# How does the flickering flame light bulb work?

I bought this "flickering flame bulb" recently.

This is what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/Py7pD0Oor9o

Here is the same thing but in slightly slow motion: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/bGrohhEwISg

I (a physics enthusiast) was talking about the bulb with my Dad (electrician) and we were arguing about how light is produced and why is it chaotic.

I'll from now on refer to the things inside the bulb as the "flame elements".

Here is my theory: It works the same way as a normal incandescent bulb. There is a vacuum inside the bulb. Current flows through some part of the flame element of the bulb then jump through the second half of the bulb and go to the ground. Current causes part of that "flame element" to emit light and increases its temperature. Because that part of the "flame element" is hotter it has higher resistance and that causes the current to change path - this is how chaos emerges.

Here is my dad's theory: It works similarly to fluorescent lamps. The bulb is filled with some sort of gas which is glowing when current flows through it. The "flame element" is not glowing at all it is gas around it that emits light. Chaotic behavior emerges because the bulb is powered by AC current and these changes in current flow are visible as chaotic behavior of the light inside the bulb. He also said that he thinks this means the chaotic behavior would be gone/bulb would not work if powered by DC current.

What I don't like in his theory is that the outer part of the "flame element" seems to be glowing. Why would current want to take such a long path from outside to outside instead of just jumping through the gap between the "flame elements" (shortest path)?

Here is the product page - it is unfortunately in Polish but maybe you could translate or derive something from photos.

https://allegro.pl/oferta/zarowka-led-e14-3w-z-funkcja-migoczacego-plomienia-12146734440

Can u tell me who is right? If none of us is right what is the explanation?

• That is a neon lamp. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neon_lamp#Flicker_flame Apr 11, 2023 at 1:53
• Technology Connections did a piece on those. youtube.com/watch?v=nyYjnV99wfM Apr 11, 2023 at 2:03
• Neon gas plasma flicker flame bulbs are also explained in this answer on Electronics SE. Apr 11, 2023 at 2:11
• Guys materials you included answer my question. Submit it as an answer please, so I can accept. I will do so in few days if u won't care. :) Apr 11, 2023 at 17:27
• Thank you very much!! Apr 11, 2023 at 17:27