When you think of neon lights, the most common thing that comes to mind are the brightly colored signs that you see outside of businesses of all kinds in every country of the world. However, neon lights offer a large range of uses beyond just advertising signs.
Neon is an inert gas that is represented on the periodic table with the symbol “Ne”. It is a colorless gas in its natural state. The gas is very lightweight and rarely occurs on the earth. For commercial uses it is extracted from the atmospheric air where it is found in very small quantities.
Even though it is rare on Earth, Neon is the 5th streetlyte most abundant chemical element in the universe and is the second lightest noble gas in the periodic table. Neon was first discovered by Sir William Ramsay and Morris M Travers in 1898. The fact that there is very little of this gas on earth makes their discovery even more extraordinary.
Volcanoes also contain high amounts of this gas when they erupt. Large amounts of neon are also found in diamonds which means that millions of years ago, it was much more abundant on earth than it is now.
Neon has many uses. Its most common use is for making signs for businesses. Neon signs have become a staple in bars, convenience stores, restaurants, beauty shops and many other businesses since they were first introduced.
The glow of this gas by itself is red. It is with the addition of mercury and other gases in different variations that a spectrum of over 150 colors can be made. Neon light also has the ability to penetrate fog, which is why these types of lights are one of the top choices for lighting systems in extremely cold regions. It is also the reason it is used in airplane beacons.
Neon can also be used as a refrigerant. It serves as a potential cryogenic refrigerant in the liquid state and has 40 times the capacity for cooling than liquid helium and three times the cooling capacity of liquid hydrogen thereby making it a more efficient coolant than the other two choices.
Neon lights can also be used in combination with helium gas to make lasers. Neon gas is also used in research to prepare the spark chamber mixtures. It is also used in television tubes, wave meter tubes and high voltage testers.