After the federal ban on the production of traditional light bulbs for not meeting energy-efficiency requirements, homes were flooded with alternative versions such as fluorescent, halogen, and LED light bulbs, which are more expensive but they promise to last longer.
Yet, people have complained ever since about the alternatives’ drawbacks including the amount of time needed to reach maximum luminosity and their eerie, non-natural glow. But a MIT team gives incandescent light bulb new life, pledging that some minor changes can make the century-old bulb more energy efficient than its modern counterparts.
MIT scientists noted that by simply enveloping the tungsten filament in a transparent structure made of photonic crystals, the traditional light bulb will no longer hemorrhage energy in the form of heat.
Engineers explained that the structure inside the glass captures the lost energy and recycles it to offer more light. This is why, the light bulb makeover can gain 40 percent energy efficiency. By comparison, florescent and LED lightning is only 14 percent energy efficient.
“The lighting potential of this technology is exciting.”
said Prof Gang Chen, one of the MIT researchers that developed the experimental device.
The MIT team called the new technology ‘recycling light’ because energy no longer goes to waste as heat but it is captured and recycled into more light. Without the improvements, a normal light bulb has only 5 percent energy efficiency, so about 95 percent of energy is wasted.
Another advantage of the traditional light bulb is that it has a warm glow, and it can successfully mimic the natural daylight. LEDs and other energy-efficient alternatives can not accurately render natural colors.
Scientists said that it is the natural glow that made incandescent light bulbs so popular for so long. And the mechanism behind it is quite simple: the tungsten wire at its center heats up and starts releasing black body radiation around it. The radiation contains a wide spectrum of light which allows the bulbs emit a natural glow.
The revamped version of the traditional light bulb has other advantages. It will come cheap due to its efficiency, and may be healthier than current energy efficient lightning. Plus, past research has shown that modern light bulbs emit a blue light which interferes with the body’s internal clock, disturbing people’s sleep patterns. Additionally, the chemicals in the modern bulbs are considered hazardous to health.
Image Source: Pixabay
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