CFL’s are actually more efficient because of the mechanism by which they create light. They could not create nearly as much light, however, without their distinctive swirl shape. The shape is part of the reason why they are more efficient. Let me explain:
Conventional light bulbs create light by sending electrons through the tungsten wire. The electrons speed through the wire heating up, and the excess heat is let off in light. It requires a lot of energy to make the tungsten hot enough to release light, so a lot of energy is wasted. CFL’s produce light by a completely different method. A CFL tube is filled with gas, this electrons get excited when exposed to an electric charge. When the electrons cool down, they emit light, which bounces off of the white paint on the tubes and create visible light we see.
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