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Glow Essay

Investigation of the effect of cold temperatures on the lasting time of glow sticks. Aim: to investigate whether freezing a glow stick will affect its longevity. Hypothesis: The glow sticks will last longer when they are frozen than when they are at room temperature. Background information: Glow sticks are made of hydrogen peroxide, a phenyl oxalate called ester, and phosphorescent dye. The ester and phosphorescent dye are kept in one part of the glow stick, the hydrogen peroxide in the other, separated by a piece of glass. No chemical reaction occurs until the glass breaks, combining the chemicals together inside the tube.

Cooling a glow stick slows the reaction a slightly and causes it to last longer, but the light is dimmer. This can be demonstrated by freezing an activated glow stick. When it is reheated, it will begin to glow again. However, if the chemical reaction has already occurred and the glow stick has already gone out, freezing the glow stick will not cause it to begin glowing again. A high quality glow stick will last 8-12 hours, provided there is no otherwise interference. It will glow faintly for about one day after this time period is over, however the primary glow will have gone out.

Other factors, such as the color of the glow stick (Green, yellow and orange are the brightest colors and therefore last the longest. ), the previous treatment of the glow sticks (Sometimes, a glow stick will have been accidently activated by being knocked over or bumped before the activator intends to, meaning that the chemical reaction may have already occurred by the time it is intended to be activated. ) and the amount of light they are exposed to and for how long. (Being hit with direct light damages the glow stick, lessening its longevity. )


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