside to increase efficiency. When they were first invented, beryllium (a gray-white metallic element that is light, hard, brittle, and resists corrosion) was used as the coating for the bulbs (Parker 58), however beryllium turned out to be toxic and was replaced with safer fluorescent chemicals.
Fluorescent bulbs work by moving a stream of electron through a fluorescent tube. The fluorescent tube operates around an inelastic scattering of electrons. An incident electron collides with an atom in the gas such as mercury, argon or krypton, which is used as an ultraviolet emitter. This causes an electron in the atom to jump up temporarily to a higher energy level to absorb some of the kinetic energy delivered by the colliding electron. This higher energy is unstable, and an ultraviolet photon will be emitted by the atom as the atom’s electron goes to a more stable energy level. The photons that are released from the chosen gas mixtures have a wavelength in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. This is not visible to the human eye, so it must be converted into visible light, and this is done by making use of fluorescence. This fluorescent conversion occurs in the phosphor coating on the inner surface of the fluorescent tube. This is where the ultraviolet photons are absorbed by electrons in the phosphor’s atoms, which causes a wavelengths are visible to the human eye. The efficiency of fluorescent lighting is caused by low pressure that mercury discharges. The UV light is absorbed by the bulb’s fluorescent coating, which sends out waves at longer wavelengths to emit visible light. This is what creates the light that is seen from a fluorescent light bulb. The light from a fluorescent bulb is...

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