Incandescent light bulb

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The incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe makes light by heating a metal filament wire to a high temperature until it glows. The hot filament is protected from air by a glass bulb that is filled with inert gas or evacuated. In a halogen lamp filament evaporation is prevented by a chemical process that returns metal to the filament. The light bulb is supplied with electrical current by feed-through terminals or wires embedded in the glass. Most lamps are used in a socket.

Incandescent bulbs are produced in a wide range of sizes, light output, and voltage ratings, from 1.5 volts to about 300 volts. They require no external regulating equipment and have a low manufacturing cost, and work equally 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, car headlamps, and flashlights, and for decorative and advertising lighting.

Some applications of the incandescent bulb use the heat generated by the filament, such as incubators, brooding boxes for poultry, heat lights for reptile tanks,[1][2] infrared heating for industrial heating and drying processes, and the Easy-Bake Oven toy. In cold weather the heat produced 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 other types of electric lights such as fluorescent lamps, compact fluorescent lamps, high-intensity discharge lamps, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and other devices. These newer technologies increase the ratio of visible light produced versus heat loss for the same amount of electrical energy input. Some jurisdictions, such as the European Union, are in the process of phasing out the use of incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient lighting. In the United States, federal law has scheduled incandescent light bulbs to be phased out by 2014 to be replaced with more energy-efficient light bulbs.[3] In Brazil, they have already been phased out.


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