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Glow Sticks. By: Savannah Myers & Hannah Lacombe . Light. Light is a form of energy, which can be emitted through a variety of processes. These processes include Incandescence - The emission of light due to heat (as in an ordinary light bulb or a gas lantern)

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glow sticks

Glow Sticks

By: Savannah Myers &

Hannah Lacombe

light
Light

Light is a form of energy, which can be emitted through a variety of processes. These processes include

  • Incandescence - The emission of light due to heat (as in an ordinary light bulb or a gas lantern)
  • Fluorescence and phosphorescence - The emission of light in response to radiation energy (as in a fluorescent light bulb or a television)
  • Laser generation - The concentrated emission of light using stimulated emission (see How Lasers Work for details).
  • A glow stick does the same basic thing, but it uses a chemical reaction to excite the atoms in a material.
the chemical reactions
The Chemical Reactions
  • The chemical reaction is set off by mixing many chemical compounds
  • A typical commercial light stick holds a hydrogen peroxide solution and a solution containing a phenyl oxalate ester and a fluorescent dye. Here's the sequence of events when the two solutions are combined:
  • The hydrogen peroxide oxidizes the phenyl oxalate ester, resulting in a chemical called phenol and an unstable peroxyacid ester.
  • The unstable peroxyacid ester decomposes, resulting in additional phenol and a cyclic peroxy compound.
  • The cyclic peroxy compound decomposes to carbon dioxide.
  • This decomposition releases energy to the dye.
  • The electrons in the dye atoms jump to a higher level, then fall back down, releasing energy in the form of light.
things you ll need
Things You’ll Need
  • 2 liters distilled water
  • 50 milliliters hydrogen peroxide at a 3-percent concentration
  • 0.5 grams ammonium carbonate
  • 0.2 grams luminol
  • 4 grams sodium carbonate
  • 0.4 grams copper sulfate pentahydrate
  • 2 glass bowls
  • 3 or 4 test tubes with stoppers
  • peroxide solution oxidizing the luminol. The glow should last for a few minutes before fading.
instructions
Instructions

1 Use a glass mixing bowl to mix 1 liter of water with the hydrogen peroxide.

2 Mix the sodium carbonate, luminol, copper sulfate and ammonium carbonate in another glass bowl, along with 1 liter of water.

3 Hold out an open test tube and pour in 2 tablespoons of the first mixture.

4 Pour in 2 tablespoons of the second mixture and cap the test tube tightly.

5 Gently shake the test tube to mix the contents. As the chemical reaction begins, you'll see the mixture start to glow--a result of the hydrogen