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MIT and Purdue University Bringing Light Bulbs Back

Even if the light bulb will go away, the Sun will still be there. Right?

(Mirror Daily, United States) – It’s hard to believe that the classic light bulb was on its way, not because its alternatives are bad or anything like that, but because it’s been such a big part of our lives for such a long time. That’s probably what a team of researchers from two universities thought, as MIT and Purdue University bringing light bulbs back better than ever.

It’s hard to admit, but yes, the light source most of us grew up with – no, not the Sun – was on its way out. And that was actually a good thing.

The main problem with the classic incandescent light bulb is that it’s extremely inefficient. And because of this, it’s been steadily being replaced with other, more efficient alternatives, mostly LEDs and fluorescents.

However, since even the alternatives are very inefficient, albeit not as inefficient as the light bulb, a collaboration between Purdue University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led to a new, much more efficient creation.

You see, when using traditional incandescent light bulbs, an incredibly huge amount of energy is lost – a light bulb only turns 2% or 3% of the energy it receives into light, the other being lost as thermal energy, or heat.

By comparison, greener, alternative light bulbs only have about 15% efficiency.

The new light bulb design created by the six person team is meant to bring the classic light bulb’s efficiency up to 40%.

The idea has been circulating for a while, but it was quite difficult to put into practice, especially because of the temperatures going up to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit – what if researchers tinkered somehow with the light bulb’s thermal emission spectrum?

Finally cracking the temperature problem, the team used photonic crystals to capture the emitted infrared radiation that would have otherwise been lost as heat, and then to bounce it back at the filament.

With this process of reflection, absorption, and reemission, much more energy will be saved this way, up to 40%.

However, the initial design crafted by the team only managed to produce a 6.6% level of efficiency, more than double that of regular light bulbs, but still quite small.

They are not calling it quits, however, as the design only needs slight tweaking in order to become the energy efficient light source that we’re kind of excitedly waiting for.

The final difficult process for the team will actually be to find a way to mass produce the devices, although since they are using commercial materials, it shouldn’t be that hard.

Image source: Flickr

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