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Power Science

Researchers Create New Cheap, Shatterproof, Plastic Light Bulbs 296

hattig writes "US researchers say they have developed a new type of lighting that could replace fluorescent bulbs. The new light source is called field-induced polymer electroluminescent (Fipel) technology. It is made from three layers of white-emitting polymer that contain a small volume of nanomaterials that glow when electric current is passed through them. The developer is promising cheap, hard-to-break, mercury-free, highly efficient bulbs from 2013."
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Researchers Create New Cheap, Shatterproof, Plastic Light Bulbs

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  • Re: Cheap (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:05AM (#42168191)

    Capitalism is the only reason *anything* is cheap. Capitalism is when then the market (read you & I) control the price, not a central groverening authority. A monopoly is what you are thinking of. As long as there is competition in the marketplace the prices wil alway be as low as they can be.

  • by robot256 ( 1635039 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:17AM (#42168285)

    Last sentence of TFA:

    He also has great faith in the ability of the new bulbs to last. He says he has one in his lab that has been working for about a decade.

    Which of course doesn't mention the stability of the light output over time or the similarity of this one to the production model, but it's at least theoretically possible.

  • by elkto ( 558121 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:21AM (#42168323)
    CFL's suck, they are only more efficient than an Incandescent lamp, which is a fairly easy mark to hit. LED's, though more pleasant to use, are marginally more efficient than CFL's, but not as efficient as a standard T8 florescent lamp (100 Lumens per Watt). Polymer based Electro Luminescence is not new; I am very interested in this efficiency they are talking about (which is painfully missing in the article, 5x more than what????)
  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:13AM (#42168909)

    The bulb backlash is driven mostly by a political divide. The US is very much a two-faction country, politically - the liberals and the conservatives, represented by their respective political parties. Environmental causes have long been seen as a very liberal thing, so those on the conservative faction feel they are obliged to downplay the issue and oppose any solution.

  • by Creepy ( 93888 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:36AM (#42169179) Journal

    I was going to say most LEPs (light emitting plastics) last decades, but they do fade over time. One I was looking into to replace neon said to expect 60-70% brighness after 10 years (but I think 4 hours of use a day, so 12 hours or 24 hours per day would be 3-6x worse). One of the major drawbacks to the LEPs currently available is they are not very bright, so it sounds like Fipel solves that.

  • by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:40AM (#42169245)

    For TL tubes, you can get dimmable electronic ballasts which convert the power grid frequency to something in the 10 kHz range. I have one hanging over the dining room table, and it's wonderfully silent and flicker-free. The only drawback is the price (~$40).

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @02:43PM (#42171485) Homepage

    Imagine, the sort of panel lighting you see all the time in sci fi.

    It's been available since the 1960s. Electroluminescent sheets have been around for over 40 years. They're on the expensive side and light output per unit area is low, but they work fine. Some versions last for decades. (Some don't, which is a big problem for permanent installation.) They make good night lights and somewhat dim display backlights.

    Here's a A3 sized white electroluminescent sheet. [] About 12" x 17", costs $125.

    So this is not a new thing. If the new version is a lot brighter or a lot cheaper, it might be useful. For now, it's another "nanotechnology" materials science article about an interesting lab phenomenon.

  • by RealGene ( 1025017 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:35PM (#42173217)
    Only the oldest CFLs used a magnetic ballast at line frequency; virtually all on the market today use a high frequency (> 10 kHz) switching supply to in order to reduce the size and cost of the transformer.
    If your CFLs are perceptibly flickering, it is due to some other device affecting the power quality (large appliance motors, usually).
    Older and "bargain" tube-style fluorescent fixtures use magnetic ballasts, so it isn't uncommon for those to flicker.
    Sometimes perceived flicker is due to vibration (jiggling eyeballs).
    View the light source through a moving electric fan blade.
    If you can see blade images (think wagon wheels in the movies), you have a magnetic ballast light source.
    I'm pretty sure that no human can perceive flicker faster than ~110 Hz.

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