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Author Topic: How does a polyester sheet make a fluorescent bulb glow?  (Read 4980 times)

BUXBAUM,DANE

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BUXBAUM,DANE  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I accidentally rubbed my pillowcase (100% polyester) against the mini
fluorescent bulb in my bed side lamp and it glowed for just a split second. I repeated the phenomenon numerous times to even greater effect. It would not work with any other fabric I tried - nor the flesh of my hand. I should say that the lamp was turned off at the time. The bedspread set was purchased at Walmart and made in China.

Am I being exposed to some kind of chemical or radio active toxin??? What could have caused this?

What do you think?


 

Offline Chemistry4me

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How does a polyester sheet make a fluorescent bulb glow?
« Reply #1 on: 03/02/2009 21:22:43 »
Static electricity anybody?
 

Offline graham.d

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How does a polyester sheet make a fluorescent bulb glow?
« Reply #2 on: 04/02/2009 13:26:25 »
Yes, it's static electricity. You can generate very high fields from static electricity (many kV) and these are enough to strike a fluorescent tube. If you take a traditional fluoescent tube and stand under a power line with the tube vertical, you can get it to strike easily. They won't glow very brightly because the current flow is low, but it can be surprisingly bright.

No worries, Dane.
 

Offline thedoc

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How does a polyester sheet make a fluorescent bulb glow?
« Reply #3 on: 08/09/2009 18:37:02 »

 

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