Understanding the Science Behind Light Bulbs

In summary, the light bulb works by heating the filament with electrical current, causing it to emit thermal light. This process involves a lot of chemistry and does not typically involve electron transitions, as the energies involved are much higher than those present in vibrational and rotational transitions. The filament also has the ability to "self heal" as tungsten atoms migrate to hotter areas.
  • #1
Ghost803
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How does the light bulb work exactly? Does the current that does through the tungstern, or whatever material is used, collide with the elections in the resistor and push then up to a higher energy state? And when the electrons naturally fall back down to their ground state, the energy is released in the from of photons?
 
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  • #2
In an incandescent bulb, the electrical current heats the filament. The thermal light given off is due to a variety of processes, but electron transistion are not generally one of them- the energies are much higher than those present in vibrational and rotational transitions. there's also a lot of chemistry involved, including the fact that the filament 'self heals' as W atoms are boiled off from some locations and migrate to hotter (thinner) parts of the filament.
 
  • #3
Ghost803 said:
How does the light bulb work exactly? Does the current that does through the tungstern, or whatever material is used, collide with the elections in the resistor and push then up to a higher energy state? And when the electrons naturally fall back down to their ground state, the energy is released in the from of photons?

Please note that there have been several threads here that have dealt with the same question. Read this, for example:

https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=304369

Zz.
 

1. What is light?

Light is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye. It is made up of tiny particles called photons, which travel in waves at the speed of light.

2. How does a lightbulb work?

A lightbulb works by using electricity to heat a thin wire filament inside the bulb, causing it to glow and emit light. This process is known as incandescence.

3. What is the difference between direct and alternating current?

Direct current (DC) is a type of electrical current that flows in one direction, while alternating current (AC) switches direction periodically. AC is the type of current used in most household appliances, while DC is commonly used in batteries and electronic devices.

4. How is light produced in a lightbulb?

Light is produced in a lightbulb through a process called incandescence. When electricity flows through the filament inside the bulb, it heats up and glows, emitting light.

5. What is the lifespan of a lightbulb?

The lifespan of a lightbulb depends on the type and usage. Traditional incandescent bulbs have a lifespan of about 1,000 hours, while LED bulbs can last up to 25,000 hours. The lifespan can also be affected by factors such as voltage, temperature, and vibration.

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