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FAQ >> Glow Products work

How do glow sticks & glow products work?

There are four components to most glow sticks & glow products. The first is the plastic outer casing which holds everything together. The second is the fluid that you can see moving around in the glow stick or glow product. The third is the glass ampoule which floats freely in the fluid and the fourth component is the fluid contained inside the glass ampoule. Now that your aware of the components that make up a glow product you will learn how to activate one.

To make a glow light product or glow light stick 'glow' you must bend the outer plastic casing enough so that the inner glass ampoule breaks. The two chemicals can then mix together creating the chemical reaction and the 'glow'.

Glow sticks are fun party supplies . When sending out your party invitations, think of the interesting Chemistry involved with your party favors. Glow sticks work by a chemical reaction called “chemiluminescence” which causes light to be generated. (That's a trivia question for some party games!) By breaking up the word "chemiluminescence" into 2 parts, chemi and luminescence we can better understand. Luminescence is emission of light not caused by a rise in temperature (the object emitting light stays cold). The light is released by atoms returning from "excited" (charged) state to normal "ground" state. It means, an object which glows, first must absorb energy to get into "excited state." That energy will be released (in form of light) by the object returning to the ground state of energy.

The energy can be supplied in many ways, but in our particular case of glow sticks the energy is supplied by a chemical reaction (what makes the "chemi" in chemiluminescence). Typical glow sticks as chemical reactants use a hydrogen peroxide solution (which is called the "activator"), a solution of phenyl oxalate ester and a fluorescent dye (which makes the color). The activator is stored in a thin glass capsule. When the glass capsule is broken by flexing a glow stick the activator is released, and mixing the components (shaking the glow stick) initiates the reaction. Depending on components used, the chemical reaction can last (glow sticks can glow) from a few minutes to many hours. When using glow sticks as party supplies , wait until that last moment to shake them. Heating the glow sticks (providing extra energy) will speed up the reaction, what will result in brighter light but will shorten the glow time. The reaction will slow down in low temperatures the light will dim, but the glow time will be longer.

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