Neon signs for man cavehave been a fixture of the urban landscape for decades. Their illumination systems often use electric tubes covered in thin neon tubing, which is electrically lit by current passing through an inert gas such as neon or argon.
You might wonder how these light up, and if they’re used in other parts of the world besides just North America. See why here!
1. What Is a Neon Sign?
These lights are simply non-explosive gas discharge lamps that use neon gas as its source of illumination. They are often made from straight glass tubes, but some neon tubes are more flexible. Instead of using the electric current to heat the glass, like an incandescent lamp, it uses the electric current to excite the neon gas inside the tube. This type of light is used in signs and billboards for outdoor purposes and indoors for decorative purposes in architecture and home lighting.
2. How Neon Signs Work
The process of developing the electric charge so as to achieve illumination, through the use of an electric current, is very similar to that of fluorescent lights. Yet they have one distinct difference—the filament is made up of neon gas instead. The filament acts as a capacitor that absorbs the energy supplied by the circuit and transforms it into light. This process is relatively simple — first, high voltage alternating current is passed through it which excites the neon gas molecules in the tube. The glass tubing where they are placed can’t withstand high voltages and would crack or break if subjected to it.
3. How Do They Glow?
However, this process doesn’t generate light on its own. In fact, it is not bright at all. The light given off by the tube is not enough to illuminate anything. This type of light outputs a non-visible spectrum of light. Instead, it makes use of a phosphor screen that glows, which is then backlit by neon lights in order to generate visible light. In fact, the phosphors are usually in the form of powdered substances that glow when exposed to electrons during an electric current.
Neon signs have three parts: gas discharge tubes made up of neon gas that renders illumination, paired with phosphors (naturally-occurring or synthetic) placed on the inner section of the tube for coloration and backlighting. When an electric current passes through the gas, the electrons will excite the gas molecules by knocking off their outermost electrons. The electron that was knocked off then joins another molecule to form a new molecule and releases energy in the form of light.
It’s not all that different from the process in fluorescent lights, except that instead of glass tubing filled with mercury vapor, these tubes contain neon gas (in addition to argon). When this current passes through it, it produces enough energy to knock out some of its electrons, which releases a bluish-green light as well as ultraviolet radiation. This is actually harmful to people and most electronics since it can damage them or cause them to malfunction.
Now, let’s take a look at a real neon sign.
The giant illuminated words on the side are actually a sign for the National Park Service, but this is how neon signs work in general. The neon tubes are covered with phosphor powder that glows when an electric current passes through them.
It’s important to remember that neon signs glow because of the same green phosphoric light that we use as white light in fluorescent lights. If we turn our lights off, they won’t glow as brightly after a while since they would eventually get burnt out.
4. Where Can You Buy Neon Signs?
These signs don’t come cheap, since it costs a lot to produce. In fact, it also costs more to produce them than for regular signage used for indoor purposes. They are also highly susceptible to being damaged by weather and being taken away from their locations.
There are actually dealers on eBay selling neon signs, but they aren’t cheap either. Whether these signs will last long—or whether they will be able to withstand the elements—is questionable at best. There’s nothing wrong with that because you can use this sign in your yard or on your front porch. Or, if you want to keep it, you can use a neon sign in order to attract these kinds of things:
5. Neon Signs On Signs Are Crazy!
Since they only glow when they’re illuminated by neon lights, and since they only work in winter months when there’s no light pollution, some people use them on their cars as a way of making them look shiny and luxurious. I guess you could say that neon signs are a fashion statement!
Neon signs are popular sources of illumination, and they’re readily available to everyone. They come in many colors, sizes, and designs. Just as other forms of lighting, they also use phosphors to produce light when they are illuminated by neon lights. Their colors can consist of reds, greens and blues. Neon signs don’t need to be in the blue-green spectrum since it’s not visible to the naked eye!
Neon signs have been around for a long time—the first examples were created in years past.
Neon signs are non-explosive gas discharge lamps that use neon gas as its source of illumination.