Glow Stick Science
Is this soldier using some type of high-tech laser light? Believe it or not, he’s using the same type of light that you do if you play with glow sticks. In fact, this type of light was first developed by the military.
The Back Story
- There are many different sources of visible light. Glow sticks produce a type of light called chemoluminescence.
- Chemicals undergo chemical reactions and release energy in the form of light. You know that a chemical change has occurred, because the release of light is a sign of a chemical reaction.
- Watch this entertaining video to see for yourself how glow sticks—well, glow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZfHn1YJVGk
Show What You Know
With the links below, learn more about glow sticks and chemoluminescence. Then answer the following questions.
- Why do you have to bend and “crack” a glow stick in order for it to produce light?
- What chemical reaction takes place in a glow stick?
- What causes the glow in a glow stick?
- Besides using glow sticks for fun, what are some other real-world applications of glow sticks?
- How is chemoluminescence used in forensics?