We have been paying attention to our energy consumption for several decades now. We learned how to insulate our home, to turn off the appliances or the lights we do not use. And regarding the latter, to equip our luminaires with low consumption bulbs.
But what is it really a low-energy bulb or energy-saving bulb or a low-consumption lamp (LBC)?
Fluorescent Lamps Are The First Low Energy Light Bulbs
As early as 1856, the German physicist Heinrich Geissler developed the first fluorescent tube. If the idea is there, the brightness is not at the rendezvous and the incandescent bulb invented in the same years has beautiful days ahead!
In 1901, American engineer Peter Cooper Hewitt developed a low pressure mercury lamp. If it is more efficient than the incandescent bulbs of the time, its greenish blue light limits its use to photography.In addition, it emits UV rays that are harmful to the skin.
In 1926, it was up to the engineers Edmund Germer, Friedrich Meyer and Hans Spanner to improve the color of the light by lining the inside of the tube with a thin layer of fluorescent powder of phosphorus.
Ten years later, at the World Exposition in Paris, the German manufacturer Osram marketed the first fluorescent bulbs.
In the early 1980s, the Dutch manufacturer Philips and its competitor Osram introduced the first compact fluorescent bulbs.
Until the early 2000s and the rise of LED bulbs, fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent bulbs are the only low-energy alternatives compared to incandescent bulbs and halogen incandescents.
How Does A Low Energy Fluorescent Bulb Work?
The bulb, a tube in fact, is connected to a capacitor which generates an electric arc, also known as an electric discharge. This is why it is said to operate on the principle of discharge in a low pressure gas.The tube is indeed filled with a gas composed of vapor of mercury.On its side, at the cathode of the tube, a heated tungsten filament produces electrons. The latter interact with mercury. Ultraviolet light (UV) is created invisible to the naked eye. But these UV react with the layer of phosphor fluorescence powder that lines the inner wall of the tube giving rise to visible white light.
At these beginnings, the fluorescent low-energy bulb has often been blamed for giving too white , too industrial light. And it is true that it is mainly in industry that the fluorescent tube to find its best outlets.
But by changing the composition of the fluorescent powder, different manufacturers have managed to produce more pleasant and more acceptable brightness in a home . That is why today it has become a must in our homes.
Note : Fluorescent tubes are often called neon tubes. It is actually an abuse of language. If the principle of operation is the same, the neon tube owes its name to the gas that composes it: the neon! In addition, a real neon tube is always red. It was invented by the chemist Georges Claude who had the idea to use this gas to produce light. In 1910, it illuminates the entrance of the automobile show in the Grand Palais with 2 neon tubes of 12 m each.
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