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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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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:02AM (#42168175) Journal

    The funny thing about florescent tubes is how recently they became 'controversial'. Essentially all the R&D was in place for conventional hot-cathode tubes by the late 30s, and they were owning the commercial, industrial, and other cost-sensitive bulk sectors. And these were the good shit: Mercury, beryllium, the kind of stuff that wasn't good for you even in the '50s, back when smoking and liquid lunches were doctor-approved...

    Once they became symbols of tyrannical envirofascist totalitarianism, though, you'd have thought that they'd started filling the things with nerve gas.(Amusingly, the bulk commercial/institutional users still don't give a fuck. Just stay after hours at any giant cube farm or similar and you'll see the janitors shoving around garbage cans full of old tubes, half of them broken, without the slightest concern...)

  • Re:Cheap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NEDHead ( 1651195 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:04AM (#42168187)

    Capitalist: Noun

    1) Some other guy that is making money, while I sit whining in my mother's basement.

  • by robot256 ( 1635039 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:20AM (#42168319)
    It's also the government that has to clean up the land fills and ground water when they get sued for letting people dump so much mercury into them. So their only failure is in not educating the public and not providing better recycling facilities. Also, it's the local governments that have to deal with these problems, while the federal government is the one mandating CFL use.
  • Re:Cheap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:21AM (#42168325)

    I've heard a lot of concerns lobbed at capitalism from fellow nerds on here, but never that it didn't make things cheap. At the cost of human rights, the environment, natural resource depletion, sure... but cheap.

  • Re:and (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:25AM (#42168357)

    It doesn't even mean that... shatter proof means it wont end up in a zillion razor sharp shards for you to step on. It could still be easy to break. Jello is shatter proof...

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @10:28AM (#42168395)

    Is issue isn't if the Old People are Right or Wrong, but their reasoning for their decision.

    Often the argument is driven by a nostalgic emotional attachment, and not by any rational measuring of the advantages vs disadvantages.

    A lot of people miss leaded gasoline, because they miss the sweeter smell it gave off, vs. the harsher unleaded gasoline smell. Is a slightly better smell while filling your tank worth having hazardous chemicals in the air, and a residue that can get on your hands that is harmful as well?

    Or those people who often buy unpasteurized milk on the black market. Because they claim it tastes better and has nutrition. Does the difference in taste and a minor improvement in nutrition outweigh the serious illnesses you can get from it?

    If you go across hating everything, you can always nitpick and hang onto that one redeeming feature no matter how minor it is. Or you can jump on the bandwagon and say everything that comes out is immediately superior. Or you can just be balanced and actually stop thinking you are an expert in everything, and try it out, and/or read about it from many sources and judge for yourself if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

  • by Artemis3 ( 85734 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:00AM (#42168769)

    This is no longer needed. Some countries are phasing out even CFLs in favor of LEDs, for example China by 2016 won't allow sale of units over 15w. LEDs are already "shatter proof" and they don't carry any gases inside ("solid state").

    China will ban imports and sales of certain incandescent light bulbs starting October 2012 to encourage the use of alternative lighting sources such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs), with a 5-year plan of phasing-out incandescent light bulbs over 100 watts starting October 1, 2012, and gradually extend the ban to those over 15 watts on October 1, 2016. []

    I have a couple of 10w (4x 2.5w pcs) LED flood lamps, they are too strong for direct lightning but pointing them up allows the light to reflect and diffuse back down nicely. They come up instantly and there is no flickering. Unfortunately they get a little too hot at the base because of the AC/DC transformer, thankfully i'm not enclosing them but overheating could be a problem for others. Perhaps we should adopt some form of DC power distribution inside the house to keep away this conversion from the lamps (and so many devices use DC anyway).

    Have you seen white LED street lamps? I have, and they work perfectly. They are also instant (instead of minutes) and the light lets you see many more colors at night. They are about 80w to 100w, instead of the usual 250w, and happen to last 10x more.

  • by halltk1983 ( 855209 ) <> on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:08AM (#42168847) Homepage Journal
    I see a flicker from florescent lights. CFLs and bar style. Bugs the crap out of me. Had to switch to torchiere style lights so it at least bounces off the ceiling first. They cause me headaches over a long period of time. I switched a lot of my lights I use most commonly to LEDs around the house and it helped. Point being, sometimes people don't hate something because it's different. Haven't bought an incandescent bulb in years, because I'm energy conscious, but I can see where others might not want to subject themselves to headaches because someone else says they can't buy the bulbs they like.
  • Re: Cheap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:13AM (#42168911) Journal

    Um, no, actually you have explained why having many competitors is a good thing. A duopoly or oligopoly is a limited form of competition where bargaining power is collected with the very few sellers. In cases like this, especially where there is a valuable resource being limited, government regulation is very much appropriate.

    Capitalism, overall, is a very good thing and is responsible for our standard of living. It does not mean that it should be unchecked despite what our libertarian friends might think.

  • Re:Cheap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:41AM (#42169263)

    I'm very pro-capitalism in general, I was just repeating the usual criticisms levied against it around here.

    Also, your logic is faulty. There are choices besides just communism and capitalism. In fact, the examples of the soviet union are probably a better example of socialism than communism, which IMHO is a theoretical system only.

  • Lumens per watt? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AnotherBlackHat ( 265897 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:49AM (#42169373) Homepage

    A "normal" A19 soft white bulb is about 14.5 Lumens per Watt.
    A typical CFL is around 55 Lumens per Watt
    A good LED bulb is around 90 Lumens per Watt (and they're getting better)

    Fipel bulbs are "Highly Efficient".
    Anyone have an idea what that is in Lumens per Watt?

  • by aurispector ( 530273 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:50AM (#42169385)

    Incandescent bulbs keep looking better and better. I was using CFL's before congress basically mandated them because they last a long time, but hate the fact that they create mini superfund sites every time you break one. The polymer described does sound like it has the potential to be toxic as hell if it burns.

    New technology is great but it would be even better if congress would stop shoving this stuff down our throats.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:50AM (#42169387) Homepage Journal

    Outside of that, these do sound a bit too good to be true...

    So did VCRs, affordable computers, cell phones, the end of polio, my having an eye operation that cured my lifelong nearsightedness and my age related farsightedness...

  • Re:Cheap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @12:33PM (#42169973)

    Heck we have a lot of things that would be excessively expensive back in the day.

    A simple everyday example is food.

    Most food has been reduced to near the cost of the transportation necessary to deliver it to your area. Evidence for this is the large fluctuations in food prices in lock step with fuel price fluctuations. Further evidence of this is that all food conglomerates are now also shipping conglomerates, and this is so because thats where the value creation actually happens with regards to food. The food is worth very little where it is grown and where it is processed because of the extreme efficiencies that we have achieved. It only attains value through shipping. Shipping is where the value creation happens with regards to most foods.

    Yes there are "brand names" that carry a premium, but much like Apple they are essentially niche irrelevant.

    More on topic, this is the historic price of light in terms of median US labor:

    year - hours of work needed to purchase 1000 lumen hours of light
    1800 - 5.387
    1850 - 2.998
    1900 - 0.2204
    1950 - 0.00188
    1992 - 0.00012

    here is the citation for those numbers []

  • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @02:45PM (#42171507)

    Price is a red herring - CFL prices have actually fallen to the point that they're cheaper than an equivalent-duration worth of incandescent bulbs: $1.50 for a CFL that will last longer than five $0.30 bulbs. And that doesn't factor in the fact that the CFL will only consume about $7 worth of electricity over its life, whereas the five bulbs would consume $20+. The poor actually come out ahead dramatically buying CFLs - the energy-bill savings from the first CFL they buy will pay for the next eight.

    Bulbs are only cheaper when all you're looking at is the immediate sticker price, which is precisely why legislation was needed. People tend to not think in terms of amortized cost, and those amortized energy costs also happen to be intimately tied with a range of nasty environmental impacts that everyone will eventually have to pay for.

  • by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @03:17PM (#42171959)

    only true if the bulb actually lasts as long as its supposed to.

    i've had incandescents last years.
    i've had cfl's last months, even weeks.

    guess which one is easier on the bank when you have to replace it early and is beyond the store's replacement time limit, even with a receipt?

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian