You may associate gas lanterns with camping trips or perhaps you keep one at home in case of a power outage. These sources of light are simple devices that utilize some basic physics. Take this quiz to see what you know about how gas lanterns work.
A horseshoe heated to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit will glow a reddish color. You can see this in the coils of an electric stove, oven or toaster.
A normal light bulb filament glows a very bright yellow, almost white, color when it reaches its functioning temperature of 4,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
An incandescent material is something that produces light when it is heated.
Anything that is heated will glow, but some materials will produce more light from certain amounts of heat than others. A certain volume of glass will produce much less light when heated than the same volume of steel, which is a good light producer.
The term "limelight" comes from the method of creating light by heating calcium oxide, also known as lime, in order to produce light for theaters in the 1800s. Lime was the material of choice because of its high melting temperature of 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit, which meant that it would glow without melting.
The mantles of a gas lantern are a ceramic mesh that encases the flame created by the lantern when the gas is ignited.
The gas in a lantern is ignited and produces heat within the lantern. The gases commonly used are propane, white gas or kerosene.
The mantels are initially covered with a silk fabric. The silk burns away when the gas is ignited and leaves the ceramic shell behind.
The ceramic shells are impregnated with different oxides. The standard type of mantle is the Welsbach mantle, which is made from a mixture of thorium oxide, cerium oxide and magnesium oxide.
The mantles produce light as the ceramic shells heat and glow.