Chemistry Question #81

erin, a 16 year old female from the Internet asks on October 12, 1999,

Can you explain how those bright sticks work, the ones that glow for hours with a snap and a shake?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on October 11, 1999

Commercially available light sticks use a fluorescent dye which absorbs energy from an oxidation reaction, and then radiates light. Light sticks contain an internal ampule of peroxide which is broken when you bend the stick, allowing the oxidation to begin. You might want to experiment with temperature and the intensity and duration of the glow of the light stick. A further explanation with chemical equations can be found at the Glowstick Factory's website.

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