Is there a better way to construct a light bulb? For instance, is there a way to…

Is there a better way to construct a light bulb? For instance, is there a way to prevent the surface of the bulb from heating so quickly and generating so much heat? Is glass the best cover?

Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to increase the efficiency of an incandescent bulb. It emits light by creating a very hot filament. Some of the filament’s heat is emitted as visible light but most ends up as hot air or infrared light (which you cannot see). There are tricks used to increase the bulb’s visible light output slightly (e.g. heating the filament hotter as in a halogen bulb or reducing the heat transport in the bulb gas as in a krypton bulb), but mostly there is nothing that can be done. Glass is about the best material for a bulb: it’s clear and a relatively poor conductor of heat.

On a three-way lamp, what are the switch settings for? Does it pump in more ener…

On a three-way lamp, what are the switch settings for? Does it pump in more energy?

The lamp has four switch positions: off, filament 1 on, filament 2 on, and both filaments on. The bulb has three electrical connections to its filaments. One contact delivers electrical power to filament 1, another contact delivers electrical power to filament 2, and the third contact returns electricity from both filaments to the power plant. The switch carefully controls the flow of electricity to the two filaments so that at the low light setting, only the small filament is on, at the medium setting, only the large filament is on, and at the high setting, both filaments are on.