Sep 15, 14
Every consumer car, truck, or van comes with lights pre-installed. Without lights, night driving would be practically impossible and bad-weather traffic would be extremely dangerous. The stock lighting kit that comes with your car is often incomplete, arriving with just enough lights to meet government specifications. Yet lighting almost always takes a back seat to other things, your sound system for instance, when it comes time for upgrades. But why upgrade lights if they haven’t burned out yet? Well it’s more than just upgrading headlights. A car with a full light kit includes additional lights such as fog lamps, driver lights, and parking lights.
Jun 30, 14
Most light bulbs are made from glass, and glass is one of the most easily recycled materials on the planet. So recycling light bulbs should be an easy and effective way to top off going green when you upgrade to more energy efficient light bulbs, right? Not quite. Each type of bulb is different and requires different considerations for disposal. So let’s take a look at how to properly recycle your old or broken bulbs.
Jan 10, 14
The light bulb ban is bringing energy efficient bulbs, such as LEDs, to the forefront. While this is ruffling the feathers of those not eager to give up the traditional incandescent bulb quite yet, we’ve composed a list of some things that will make the transition to LED lighting as seamless as possible.
As the New Year quickly approaches, the start of the last phase-out of incandescent light bulbs is also drawing nearer. Beginning January 1, 2014, manufacturers will no longer be allowed to produce the same 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent bulbs, commonly used for residential applications such as floor lamps, table lamps, and track lighting. Although these restrictions were put in place to push consumers toward more energy-efficient lighting solutions, retailers like 1000Bulbs.com will continue to sell the incandescent light bulb.
Sep 13, 13
The days of using candles or torches to light homes are long gone. Today, we simply flip the switch and light just… appears. But what happens between the time you flip the switch and the time your light bulb illuminates the room? This week, we’re headed back to the basics: how an incandescent light bulb actually works.
What’s Happening in There?
Think back to middle school science. Remember the terms “electron” and “nucleus”? Well, these two play a very important part in the science of lighting. Electrons, which are negatively charged particles moving around an atom, have different levels of energy, and are dependent on a few things, such as their speed and distance from the nucleus. Electrons have different levels of energy, and as a general rule of thumb, those with greater energy are farther away from the nucleus. The process of how atoms emit light is complex, but in simple terms, this is what happens: the atom collides with a moving particle, exciting the atom and causing an electron to jump to a higher energy level. When this occurs, the electron returns to its original energy level and releases this extra energy as a light photon.
Anatomy of a Bulb
So we’ve given you an overview of how light is emitted, but what makes up a bulb? Fortunately, incandescent light bulbs have a pretty simple make up. Look at the picture of this incandescent A19 bulb to the right. Most incandescent bulbs have a medium base, which is just a fancy way of saying the bulb screws into a fixture. Notice the coil at the top of the glass mount. This filament is typically made up of tungsten metal. While the coil itself is only about an inch long, if you were to stretch the coil out, it would be a little over six feet long. Supporting the 6-foot coil are generally about 3-5 support wires, while a gas fills the bulb. Sometimes, Krypton gas is used to extend the life of the bulb.
Electrons + Filament = Light
Now that we’ve covered how light is created and what makes up a bulb, it’s time to look at what actually happens when you flip the switch. Electricity flows from the contacts to the filament, and while the current is coursing through the wires to the filament, the electrons constantly collide into the atoms that make up the tungsten filament. Due to these constant collisions, the atoms that make up the filament vibrate (simply put, the electric current heats up the atoms), causing the bound electrons in the vibrating atoms to be temporarily boosted to higher energy levels. Once these electrons release their extra energy as photons, they return back to their original energy levels.
Keep in mind that incandescent bulbs are very energy inefficient. In fact, 80 percent of their energy is released as heat, while only the remaining 20 percent is given off as actual visible light. Want to know how something else works? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus!