UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
Why will Tungsten glow brighter than Nichrome though? I don't understand.
Answer 1:

Good question! Well, remember that things glow when they get hot, and the hotter they are, the brighter they glow. So for example, a red-hot piece of metal is not as hot as a white-hot piece of metal.

But there's a limit to hot how something can get before it melts, and that puts a limit on how brightly it can glow without melting. Tungsten is used in light bulbs because it has a very high melting point: it melts at 3,422 degrees Celsius! Nichrome, on the other hand, melts at 1,400 degrees Celsius. So it's not that tungsten glows brighter than nichrome; it's that you can heat up tungsten to a much higher temperature than nichrome without it melting, so it can glow brighter without melting.

Hope that helps!


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use