Neon Uses Every Day


Neon is an inert gas that is one of the noble gases. Though neon is common throughout the universe, on Earth it is very rare. Due to its rarity, it is expensive and costs nearly 50 times what as much as helium -- a far more common noble gas. Its rarity and high price tag ensure that neon is not often used in products, however there are some common items that rely on neon gas.

Neon Signs

  • Drive through a commercial area after dark, and you will likely see neon in use. Neon signs are constructed of glass tubes filled with neon gas that turns a glowing reddish orange color when charged with electricity. Although the original neon signs were constructed with neon gas, modern signs make use of other gases to create different colors. Although all are called neon signs, only those signs with a reddish orange color contain neon.

High Voltage Indicators

  • Neon is used to make the indicator bulbs found in high voltage indicators. These bulbs also contain a small amount of argon gas. The bulbs contain both a negatively charged and positively charged electrode. When the current being tested is DC or direct current only, the negatively charged electrode glows, but when the current being tested is AC or alternately current, both electrodes will glow. This makes neon gas a popular choice for the bulbs in voltage indicators.

Lightning Arresters

  • A lightening arrester is a device attached to an electrical system that can protect the system in the event of a lightning strike. It works by diverting the extra voltage from the lightning to the ground. Neon gas can be used to make a lightning arrester. The gas is contained in a glass tube. When lightning strikes and is conducted through the neon tube, the electricity arcs and is safely conducted to the ground and away from the electrical system.

Television Tubes and Other Tubes

  • The original television tubes were constructed with neon gas. Signals passed through the neon-filled tubes causing them to emit flashes which were with the assistance of a rotating disk converted to images on the television screen. Other tubes that use neon include wave meter tubes and some vacuum tubes.


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