Difference Between Incandescent and Fluorescent

Incandescent vs Fluorescent

Incandescent and fluorescent are two types of light bulbs, which are used in day to day lives. Incandescent bulbs and fluorescent bulbs are used in a range of applications varying from home and office lighting to large scale factories. The concepts of incandescent bulbs and fluorescent bulbs play a major role in fields such as energy efficiency, green economy and other electricity related fields. In this article, we are going to discuss what are incandescent bulbs and fluorescent bulbs, their applications, basic similarities between these two, how incandescent bulbs and fluorescent bulbs are manufactured, and finally the difference between incandescent light bulbs and fluorescent light bulbs.

Incandescent Bulbs

An incandescent bulb is a very common type of light bulb, which was largely used until recent developments. There are several basic parts of an incandescent bulb. The main part is the filament. The filament is capable of passing an electrical current through it when a voltage difference is applied to the terminals of the filament. The filament is surrounded by an inert gas such as helium which is kept inside a transparent envelope of glass.

The basic principle behind the incandescent bulb is the glowing of a metal when a current is passed through the metal. The filament is a very long and very thin metal wire which is made out of tungsten. Such a thin wire has a large resistance between the terminals. Sending a current through such a filament causes a lot of heat to be produced. The filament is surrounded by an inert gas, to prevent any ignitions of oxygen or other gases due to such large temperatures. The temperature of a filament can reach about 3500 K without melting. Tungsten bulbs are usually very less efficient than other forms of lighting.

Fluorescent Bulbs

A fluorescent bulb is a device which uses electricity to excite and then de-excite mercury vapor. The florescent bulb is also known as the fluorescent tube. The de – excitation of mercury vapor, which is excited from the electricity, produces ultraviolet waves. These ultraviolet waves cause the layer of fluorescence material to fluoresce. This fluorescence effect produces visible light.

The fluorescent bulb is more efficient in converting electric energy into light than the incandescent light. The fluorescent lamp also comes in a compact form which is known as the compact fluorescent lamp or more commonly known as CFL.

Incandescent vs Fluorescent

  • Incandescent bulbs produce a direct light from the heating of the filament whereas the fluorescent bulb produces a secondary light through fluorescent material.
  • The fluorescent lamp and CFL are more efficient in converting electrical energy to light than the incandescent bulb.
  • An incandescent bulb has the whole electromagnetic spectrum as it is the light from a hot object, but the fluorescent bulb creates an emission spectrum as it is the emission from the secondary fluorescent material.