Fluorescent Lamps
by E.T. '09

Fluorescent light bulbs are one of the most widely used inventions in the world. They are used to light rooms, laboratories and factories. Fluorescent lights are also used in tanning spas for they can emit ultraviolet light if the shielding is removed. A lot of people might ask "What makes fluorescent light bulbs so much better than the every day incandescent?" First of all fluorescent lights use only about one quarter of the energy used by incandescent lights. Second of all fluorescent lights last up to ten times longer than the average incandescent light bulb. To some people, fluorescent lights look unnatural but technology is constantly improving designs to have the same look of incandescent lights.

Fluorescent lights consist of a tube filled with a chemical gas (usually argon), a small bit of mercury. The inside of the tube is coated with chemicals called phosphors. The circuit that powers a fluorescent tube has three types: preheat, rapid-start, and instant start. The circuit has a part called ballast which gives out the energy to start the lamp and regulate the voltage.

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