Quiz: Do you know how fluorescent lights work?
by Staff
Let there be fluorescent light! Fluorescent lights are found everywhere, but do you know how they work? Those white tubes are more efficient than incandescent bulbs and don't get as hot. Take our quiz to see how much you know about the science inside these fluorescent lamps.

Light energy is made up of small particlelike packets that have __________.

  • mass and momentum but no energy
  • mass and energy but no momentum
  • energy and momentum but no mass

A light particle that has energy is called what?

  • proton
  • photon
  • neutron

When does a photon get released from an atom?

  • when an electron jumps to a higher energy level
  • when a proton moves closer to the nucleus
  • when an electron falls back to its original energy level

What is the main difference between the different types of light bulbs?

  • the process for exciting atoms
  • the method of generating electricity
  • the color of the light emitted

Which metal is contained in the sealed glass tube of a fluorescent light?

  • mercury
  • gold
  • copper

What happens when a fluorescent lamp is turned on?

  • Electric current stops flowing to the electrodes.
  • The mercury heats up until it glows.
  • Electrons move through the gas from one electrode to the other.

Electrons from mercury atoms mostly release light photons from which wavelength?

  • red
  • ultraviolet
  • infrared

Ultraviolet light is converted to visible light by what part of the fluorescent lamp?

  • a series of concave lenses
  • the powder on the inside of the sealed tube
  • the white glass that the sealed tube is made from

Why are fluorescent bulbs more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs?

  • They are not as bright.
  • They use a lower voltage.
  • They emit less heat.

Fluorescent lamps are how many times more efficient than incandescent lamps?

  • two
  • five
  • nine

What are ions?

  • something used to get the wrinkles out of your clothes
  • a type of electron with a positive charge
  • charged atoms that have gained or lost an electron

A fluorescent lamp needs what two things to send a current through the gas in the tube?

  • free electrons/ions and voltage
  • phosphor powder and proton pump
  • high current and an inert gas

Which of these is a gas discharge lamp, which releases colored visible light when stimulated by ions and electrons?

  • Lava Lamp
  • incandescent lamp
  • neon lamp

What happens inside a fluorescent lamp when it's turned on?

  • The light flickers until it warms up.
  • The lamp creates many free electrons to travel across the tube.
  • The electrodes make ions hot to excite the mercury.

What is inside the casing of a conventional fluorescent starter switch?

  • a small cylinder containing thousands of free electrons
  • a small bulb that creates free electrons when turned on
  • a fuse to control the voltage of current entering the tube

What is the problem with the older conventional fluorescent starter switches?

  • They take a few seconds to light up the main tube.
  • They often need replacing every few months.
  • They don't allow dimming of the light for that "perfect" ambience.

Instant-start fluorescent lamps apply a very high initial voltage to the electrodes, which creates a _________.

  • corolla discharge
  • corona discharge
  • chroma discharge

In terms of conducting electricity, what is a major difference between solids and gases?

  • Solids have no resistance to increases in current strength.
  • In gas discharge circuits, the flow of current causes the resistance to decrease.
  • Gases don't conduct electricity.

What part of a fluorescent light prevents an uncontrolled current from blowing out various electrical parts?

  • governor
  • starter switch
  • ballast

Which of these is NOT caused by magnetic ballasts?

  • a noticeable flicker of the light
  • a bright glaring light
  • a humming sound