Every biography of Edison talks about how the secret to the incandescent lamp was to remove the air from the bulb. That’s true when you use conventional filaments, but a man named Nernst found that using a filament that was already oxidized would allow you to create a lamp that would operate fine in the normal atmosphere. [Jaynes Network] takes a look at these oddities which date back to the 1800s in a recent video that you can see below.
The lamps use a ceramic filament, but the downside is that the filament needs to be hot to allow the lamp to work. The experiment takes a zirconium oxide rod and attempts to light it up. The heat source is a propane torch.
We don’t suggest hooking up alligator clips to an electric cord as you see in the video. A resistor, a fuse, and an isolation transformer would make the setup a little safer. If all this isn’t dangerous enough, don’t forget there’s also a flaming propane torch and burning insulation. What could go wrong?
It took a few attempts to get the rod to conduct more with heat, but finally, there was an increase in current. We’ll have to wait for the next installment to see if it really lights up or not.