Fun Facts: How Do Glow Sticks Work?

Chemical Light is composed of two major chemical components: one, an activator that determines the duration and intensity of the light and the second an oxalate “flourescer”, which determines color. At this point, there are eleven known colors – red, blue, green, orange, aqua, yellow, purple, pink, white, yellow-green, and jade-green. The two active chemicals are separated until activation is needed. Separation is achieved by placing a specific amount of oxalate in a sealed onionskin glass ampule, which is inserted into the cavity of the plastic light stick, and then an exact amount of compatible activator is delivered into that cavity. A plastic cap then seals the tube. In order to activate a light stick, one simply bends the glow stick until the glass ampule inside breaks, thereby combining the two chemicals and generating a chemical reaction, which then creates the light of the glow stick!

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