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The filament in an incandescent lamp is what heats up. Filaments are made out of double coils of tungsten, a type of metal. Tungsten has a high electrical resistance, causing it to glow incandesce when an electric current flows through. Electric current, through high electrical resistance, results in heat due to the friction between the material and the electrons that are flowing through the material.

System Requirements

Tungsten is used for incandescent bulb filaments because it is extremely resistant to melting at high temperatures. It also does not burn, because gas is injected into incandescent bulbs to eliminate all oxygen.

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The incandescent lamp was invented by Thomas Edison in At that time, filaments were carbonized fibers made by smothering a certain type of bamboo grown in Kyoto, Japan, but these days a variety of materials and methods are introduced to produce light bulbs. There are many types of light bulbs, each with their own purpose. For example, there are silica bulbs with silica particles coated electrostatically on their inner surface to vastly improve light transmission and diffusion, krypton bulbs injected with krypton gas higher atomic weight than the normally used argon gas to increase brightness, and reflector lamps using highly reflective aluminum on their inner surface.

Fluorescent light, a common form of illumination in offices, has a more complicated light emission mechanism than incandescent light. Ultraviolet rays created within fluorescent lamps are transformed into visible light that we can see. Electrical discharge phenomena and the "excited state" and "ground state" of electrons play an important role here.


Let's start with a look at the basic structure of a fluorescent lamp. Fluorescent lamps are slender glass tubes coated with fluorescent material on their inner surfaces. Mercury vapor is injected inside, and electrodes are attached at both ends. When voltage is applied, an electric current flows in the electrodes, causing the filaments on either end to be heated up and start emitting electrons.

Next, a small gas discharge lamp inside the fluorescent lamp turns off; electrons are emitted from the electrode and they begin to flow toward the positive electrode. It is these electrons that produce ultraviolet light. Let's take a closer look at the mechanism by which fluorescent light emits ultraviolet rays. Electrons emitted from the electrode collide with the mercury atoms comprising the vapor inside the glass tube. This causes the mercury atoms to enter an excited state, in which the electrons on the outermost orbit of the atoms and molecules obtain energy, causing them to jump to a higher orbit.

Excited mercury atoms constantly try to return to their former low energy state ground state , because they are so unstable. When this happens, the energy difference between two orbital levels is released as light in the form of ultraviolet waves. For the science fiction novel with the same name, see Incandescence novel. Main article: Thermal radiation. Treatise on Heat.

In Defense of Incandescence

Archived from the original on The state in which a heated body, naturally incapable of emitting light, becomes luminous, is called a state of incandescence. Bowman Philadelphia: Blanchard and Lea. Illumination and Photometry. Retrieved CS1 maint: archived copy as title link. Example 2: ' Lamps Lighting List of light sources. Lance Connett Some of the best black metal I have ever heard!

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Incandescence - Above All

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