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The secret behind the weird shape of compact fluorescents January 12, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product..
Tags: , , , , , ,
It could be much weirder...

It could be much weirder...

Gad-Zooks! Its Dr. Z here! Back from an intense weekend of light bulb analysis with Dr. Lumi(who is almost recovered from his accident see Jan 2 2008 post) and he asked me “Whaa mkth thof cofact luresnts ook wyrdd?”  I looked at him and simply replied “Don’t try to talk withbandages in your mouth. You may pull your stitches! But I know exactly what you mean Dr.Lumi. Why do those Compact Fluorescentshave that weird shape?” So I spent the rest of the weekend in the emergency room with Dr.Lumi(who had indeed pulled his stitches with this insightful question) and decided the world needed to know the secret as to why the compact fluorescent light bulb has its strange shape. I thought to myself, such an enigma as this must have its origins in the mind of Da Vinci, so I promptly read the Da VinciCode but found nothing about light bulbs and was only left with lingering creepy feeling. So my mind wandered to that July 4th Bulb-O-Rama party where Dr. Lumi(being the free spirit that he is) while interpretive dancing to Jimmy Buffets “Cheesburger in Paradise”) was unfortunately struck by lighting. Now obviously he survived, but this made me think. Lighting! thats the first key to this CFL secret!

In a regular lightbulb light brightness is dependent on the  filament and how it emits energy. 90% of this energy is emitted in the form of heat and the remaining 10% is all that produces the light. CFLs and actually all fluorescents are basically a lighting bolt in a tube.Compact Fluorescents brightness is determined by area. In a CFL tube, a current is run through a gas, and ultraviolet light is produced. That UV light bounces off a coating of phosphorous lining the inside of the tube making it glow or what we call fluoresce. The more tube available, the brighter the overall glow. So the reason we see CFLs manufactured in swirly vortex like shapes is not to entrance us with its enigmatic twists and turns, but to to get the longest length of tube packed into the smallest space.

Zoinks! The secret has been revealed!

Dr. Z




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