How does temperature influence glow sticks?
Depending on the ambient temperature, the duration of the chemical reaction inside a glowstick will change.
COLD – Glow sticks in the freezer
Cooling the glow stick will slow down the reaction. They glow less bright! This way you can use the glow stick longer, especially when kept frozen.
HEAT – Glow sticks in hot water
Kept in a warm environment, significantly higher than room temperature the chemical reaction will run FASTER. They will glow brighter! But be aware: This way you can only use them less than an hour.
Attention: The glow stick shouldn’t get too hot or get in contact with fire! The plastic cover mustn’t melt.
Kept in a cool and dark place (less than room temperature) the glow stick can last up to 1-2 years. Warm them until they reach room temperature before use, so they will glow normally.
In a hot environment their life span decreases drastically – only a few days in a hot car during summer can make them useless!
Are glow sticks reusable?
After activating them, glow sticks last for a certain time (depending on their size around 4 to 24 hours). After that they can’t be reused.
BUT – can they be recharged in the freezer?
The chemical reaction in the glow stick slows down significantly while frozen. That way you can “stop” the glow effect after activating the glow stick. When defrosted, the glow stick will start to glow again.
By freezing the glow stick you only interrupt the inner process, but CAN’T recharge it!
Example: A glow bracelet glows for 8 hours. You can use it for 4 hours on the first night, freeze it, and use the remaining 4 hours on the second night.
BUT: In blacklight the glow stick always glows!
That’s true! Under the beam of blacklight lamps, the glow stick always shines bright, whether active (or burned out) or not! The liquid inside the glow stick is fluorescent – this makes it glow when exposed to blacklight.
What does the liquid inside the glow stick consist of?
Glow sticks are chemical light sources (chemiluminescence). The light is a result of two liquids reacting with each other. When delivered, both liquids are still separated through a small glass tube. After BENDING them the glass breaks and connects the two liquids – here the chemical reaction starts.
One of the two liquids is a solution of hydrogen peroxide (the same one that is used to bleach hair), the second liquid is fluorescent – this liquid is always different depending on its colour.
Often used fluorescent liquids (Source: Wikipedia):
- violet: Dihydro-9,10-diphenylanthracen
- pink: 9,10-Diphenylanthracen with 2,4-Di-tert-butylphenyl-1,4,5,8-tetracarboxynaphthalindiamid
- blue: 9,10-Diphenylanthracen
- green: 9,10-Bis(phenylethinyl)anthracen
- yellow: 5,6,11,12-Tetraphenylnaphthacen
- orange: 5,12-Bis(phenylethinyl)naphthacen
- red: (9-(2-Carboxyphenyl)-3,6-bis(diethylamino)xanthyliumchlorid)
Are glow sticks toxic?
There are two liquids inside the glow stick that are sealed inside a plastic cover. If used correctly, you won't have any contact with those liquids.
What happens, if you get in contact with the liquids?
The liquids taste unpleasant and might burn a little bit, if they come in contact with your eyes. Rinse eyes and mouth with plenty of water to wash out the liquid. We are NOT aware of any poisoning symptoms!
Advice on safe usage with glow sticks:
- Don’t put mini glow sticks into your mouth!
- Bend the glow bracelets/sticks only as far as necessary to activate them – don’t bend them extremely.
- Don’t cut open the glow sticks
- Don’t use the glowing liquids “outside” of the plastic cover!
- Use the glow sticks in room temperature, don’t heat them up, throw them into fire or anything similar.
Put mini glow sticks into transparent helium balloons and let them float in the air! With 1-2 mini glow sticks inside, the balloon is still capable of flying without any problems!
Hint: Fill one of our LED balloons with helium to get a similar effect!