How to Make Phosphorescent "Glow in the Dark" Powder

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Introduction: How to Make Phosphorescent "Glow in the Dark" Powder

About: NurdRage is a dedicate group of science nerds trying to further amateur science with direct how-to instructions in video format. We saw what was already online and we thought "we could do better".....

How to make phosphorescent glow in the dark powder. Also known as luminescent, photoluminescent or simply glow powder.

Warning: This experiment uses mildly toxic chemicals, wear gloves when handling them. In addition, the combustion reaction must be performed outside or in a fume-hood due to the resulting smoke and gasses.

For this experiment you'll need:
Strontium Nitrate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rd8b6wNnKA
Aluminum Nitrate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4Ha1SJrazY
Purification by recrystalization: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVA0rK_VITY
Europium and dysprosium nitrates: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IFsOmriS8I
And you'll need nitric acid to make the above nitrates: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yE7v4wkuZU

The procedure is relatively straightforward: 1.875g of aluminum nitrate nonahydrate with 530mg of strontium nitrate, 10.7mg of europium nitrate pentahydrate, 21.9mg of dysprosium nitrate pentahydrate and 30.9mg of boric acid are dissolved in 3mL of distilled water. 3.9g of pure urea is added and shaken until dissolved. The mixture is heated in a 1000watt microwave for 4 minutes. Eventually it'll ignite and combust. The white "ash" is the glow powder.

As seen in the above video, this will produce green glow in the dark powder. To make blue glow in the dark powder you can swap out the strontium nitrate with 590mg of calcium nitrate tetrahydrate. The results are similar to what is seen in this video:

 

 

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    17 Comments

    what would be the chemical formula/ scientific name of the resulting powder?

    I am interested in a recipe to make glow in the dark glaze for ceramics.. any suggestions on a formular or recipe?

    same here red. it's hard to get the pure red glow

    I want to make red glow in the dark paint... For which I need red phosphorescent powder... How can I make one?

    cool,
    can this stuff be dissolved with out wrecking it?
    in stuff like water or meth or something else?

    1 reply

    it depends on wether or not it is water based which i dont think it is

    is this formula the one that can be charged with normal ligth or it needs ultraviolet light?

    Ka-ching Always something good to be said about someone who has sticktuitiveness. And you GOT IT... Your efforts have clearly not gone unnoticed! Thanks for your efforts! Keep on keepin on!

    why not try some other metal nitrates e.g. sodium nitrate?
    or will ammonium nitrate work?

    2 replies

    or try replacing aluminium nitrate with e.g. potassium nitrate

    its the metal thats important, not the nitrate. this would also work with oxides (under different heating conditions though), but the metals must be the same or it won't work.

    Without watching the video (because I don't think it will answer the question) - can you add-in where to buy the materials?

    L

    2 replies

    its right in the video description

    The rest of the chemicals can easily be bought online or at a pharmacy.

    OK, I shall have to watch it, thanks.

    L

     Very professionally presented. Good highlights on safety. Very clear on the details. It's great to see such a well made video instructable.

    Awesome work!!