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Orange, then red, then yellow sounds like it is something getting hotter, possibly just the filament.
I would never of thought to nook a light bulb.. What are the lights inside if the micrawaves, and why does the micrawaving not effect their own bulbs Paul?
"my third bulb was a halogen containing mercury,"Who puts mercury in halogen lamps? Is it a mercury/ metal halide lamp or a tungsten lamp or an tungsten halogen lamp?
fluorescent tubes just light up in the microwave, although don't cook them for more than 4-5 seconds as it is entirely possible to melt bulbs in there, and releasing the mercury would be bad.
Fluorescent bulbs work by giving a gas lots of energy electrically which they then emit as light. The difficult thing is to find a gas that emits light at the right frequencies. For example sodium vapour makes an orange colour (eg streetlights) neon gas makes a red colour. I think there is a mixture of gasses in a flourescent tube one of which is mercury which emits in the visible range and in UV - the UV is then converted into visible light using a phosphor. I guess mercury is the best mixture of colour and efficiency available.
Long ago they used beryllium silicates in the phosphors in fluorescent tubes. Since Beryllium compounds are pretty toxic, various scare stories grew up about the stuff in the tubes (notably a myth that the stuff was radioactive). It's probably not a good idea to inhale or ingest these phosphors but the newer ones are less toxic- at least to the extent that you should worry about the mercury instead.(BTW, IIRC metalic phosphorus is one of the least nasty forms)
See.. A perfect dad!! Experimenting!! Any discoveries/inventions/creations?