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  • Writer's pictureShiri Hershkovitz Bartur

Illuminating the Night: Unraveling the Secrets of Glow Sticks

A stick light, commonly known as a glow stick or light stick, is a plastic tube containing two separate chemical solutions that emit light when mixed.

The process behind the light emission is called chemiluminescence, which is the production of light through a chemical reaction without the need for an external energy source or heat.

A typical glow stick consists of the following components:

1. Outer plastic tube: This tube contains a chemical solution, usually a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and a dye (called a fluorophore) that determines the color of the emitted light.

2. Inner glass vial: The inner vial, which is made of glass, is sealed within the outer plastic tube and contains a different chemical solution, usually a phenyl oxalate ester or a similar compound.

3. Activation: To activate the glow stick, you bend or snap the outer plastic tube, breaking the inner glass vial. This allows the two chemical solutions to mix.

4. Chemiluminescent reaction: When the chemicals combine, the hydrogen peroxide oxidizes the phenyl oxalate ester, producing a highly energetic intermediate compound. This intermediate compound then transfers its energy to the dye molecules, causing them to become excited.

5. Emission of light: The excited dye molecules return to their ground state by releasing energy in the form of visible light. The specific color of the light depends on the type of dye used in the glow stick.

Glow sticks are popular because they are portable, waterproof, and don't require batteries or an external power source. They are commonly used for entertainment, safety, and outdoor activities, such as concerts, parties, camping, and emergency situations. The duration of the glow can range from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the specific chemicals, concentration, and temperature.

I try and combine glow sticks in my jewelry in order to make glowing fine jewelry that will glow when I want it, and not just by absorbing light.

Here is the first prototype of a 3d mushroom especially designed to hold a 3.7mm stick light

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