Plasma Ball & Fluorescent Light Experiment

Plasma ball

A plasma ball contains low-pressure noble gases, consisting of positive ions and free electrons, which ionize when in contact with an electrical current. The pressure inside the plasma ball allows us to see the fluctuations in the plasma. Although you can see the plasma filaments fluctuate inside the glass you cannot see that the high-frequency current extends beyond the surface of the ball. When a bulb is brought close it excites the atoms in the bulb and this creates the visible light.

It also shows how this type of bulb needs less energy/electricity to light up compared to standard incandescent bulbs.

Materials

Plasma Ball

Fluorescent light bulb (LED bulbs also work)

Experiment

With the plasma ball turned on simply bring the light bulb close and the bulb will light up.

  • Try with different types of bulb.
  • Will a standard incandescent bulb light up?
  • Why don’t all bulbs light up?

 

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