chemistry FAQ's

How Do Glow Sticks Glow?

The glow in a glow stick is the result of two chemicals reacting together and giving off light energy in a process called chemiluminscence.

Inside a glow stick is a glass vial containing different chemicals (usually phenyl oxalate and a fluorescent dye). This sits inside other chemicals (usually hydrogen peroxide) contained by the plastic tube. When you snap the stick, the glass vial breaks and the two chemicals mix and react. This is a process known as chemiluminescence: when the chemicals mix, electrons in the constituent atoms are raised to a higher energy level. When these electrons return to their normal state, they release light energy.

Glow sticks have a wide variety of applications from military, to diving, to night-time fishing lures.

Fast Fact: The world’s largest glow stick was 8ft 4 inches tall!

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