011 Why is the last bulb so slow?

The real mystery in this video, is why it takes longer to light up the fifth bulb if the other four were already lit up, compared to if all five were lit together.

The explanation has to do with the fact that resistance of a filament increases with temperature. So a bulb that is already lit up has a larger resistance than a cold bulb.

00Picture1

In this video, when the 5 bulbs are all lit up from cold together, because they grow hot together at the same rate, their resistances are the same at any one time. So the potential difference across each bulb is always 46 V (230 V /5 bulbs).

00Picture1

When 1 bulb is lit up from cold, with all the other 4 already hot, the initial potential difference across the cold bulb is much less than 46 V. This is because the other 4 hot filaments, with their larger resistances, has more than 46 V across each of them, as the potential divider principle dictates.

The pd across the 5th bulb will however eventually grow to become 46 V, when the bulb has heated up and its resistance becomes the same as all the other bulbs.

Compared to a bulb with 46 V across right from the beginning, a bulb with pd increasing slowly towards 46 V takes a longer time to light up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s