Neon got its name from “neos”, a Greek word that means “new”. The gas was first isolated by chemists Morris Travers and William Ramsay in 1898. They were then busily discovering noble gases by evaporating liquefied air. Suspecting that there was another gas to be discovered, they turned to solid argon. Under very low pressure, they allow the solidified gas to evaporate. Indeed they discovered the gas perching above argon on the periodic table – this is neon.
Most Common Use Of Neon
Neon signs are the most common use of neon. In fact, this has a century-long history. This was developed in 1902 by Georges Claude, a French engineer. Neon lights create light after the application of electricity to argon or neon in a sealed glass tube. Neon makes the clear orange-red light while argon makes blue light.
How Neon Signs Work
Electrodes on every end of a glass tube that are filled with argon or neon gas are connected to alternating current. The loss of electrons will leave the gas molecules positively charged. When the molecules get back to their neutral state, they give off light. It is actually this light that is visible in the glow of a neon sign.
Most sign creators make use of blowtorches to heat the glass tubes so they can be bent. After that, they seal them together in creative designs prior to pumping the gas into the tubes.
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