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Components of a CFL Light Bulb

A glass housing resembling that of an incandescent bulb encases the small fluorescent lamp. Unlike the fluorescent bulb, the casing of a compact fluorescent lamp is not necessary for the bulb to produce light, but it does provide added protection against breakage of vital components. It also can help direct the light in a specific way, such as in a spot or flood pattern, in order to accommodate various conditions.

The lamp tubing is filled with argon and mercury vapor. When electricity is passed through these elements, they emit ultraviolet light that is absorbed by the phosphor coating. From here the invisible light’s energy is absorbed and re emitted as warm, visible light. A compact fluorescent lamp's tubing is twisted and angled because a certain amount of mercury vapor and argon are needed in the right proportion with the phosphor coating to release the most light using the least amount of energy in the smallest space possible.

The ballast housing holds and protects the bulb’s ballast, a mechanism used to maintain a steady current of electricity into the bulb. This prevents and protects against any sort of surges that could potentially damage the bulb’s components, or have it release too much or too little light, thereby consuming unnecessary amounts of energy.

The base is beveled where the light bulb screws into place. It secures the bulb in its fixture and prevents it from slipping out of place. Movement would cause the contact to disconnect and open the circuit, stopping electric flow into the bulb. The contact is the electrically conductive metal area on the bottom of the bulb that connects to the electrical circuit in the lighting fixture. It delivers the needed electricity up through the base and ballast housing and into the compact fluorescent lamp tubing where it is absorbed by the gasses and emitted through the phosphor coating as visible light.