How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 390

Why do fluorescent tubes explode if broken (is it the compression of the gas)?
Fluorescent tubes operate at very low pressure; roughly 1/1000th of an atmosphere. They do not explode when broken; they implode. The atmospheric pressure surrounding the tube crushes it as soon as it begins to crack. The tube shape of a typical fluorescent tube is chosen because it can withstand the enormous compressive forces of the atmosphere better than most other shapes.

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