What are light bulbs made of?

We all know what light bulbs are. And we all use them. Light bulbs together with electricity are one of the contemporary discoveries, which we cannot live without anymore. Nowadays there are numerous types and styles of light bulbs. They differ is size, color, brightness, how many watts they require, where they are meant to be used, etc. And the price of a light bulb can differ as well, from few dollars to a number with three numerals. However, although we all know what a light bulb is and what it is meant for, we don’t really know how one is made and what it is made of. Which is why in this article you will find out how are light bulbs created and what materials are used to make them.

As light bulbs were made already in the 19th century, the their structure is very simple. The first light bulb that came to be was an incandescent light bulb, which is the simplest and most commonly used lamp all around the world. And for many years, it was the only option, because only recently other varieties of light bulbs joined the market.

The incandescent light bulb was created and used in the 19th century and only at the end of 20th century and the beginning of 21st century, other types of light bulbs started to appear. And as incandescent bulbs were the first light bulbs and are the most commonly known, let’s look at what components are used to create one.

The incandescent light bulb is made out of few materials – metal, glass and inert gas, and together they form a light bulb which provides us with light. These three materials combined create a light bulb. But it is done in a certain way, in order to make the bulb to emit light. So really the question should be not what is a light bulb made of, but how is a light bulb made.

First, at the base of the light bulb, there are two metal contacts, which connect to an electrical circuit and allow the light bulb to work. These metal circuits are attached to two wires, which, in turn, are affixed to a thin metal filament. This filament is located in the middle of the light bulb, held by a glass mount. All this is navigated in a glass bulb, which is filled with inert gas, most commonly, Argon gas, but other gasses can also be used. These materials combined create a simple chain reaction which provides us with light.

what is a light bulb made of

When the light bulb is hooked to a power supply, electric current travels from one contact to the other contact, though the wires in the light bulb. As mentioned before, inside the light bulb there are two wires which are connected to the electric circuit. And by having an inert gas inside the light bulb, it makes sure that once the power is switched on, the light bulb exudes light. The science of physics plays a huge role in creating a functioning light bulb, because the light is achieved thanks to electrons, which are negatively charged subatomic particles, aka small units which cannot be seen by a human eye. The two wires that are in the light bulb both have differently charged areas – positively and negatively charged ones, and electrons travel from one charge to the other and create light.

Although the structure of incandescent light bulb and what is a light bulb made of might seem a bit confusing at the begging, it only takes few simple materials to create such bulb, hence it was already created in the 19th century. There are also different light bulbs, for example, LED light bulbs or solar flood lights, which have slightly different build. But they are modeled using some of the principles that an incandescent bulb encompasses. And for all of the light bulbs, physics plays a major role in the creation of light and a light bulbs most certainly have become an integral part of our lives.


Blogger, editor, developer who loves green living. Interested in photovoltaics and solar lighting. Reviewing solar products since 2013.

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