How glow sticks work

If you’re interested in using glow sticks and other glowing products to add some light and entertainment to an event or just to have in case of a power outage or other emergency, you might be curious as to how they work. Understanding glow sticks requires a knowledge of their history, which begins in the 1960s. A chemist named Edwin Chandross developed glow sticks as a means of explaining the idea of chemiluminescence – that chemicals can emit intense light without producing heat.

Chandross developed a glow stick out of three main chemicals: hydrogen peroxide, phenyl oxalate ester, and fluorescent die. A glass tube or other similar structure generally separates the hydrogen peroxide to prevent any unwanted chemical reactions from occurring. There’s also “dry ice glow sticks”, which use all three of the principle chemicals (already combined). These glow sticks are kept on dry ice to prevent the chemiluminescence from happening until the glow sticks are removed. The ability to control when a glow stick begins to work its magic is important, and these are two of the main ways that have been developed to do so.

The color of the glow sticks comes from the fluorescent dye, which can create sticks of a wide range of colors. The blue glow sticks sometimes look “dead” to the untrained eye, because the fluorophores used for blue actually have no color.

Understanding how glow sticks work is a great way to appreciate the precise science involved in developing today’s tools and toys. Premier Glow is proud to be able to provide its customers with inexpensive and effective products with a wide range of uses.

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