Neon lights have been illuminating our cities and businesses for over a century. But have you ever wondered how these lights get their vibrant colors? This blog post will take you through the science behind neon lights and their colors.
2. What is Neon and How Does it Work?
Neon is a noble gas, discovered in 1898 by William Ramsey and M.W. Travers. It was the first gas used to make light, which is why all gas-filled tubes are now called neon lights. These lights can last between 8 and 15 years and are primarily used as neon signs.
When an electrical current is applied to a neon light tube, the atoms belonging to the gas are knocked out of their orbit. The free electrons collide with each other and are sent back to the atoms. As the free electrons are absorbed by the atoms, they produce energy, which in turn produces light.
3. How Do Neon Lights Get Their Color?
Each gas used in neon lights has its own color. Neon is red, helium is orange, argon is lavender, krypton is gray or green, mercury vapor is light blue, and xenon is gray or blue. Mixing gases and elements added to a neon light create different hues. Baking fluorescent powders onto the inside walls of the glass tubes also modifies the colors and shades of the finished neon sign. Colored glass tubes are also used for the same effect.
4. The History of Neon Lighting
The very first neon sign used for advertising in the United States was introduced in 1925. Neon signs can contain as many colors as the designer wants, using a combination of straight gas, mixed gases and elements, colored glass tubing, and fluorescent tubing. Each letter or element of the sign is made separately and kept sealed from the rest of the sign. This allows many different colors to exist in one sign.
5. Benefits and Features of Neon Lighting
Neon lights are durable, versatile in design and color options, and cost-effective compared to other lighting options. They are also energy-efficient, making them a popular choice for businesses and individuals alike.
6. How to Make a Neon Sign: A DIY Guide
Making a neon sign can be a fun and rewarding DIY project. You’ll need some materials and a basic understanding of how neon lights work. Remember to always follow safety precautions when working with electricity and gases.
Understanding the science behind neon lighting not only satisfies our curiosity but also opens up a world of creative possibilities. Whether you’re thinking about making your own neon sign or just want to appreciate the beauty of neon lights a little more, knowing how they work and get their colors is a great start.