Lightsticks and Luminescence
Things that glow in the dark can seem like magic, but they’re really chemistry! Visit these links to learn how luminescence works, to experiment with lightsticks, to see why an internet Mountain Dew video was a fake, and more.
- Liquid Light Demo
Red + green + blue = what? Try this lightstick color mixing demonstration to find out!
- Color Mixing Using Chemical Light Sticks
Grab an electric drill from the toolbox and mix lightstick colors.
- Chemiluminescence with Luminol
Turn out the lights, load up some luminol solutions, and watch the glow with these three demos!
- Temperature and the Rate of a Chemical Reaction
How low can you glow? Investigate what happens when you change the temperature of a lightstick.
- Light Sticks—Liquid Light
More temperature changes! Dip them in hot or cold, then swap. How long does the change take?
- Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie
Link children’s literature and chemistry with this easy-to-do lightstick activity for younger children.
- Sugar Glow
Crush it! There’s a triboluminescent glow waiting for you inside these small cubes.
- The Chemistry of Glow Sticks
What’s your favorite color? Find out the dye that makes it happen in a lightstick.
- What Is Chemiluminescence?
Dust off your chem vocab as you take a more in-depth look at the science behind this light, including “living glow sticks.”
- What's That Stuff? Lightsticks
Learn about early research into chemiluminescence, with fireflies for inspiration.
- How Light Sticks Work
It seems simple—snap a lightstick, shake it up, and watch it glow. But there’s a lot of chemistry packed into that little tube!
- Light Stick Colors
Find out where lightsticks get their different-colored glow.
- Mountain Dew Glow
It’s a fake! Learn why the glowing Mountain Dew YouTube video was a hoax.
- Day Glo Fluorescent Pigments
Read the story of these scientist brothers whose glowing research began with an unfortunate accident.
- Living Light: The Chemistry of Bioluminescence
There are more than just fireflies out there. Find more glowing creatures, along with their chemistry.
- How Do Fireflies Glow? Mystery Solved After 60 Years
A firefly glows in the lab—without a firefly. See what scientists have learned.
- Glow Table
Woodworking gets its glow on in this elaborate project. Check out the results!
(all sites accessed August 2017)