Glowsticks: How Do They Work? A PowerPoint Presentation by Ben & Ben
What is a Glow Stick???? A glow stick is a plastic capsule with a few different chemicals and a glass vial inside. You activate it by bending the plastic capsule which breaks the glass vial inside mixing the chemicals to start a chemical reaction. It will start to glow shortly. Glow sticks are popular in many places. Including for small children on Halloween, for glowsticking (which will be mentioned later), and in the rave scene.
Materials Within a Glow Stick Plastic Phenyl Oxalate Ester Hydrogen Peroxide Solution Fluorescent Dye Solution Glass Vial
Glow sticks: the Chemical Reaction Many things occur in very little time after you crack the glass vial within a glow stick. The diagram below shows the placement of the chemicals within the glow stick, and the paragraph below tells you about the chemical reaction of the glow stick. When you bend the glow stick you break the glass vial releasing the Hydrogen Peroxide Solution into the Fluorescent dye Solution and the Phenyl Oxalate Ester. The Phenyl Oxalate Ester is oxidized by the Hydrogen Peroxide Solution resulting in Phenol (another chemical) and Peroxyacid Ester. The Peroxyacid Ester is unstable and rapidly decomposes. Which forms more phenol and Cyclic Peroxy Compound. The Cyclic Peroxy Compound decays into Carbon Dioxide. The atoms in the Fluorescent Dye Solution become excited by the Carbon Dioxide. (Explanation continued on next page)
The Excitement of Atoms This process occurs every time you see light. As you all know, when atoms become excited (by heat or otherwise), they begin to move very fast. The atoms collide with each other transferring energy into each others electrons. This gives the electrons a temporary power increase, making them farther away from their atom’s nucleus. Eventually they calm down (moving closer to the nucleus) and the energy that is released is let out in the form of light photons. In a glow stick, the light photons show through the dye giving the awesome green glow. This process is called chemiluminescence. Heating a glow stick will speed up the chemical reaction, but it will glow for a shorter time. (right stick) The glow stick on the left has been cracked and left in room temperature. It will glow dimmer but longer. (left stick)
Glow Stick Uses • Glow sticks have a variety of uses, some of which are: • Military • Recreational night driving • Band conducting • Fun on Halloween • Entertainment at parties (especially raves) • And glowsticking, a form of dancing using light sticks.
The History of Glow Sticks He found that oxalyl chloride with hydrogen peroxide and a fluorescent dye created a chemical reaction with the efficiency of 0.1\. Although this was a very low efficiency, it was the first steps into finding a solution. A few years later, a scientist named Michael Rauhut and his colleague Laszlo Bollyky, researched even further. They developed a series of oxalate esters to see which one would prove the most efficient. The Phenyl Oxalate Ester reacted the best, at an efficiency of 5\, which sadly, did not best the firefly. They dubbed this chemical cyalume, which was used in glow sticks ever since which were invented sometime later. Many people were amazed at the attributes of the firefly. Scientist began trying to imitate their heatless light as an alternative light source. Scientists knew what they were trying to accomplish, but not the chemicals to complete the task. In the early 1960’s, a young chemist named Edwin Chandross began searching for a way to explain chemiluminescence. He knew that peroxides, with a potential to emit large amounts of energy during a chemical reaction would likely be used in his experiment.
Get ready for : The Grand Finale The Lighting of the Glow Stick!!!!
LET THE FINALE BEGIN! Everyone! Crack your glowsticks!