Cool Blue Light Chemiluminescence Experiment

Glow sticks generate light with very little heat, just like the glow you see from fireflies, jellyfish, and a few species of fungi. Chemiluminescence means light that comes from a chemical reaction. When this happens in animals and plants, it’s called bioluminescence.


In a glow stick, when you bend it to activate it, you’re breaking a little glass tube inside which contains hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The tube itself is filled with another chemical (phenyl oxalate ester and a fluorescent dye) that is kept separate from the H2O2, because as soon as they touch, they begin to react. The dye in the light stick is what gives the light its color.


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Comments

26 Responses to “Cool Blue Light Chemiluminescence Experiment”
  1. Aurora says:

    Some people have a skin sensitivity to the chemicals inside, so I would use soap and water.

  2. tsyed says:

    One time I had a glow stick and it broke onto my hands. is that dangerous?

  3. Aurora says:

    No, unfortunately not. Since the light is created out of two chemicals that react with each other (the energy from the bonds of the molecules goes into making the light), you need chemicals in order to do this.

  4. Alison Bruno says:

    is there any other way to make a glow stick with out the chemicals?

  5. Aurora says:

    I’ll get that fixed right away! Usually it’s because they moved the page and didn’t have a forwarding link.

  6. Melissa Heath says:

    I found the “Into to Chemistry Kit” on the home science tools website, for $99. This looks pretty good! Maybe this is where the link was supposed to take me from your Unit 8 shopping list. Thank you!

  7. Melissa Heath says:

    Hi Aurora, at you recommendation, I checked out the Unit 8 basic chemistry kit shopping list and clicked on the link for the Glassware Set to buy my son, but the link comes up empty… a 404 error. I’m guessing they do not have the set anymore? πŸ™

  8. Aurora says:

    I would recommend this for students interested in chemistry and have an adult handy to help them with the chemicals. Make sure you read over the instructions carefully and watch the video so you’re able to perform the experiments safely (so you can go on to do more science in the future!)

  9. Kelli Kruid says:

    Would you only recommend doing this with older students ????

  10. Kelli Kruid says:

    That is so cool !!!!!

  11. Aurora says:

    Good question! There is actually a variation of this experiment where bleach is substituted for the hydrogen peroxide. In this variation, the reaction takes place much faster and the light is even brighter!

  12. Kelli Kruid says:

    Hey Aurora I was just wondering what would happen if you added one drop of pure bleach into the light solution.

  13. Aurora says:

    Which experiment from Halloween were you wanting to do?

  14. DANIEL McLendon says:

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO COOL ! OH and by the way the hallowen experimants are GONE i wanted to do more : (

  15. Aurora says:

    You should have a complete detailed description inside the instruction booklet that came with the materials for the kit. It’s quite extensive, so if you have a specific question, please let me know!

  16. Melissa Frederiksen says:

    Where can we find a description of what is happening in this reaction please? We really want to know more about it! πŸ™‚

  17. Melissa Frederiksen says:

    So… if we heat the Luminal-perborat-copper sulfate- mixture…would it become brighter? or just react faster?

  18. Aurora says:

    No unfortunately not. I added this experiment after I put together the Diamond program, but you can purchase it for about $10 using the order link on the shopping list.

  19. Jettie Daly says:

    Is the cool blue light kit included with the diamond package?

  20. Aurora says:

    You won’t be able to solidify it, but you can slow the reaction down and watch it glow dimmer when you put it in the freezer.

  21. Aurora says:

    You’re basically short-circuiting the microwave, because there’s no place for the energy to go so it starts to cook itself. Good call on your part for asking and not just doing it yourself.

  22. Gabriele Pealer says:

    I have another question:) What would happen if you were to freeze this Luminal-perborat-copper sulfate- mixture?

  23. Gabriele Pealer says:

    Hi this question doesn’t have anything to do with the experiment, but I was thinking about it and can’t actually find out myself because the results could be possibly hazardous. What would happen if you were to microwave a penny? Or maybe a quarter? πŸ˜€

    Thank you! I love it so much how I can ask any question and get a quick answer!

  24. Aurora says:

    So glad you enjoyed the content! It’s the same experiment only without the right lighting in the studio. πŸ™‚

  25. Kathleen Hignight says:

    Thanks sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much for the class!

  26. Kathleen Hignight says:

    The end is sooooooooooooooo funny! What were you doing? Testing a glow stick?
    I am DEFINETLY going to do that one! What a cool idea! An on the glow light stick! Me and my family are moving across the country in June and that is a good idea for me and my sister to read at night! When will our suppies arive? Any date? You know, the ones that come free with the program?

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