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Discharge Lamps:
How They Work

Diagram of a discharge lamp

A current of electrons moving between the two ends gives energy to atoms of gas in the tube.

A ballast is needed to control the current flow. Often, a starter is needed to initiate the current flow through the gas.

Gasses commonly used in discharge lamps include neon, mercury and sodium. Fluorescent lamps are discharge lamps -- they use mercury.


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