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General information about neon signs.
F.A.Q about our neon signs
Neon is manufactured by hand. Straight glass tubes are heated with special torches, and carefully bent into shape. A lot of practice is required in order to be able to accurately bend lettering without strains or weak spots.
Once the neon tubes are bent to the desired shape, they are put through a process called bombarding. Bombarding the neon tubes involves connecting the neon to a vacuum pump, and connecting the electrode ends to high voltage leads. The tube is then energized under vacuum with 17,000 to 25,000 volts. As a result, the atmosphere inside the tube, heats up rapidly, and any impurities inside the tube are ignited and removed by the vacuum pump. As the tube cools, the vacuum pump removes everything inside the tube until the pressure reaches at least 1 micron.
Next the rare neon or argon gas is added to the tube to the correct pressure for the diameter of tubing used.
There are two rare gases that are most commonly used in neon lighting today, argon and neon. These gasses are known as noble gasses, because they are chemically inert, and do not mix with other common elements.
It is a combination of the two different types of gas, and the coatings on the inside of the tubings that allow for the different neon colors. Argon gas is glows light blue when it is electrified, and when mercury vapour is present in the tube, a bright bluish white glow is produced. There are different types of phosphor coatings on the inner surface of the neon tubing that glow different colors when the light passes through them. These tubes, depending on their coatings, will give the cooler colors such as blue, green, purple, and yellow.
Neon gas, when energized gives off the characteristic intense orange red glow we are all familiar with. As such, when neon is used with the same coated tubes that make the cooler colors with argon gas, you will get a variety of pink, orange and amber shades.
General information about the element neon.
Neon is the second-lightest noble gas, glows reddish-orange in a vacuum discharge tube and has over 40 times the refrigerating capacity of liquid helium and three times that of liquid hydrogen (on a per unit volume basis). In most applications it is a less expensive refrigerant than helium. Neon has the most intense discharge at normal voltages and currents of all the rare gases.
Neon is usually found in the form of a gas with molecules consisting of a single neon atom. Neon is a rare gas that is found in the Earth's atmosphere at 1 part in 65,000 and is produced by supercooling air and fractionally distilling it from the resulting cryogenic liquid. Neon, like water vapor, is lighter than air; unlike water vapor, which condenses into a liquid below the stratosphere and is thus trapped in Earth's atmosphere, neon may slowly leak out into space, which explains its scarcity on Earth. Argon, in contrast, is heavier than air and so remains within Earth's atmosphere.
Even though neon is for most practical purposes an inert element, it can form an exotic compound with fluorine in the laboratory. It is not known for certain if this or any neon compound exists naturally but some evidence suggests that this may be true. The ions, Ne+, (NeAr)+, (NeH)+, and (HeNe+), have also been observed from optical and mass spectrometric research. In addition, neon forms an unstable hydrate.
Neon has three stable isotopes: Ne-20 (90.48%), Ne-21 (0.27%) and Ne-22 (9.25%). Ne-21 and Ne-22 are nucleogenic and their variations are well understood. In contrast, Ne-20 is not known to be nucleogenic and the causes of its variation in the Earth have been hotly debated. The principal nuclear reactions which generate neon isotopes are neutron emission, alpha decay reactions on Mg-24 and Mg-25, which produce Ne-21 and Ne-22, respectively. The alpha particles are derived from uranium-series decay chains, while the neutrons are mostly produced by secondary reactions from alpha particles. The net result yields a trend towards lower Ne-20/Ne-22 and higher Ne-21/Ne-22 ratios observed in uranium-rich rocks such as granites. Isotopic analysis of exposed terrestrial rocks has demonstrated the cosmogenic production of Ne-21. This isotope is generated by spallation reactions on magnesium, sodium, silicon, and aluminium. By analyzing all three isotopes, the cosmogenic component can be resolved from magmatic neon and nucleogenic neon. This suggests that neon will be a useful tool in determining cosmic exposure ages of surficial rocks and meteorites.
Similar to xenon, neon contents observed in samples of volcanic gases are enriched in Ne-20, as well as nucleogenic Ne-21, relative to Ne-22 contents. The neon isotopic contents of these mantle-derived samples represent a non-atmospheric source of neon. The Ne-20-enriched components were attributed to exotic primordial rare gas components in the Earth, possibly representing solar neon. Elevated Ne-20 abundances were also found in diamonds, further suggesting a solar neon reservoir in the Earth.