science lab / glow stick jars2 March 2015
Ever wondered how glow sticks do that awesome glowing thing they do? The chemistry behind it is fairly simple – glow sticks contain a mixture of coloured dye, diphenyl oxalate, and hydrogen peroxide, the latter of which is contained within a sleek, inner glass tube. When your excited fingers snap the glow stick in half, the chemicals react to produce an unstable compound that excites the coloured dye molecules, resulting in the release of a photon of visible light. The whole process is known as chemiluminescence, and is a pretty cool #uselessfact to share with your friends when you try this experiment.
Step 1. Put on your gloves (you don’t want your skin to get a nasty rash from the chemicals!) and proceed to snipping off the tops of your glow sticks, one at a time. If you’re making more than one glow jar, remember to separate the glow sticks by colour.
Step 2. Carefully empty the oozy contents of the glow sticks into the Mason jar.
Step 3. Stir in desired amount of diamond glitter, seal the top with the lid, and then shake the heck out of it!
These glowing beauties are best admired in a dark place – ideally in a backyard, lighting up against the night sky.
Tip: Glow sticks react more slowly in colder temperatures – so if you want your jar to glow for longer, freeze your glow sticks for an hour or so before the experiment.