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Month: July 2010

Make Glow Sticks – The Science

Make Glow Sticks – The Science

While having a sleepless night I decided to surf the web and ran across this video posted by NurdRage. I thought this is real useful mad science at its best. So I decided to embed this into the blog so that I have a persistent link to it. I am going to dedicate this MISC section to useful stuff that I come across on the web. So here it is…

We show how to make glow sticks and go through all the chemicals needed as well as how to make different colors. We also talk about the chemistry and scientifically research a proposed mechanism.

To make the glow stick mix together the following:

10mL Diethyl Phthalate (solvent)
3mg of fluorescent dye (see below)
50mg TCPO (see below)
100mg sodium acetate
3mL 30% hydrogen peroxide (add last to start reaction)

The fluorescent dye can be 9,10-bis(phenylethynyl)anthracene for green, Rubrene for yellow, 9,10-diphenylanthracene for blue, and rhodamine B for red.

TCPO is expensive to buy but can be made for much cheaper by following the directions in our previous video:…

The chemicals, including the ones to make TCPO were purchased from alfa aesar:

The Rhodamine B and Rubrene dyes were instead purchased from sigma Aldrich:

The dyes and TCPO are carcinogenic and gloves should be worn when handling them.

The TCPO and sodium acetate amounts can be varied considerably and still obtain good light. Smaller quantities tend to be dimmer and decay faster, while larger quantities last longer.

For those of you higher level individuals that actually do want to know the mechanism for this process, please refer to this article:…