Saturday 23 February 2013


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Both these types of lighting are popular, but what are the differences between them?

Neon light
Neon lights are made of long, narrow glass tubes which are often bent into all sorts of shapes. The tube of a neon light can spell out a word and so are often used for advertising signs. Neon tubes emit light in a range of different colours.

The way a neon light works is simple. Inside the glass tube there is a gas like neon, argon or krypton at low pressure. At both ends of the tube there are metal electrodes. When you apply a high voltage to the electrodes, the neon gas ionizes, and electrons flow through the gas. These electrons excite the neon atoms and cause them to emit light that we can see.

The light of a neon tube is the coloured light that the neon atoms give off directly. Neon emits red light when energized in this way. Other gases emit other colours.

Fluorescent light
A fluorescent light is most often a long, straight tube that produces white light. They are often used in offices, stores and some home fixtures.

A fluorescent light works in a similar way. Inside a fluorescent light is low-pressure mercury vapour which emits ultraviolet light when ionized. The inside of a fluorescent light is coated with a phosphor (a substance that can accept energy in one form and emit the energy in the form of visible light). In a fluorescent lamp, the phosphor accepts the energy of ultraviolet photons and emits visible photons.

The light we see from a fluorescent tube is the light given off by the phosphor that coats the inside of the tube. The phosphor fluoresces when energized, hence the name. 

For related articles click onto:
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Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels: Alternative sources of energy
What is acid rain?
What is global warming?
What is a light year?
What is the greenhouse effect?
What is the difference between energy efficient light bulbs and traditional light bulbs?
What is the difference between neon and fluorescent light?
What is the difference between global warming and the greenhouse effect?
What is the difference between a particle and an atom?
What is fracking?
What is global warming?
What is the Gulf Stream?


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