Pity the poor Neon light – for so long the king of illuminated displays, the Las Vegas favourite, the flickering indicator of all that was exciting, glamorous and sleazy. But now Neon’s time in the limelight (pardon the pun) is over – environmental concerns, expense and impracticality have all led to a reduction in the requirement for Neon’s services. But the main culprit responsible for Neon’s demise is the rise in the quality and variety of electroluminescent lighting options available. In particular, the versatility of electroluminescent (or EL) wire means that it’s now possible to create lighting designs and displays of a quality and intricacy that Neon can’t compete with.
EL wire is essentially a standard wire that is coated in phosphor and then covered in a PVC sheet. When current is passed through the wire it begins to glow, emitting light throughout 360 degrees. Because the principle behind EL wires can be applied to wires both large and small, and because wires are infinitely more pliable than glass, the applications for EL wire are limited only by budget and imagination.
One of the properties that makes EL wire such an exciting invention is that it emits light, yet doesn’t emit heat. This means that EL Wire can be used to light things far more safely than other means of lighting. Indeed, one of the main areas where EL wire has really taken off is in the clothing industry. Because it doesn’t give off heat, EL Wire can be used to create stunning colours and lights on clothes, something fashion designers and costume makers have been quick to take advantage of. Even more importantly, safety clothing manufacturers are using EL wires to make their products more visible both in daylight and at night – who knows how many lives EL wire may be responsible for saving in the future?
Because of its good value, practicality and environmentally friendly credentials, EL wire has also been used extensively in the interior and exterior design industries. Many city centre bars now boast EL Wire based lighting displays, while building facades across the globe have been rejuvenated by stunning EL signs and lighting designs.
But it is in the field of electronics where EL Wire is proving most popular, as thousands of budding engineers and electronics enthusiasts are using EL wire to enhance their creations. Because EL wire is so simple to use – you simply connect it to a power source– even beginners can use it to create eye catching effects. Whether it’s as a practical feature of their projects or just to give their designs a more futuristic appearance, electronics hobbyists and enthusiasts have been using increasingly large amounts of electroluminescent material in their designs.
EL wire is available in many different colours, widths and lengths, its versatility making it perfect for creating with, while its low cost means that it is within the budget of anyone who wants to use it. Thanks to the internet it’s now easy to purchase EL wire quickly and cheaply online (http://proto-pic.co.uk/categories/Electroluminescent-Materials/is a good place to start) so whether you’re a fashion designer, lighting technician or enthusiastic electronic hobbyist, there’s no excuse not to see the light.
– By Claryjosee
*About Author Bio:
Claryjosee is an online freelance copywriter who has covered a number of topics relating to ELWire and electronics projects