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Posted by on Mar 5, 2015 in TellMeWhy |

How Does a Fluorescent Lamp Work?

How Does a Fluorescent Lamp Work?

How Does a Fluorescent Lamp Work? A fluorescent lamp is a long glass tube that is filled with a special kind of gas. This gas is called mercury vapor. The inside of the tube is frosted with a powdery chemical called “phosphors.”

When the lamp is turned on, electricity passes through the mercury vapor. This makes it glow with a dim blue light. The blue light shines on the phosphor powder, causing the powder to glow with a cool, bright light. This glowing light is known as fluorescence.

The standard fluorescent lamp was developed for commercial use during the 1930’s. Fluorescent lamps are widely used to produce bright, low-cost lighting in factories, offices and schools.

The idea of the fluorescent lamp had been around since the 1880’s however it took steady work over the decades to finally create a working commercially viable model. This work was done by many, not one single inventor.

Where are fluorescent lamps used? Fluorescent lamps give light from a large glowing surface rather than a small intense source. These lamps are commonly used in situations which call for general illumination at an even level such as offices, classrooms, retail stores, hallways, and cafeterias.

Are fluorescent lamps dangerous? Even though the amount of mercury is relatively small, fluorescent lights must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that can cause severe damage to the brain, nervous system, kidneys, lungs, and other vital organs. Pregnant women, infants, and young children are especially at risk.

Content for this question contributed by Tabb Vadun, resident of Cloverdale, Sonoma County, California, USA