Incandescent light bulb  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The incandescent light bulb or incandescent lamp is a source of artificial light that works by incandescence (a general term for heat-driven light emissions which includes the simple case of black body radiation). An electric current passes through a thin filament, heating it until it produces light. The enclosing glass bulb prevents the oxygen in air from reaching the hot filament, which otherwise would be destroyed rapidly by oxidation.

Incandescent bulbs are sometimes called electric lamps, a term originally applied to the original arc lamps. They are also known as globes or light globes within the theater, television and film industries, and these terms are also commonly used in Australia.

Incandescent bulbs are made in a wide range of sizes and voltages, from 1.5 volts to about 300 volts. They require no external regulating equipment and have a low manufacturing cost, and work well on either alternating current or direct current. As a result the incandescent lamp is widely used in household and commercial lighting, for portable lighting, such as table lamps, some car headlamps and electric flashlights, and for decorative and advertising lighting.

Some applications of the incandescent bulb make use of the heat generated, such as infrared heating, incubators (for hatching eggs), brooding boxes for young poultry, heat lights for reptile tanks, and the Easy-Bake Oven toy. In cold weather the heat shed by incandescent lamps contributes to building heating, but in hot climates lamp losses increase the energy used by air conditioning systems.

Incandescent light bulbs are gradually being replaced in many applications by (compact) fluorescent lights, high-intensity discharge lamps, LEDs, and other devices, which produce the same amount of visible light but use less electrical energy. Some jurisdictions have or are considering banning the sale of incandescent lightbulbs in favour of more energy-efficient lighting.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Incandescent light bulb" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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