Light sticks are fun but have you ever wondered how they work? Light sticks glow as a result of a chemical reaction that transfers energy into light. Here is a fun experiment to try at home:
- Observe an unbroken light stick. If you hold it up to the light, you will see two chambers with two solutions. The solution inside the glass ampule in the center of the light stick is the hydrogen peroxide. The solution in the main chamber of the light stick is ester and dye.
- Bend the light stick until the glass ampule in the center breaks and releases the hydrogen peroxide. As the hydrogen peroxide mixes with the ester and dye, the light stick will start to glow as radiant energy is the product of this chemical reaction!
- You can speed up the reaction by placing the light stick in a container of hot water. In doing so, you will notice the light stick will glow brighter.
- To slow down the chemical reaction, place the light stick in a container of ice water. You will notice that the light stick doesn’t glow as bright.