Light bulbs are one of the many achievements of the modern scientific age that a lot of us take for granted. They light our highways and byways, illuminate our homes and yards, and even let us peer into the depths of our refrigerators when searching for the perfect midnight snack. Light bulbs come in all shapes and sizes fitted to a multitude of specific tasks, and as Photonicinduction shows in a fantastic new demonstration, there’s even a purpose in this world for a 20,000-Watt light bulb.
Sploid posted this video of a UK electrician powering up a 20kW Halogen bulb, one that’s meant for lighting large scale, indoor film sets so that the entirety of the set can be flooded with white daylight. The bulb has a similar wattage to that of powerful spotlights, but to put it into perspective, a typical incandescent light bulb in your home has a power consumption of about 60 Watts… this monster bulb pulls in 20,000. That’s some real Griswold Family lighting.
A standard incandescent bulb works by passing electricity through a filament suspended inside a glass bulb that is either evacuated of gas completely or filled with an inert gas to prevent oxidation of the filament itself, extending its usage lifetime. (Halogen lamps have an interesting twist that further extends the filament’s lifetime: the halogen gas reacts with particles of tungsten that have evaporated to form tungsten halide, which actually migrates back to the filament where it deposits as tungsten again, freeing the halogen. Very cool.) As resistance to the electrical current in the filament ramps up, it gets hot and glows with a visible light, which is incandescence.
Instead of the typically very thin “coiled coil” of tungsten used in incandescent light bulbs, this monster bulb uses eight large coils dubbed “garage springs” as its filaments. All of that metal material makes the 20kW bulb a little slow to get going; in the early stages, it pulls a lot more amps when the filament is cold, but as the resistance increases, the filaments heat up and start glowing a dull red color. With enough power supplied, this brilliant bulb soon turns indoor film sets into outdoor scenes or a neighborhood’s night into glorious day.
What mad science would you get up to with a 20kW light bulb at your disposal? Let us know in the comments below!