I am puzzled about the term "ballast."?

Is there any relationship in the word origin of the term "ballast" as used as a part in a fluorescent light and the "ballast" used in a submarine or an airship?

6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    During the starting process there is a great increase in voltage in the ballast which causes the tube to light. Since the gases in the tube have negative resistance, the ballast now plays the role of a current limiter or current stabilizer. The ballast in a ship also acts as a stabilizer.

  • 1 decade ago

    They are related....here is a definition from Websters:

    Main Entry:

    1bal·last Listen to the pronunciation of 1ballast






    probably from Low German, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish & Swedish barlast ballast; perhaps akin to Old English bær bare & to Old English hlæst load, hladan to load — more at lade



    1 : a heavy substance placed in such a way as to improve stability and control (as of the draft of a ship or the buoyancy of a balloon or submarine) 2 : something that gives stability (as in character or conduct) 3 : gravel or broken stone laid in a railroad bed or used in making concrete 4 : a device used to provide the starting voltage or to stabilize the current in a circuit (as of a fluorescent lamp)

    It is all about stability. The ballast of a fluorescent light is there to provide stable electricity so the bulb can survive. So I think they are related.

  • 1 decade ago

    Two totally different things. A "ballast" for electricians is almost like an ignitor and electric stabilizer; like in an HID headlight. The ballast of a ship is a weight on the bottom of the boat to keep it from tipping.

  • Matty
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Well, in a sense, they're both used to stabilize something. Electrical ballast is something you change to control current, the other ballasts are things you change to control bouyancy

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  • 1 decade ago

    In both cases, ballast is something that has a stabilizing effect.

  • 1 decade ago

    no, one fires up the fluorescent light, the other is weight that lowers the center of gravity.

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